Over the last twenty-plus years of working with and observing multi-generational family businesses, three attributes common to the oldest, largest and best performing ones seem to present themselves repeatedly.
First – the family shareholders are aligned around matters of vision, purpose and expectations of each other and the enterprise. And, as often as not, they reach alignment through the use of family meetings or other such important forums for shareholder and family education, development, trust building and communication.
Second, the output of those family meetings – their vision, purpose, sense of unity, policies and agreements – these all serve as important contributors to strategy. The outputs inform management of what is expected of them and the rules they’ll have to play by; what some may call the non-negotiables.
Third, their values implicitly or explicitly include transparency, accountability, stewardship, outside input and a responsibility to others. These values usually guide them to establish appropriate and active governance – both for the family and the operating company.
At our website, www.efamilybusiness.com, you’ll find dozens of books, webinars and thousands of articles loaded with ideas about family meetings, governance and being an effective family firm shareholder.