The Family Meeting - how to make difficult conversations fun!

Business owners - when was the last time you sat down and had a real conversation with your family and/or key employees about your wishes for your business and your estate?
We are on the verge of a huge transition of wealth in Canada - transition due to death, and also transition due to retirement, or third party sale.  We often see business owners having meetings on an annual or quarterly basis to review the "numbers" - things like profits, expenses, projections... but have you ever considered having a meeting to discuss non-financial issues?

My special guest, Laily Pirbhai, provides some guidance today on how to create a "family blueprint" - a way to communicate with family and key stakeholders about values, dreams and goals for the future.  We start by describing the "family meeting" - who participates, and reasons to call a meeting (11:10).  We then move into a discussion of "core values" - how this impacts discussions of philanthropy and governance (27:06).  Laily finishes off by giving her top five tips for a successful family meeting (36:48)!

Who should listen to this episode?  Well, I think it is applicable to anyone - in particular, if you are the primary trusted advisor for a family, a business founder, or hold a key position within a family business!  Although the focus of the episode is to encourage business owners to have these conversations, a family meeting is a great idea for any family (regardless of whether they own a business!)  It is a great opportunity to discuss goals for the future, address concerns, and communicate wishes!

  • Family Enterprise Foundation 2021 report: “Ready, Willing and Interested - or not? Canadian Family Business Transition Intentions”.
  • Family Enterprise Foundation 2021 report: “Who Are The Guardians of Family Legacy?”
  • Conference Board of Canada 2019 report – “The Economic Impact of Family-Owned Enterprises in Canada”. 
  • Canadian Financial Executives Research Foundation 2013 research paper, “Private Company Succession Planning – Where Do You Stand?”
  • 2015 article “The Family Way: How Entrepreneurial Values Help Businesses Thrive Over Generations.”
  • Book “Complete Family Wealth” by James Hughes, Susan Massenzio, and Keith Whitaker. ISBN 9781119453215.
  • Book “Family Meetings: Creating fun, meaningful conversations . . . beyond the money by Vic Preisser.” ISBN 9780692020241.
  • Video “The Ultimate Legacy”, based on book by Jim Stovall.
  • “Every Family’s Business: 12 Common Sense Questions to Protect Your Wealth by Thomas W. Deans”
    ISBN 9780980891010.
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