Make your family council meeting more productive

By Jeff Strese

When effective preparation and facilitation become ingrained in family council practices and culture, the results reinforce the family’s core values and help sustain the vision and mission of the family enterprise.

Well-facilitated meetings are more fiscally responsible because thy make efficient use of people’s time and promote good decision making. When the family grows and council members represent multiple generations and branches, order and structure become even more important.

Facilitation is not necessarily the same as managing a meeting. A skilled facilitator attends to the level of trust and safety within the group as well as the mechanics of getting things done.

Within family systems, deeper psychological patterns influence behavior in council meetings. This is especially true when council members are not coached in navigating business meetings that involve difficult decision making and dynamic tension. The unintended consequence of simply inserting family members into councils without training or orientation may be unproductive council meetings.

Bringing managerial fundamentals such as “meeting management” and decision making into the family council can positively influence positivity and outcomes. The chair of the council must model emotional objectivity toward all council members while practicing effective meeting management basics.

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