Tips for family offices in planning family education programs

By Mindy Kalinowski Earley

Multigenerational businesses are facing critical transition issues as ownership in private companies and substabtial wealth are transferred between generations. Because few families are ready for these transitions, the family office will play an increasingly important role in supporting the family.

The Family Office Exchange (FOX) has identified three fundamental tips to guide family offices in planning family education programming:

1. Take a more strategic role in helping families prepare future leaders. Family office executives should become the champion for family learning and design or work with outside experts to institute programs beginning at an early age. Key building blocks for this program may include fostering personal identity and growth, increasing financial acumen, teaching leadership skills, defining the responsibilities of shared ownership and engagement, and providing training in family governance and participation on the board.

2. Focus on family values. All learning programs should be anchored to the family culture, history and values. FOX experience suggests that family learning not only prepares future leaders but also can bind the family more closely together.

3. Understand that one size doesn’t fit all. Family learning requires thoughtful planning and customization to meet the needs of the entire family. Porgrams should address multiple styles of learning and provide different educational settings, including peer groups, family groups, individualized coaching and online learning.

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