So here we are again at the time of year when the old calendar comes off the wall and the new one goes up. Didn’t we just go through this?
The title of this week’s post comes from a book I’ve been reading, called Finish Big, by Bo Burlingham. I have gotten in the habit of doing my morning workouts while reading instead of watching TV, which has allowed me to cut into my unread books pile.
On my Kindle one recent day, I finished my ride mid-chapter and closed down, and the next morning when I resumed, “The Key Question” was the bold sub-heading that hit me right between the eyes when I rebooted.
Hmmm, I thought, a great and timely blog topic.
What IS the Key Question?
There are SO many questions that we consider every day of our lives, most of them without thinking too much, and many of them of very little consequence.
When you look at the photo accompanying this post, which shows me along with some models hired for photo ops at a friend’s recent office Christmas party, a number of potential questions may come to mind.
I happened to receive this photo by email from my friend the other day, and when I showed it to my daughter, her laughter was all I needed to hear to know that I needed to include it here.
So if the key question is “Why?”, the answer is because I got the pic, I laughed when I saw it, others thought it was funny, so I decided to share it.
If it is a “What” question, however, as in “what is going on in this pic?” the simple facts of “what” along with “where”, “when”, and “who”, have also been addressed, albeit briefly.
“What” and “Why” questions preoccupy much of our lives, but for me, the Key Question for 2017 should be HOW?
I invite you to also consider more “HOW” questions, many of which you may have been subconsciously avoiding.
WHAT, WHY, and HOW
Let’s move this over to the usual subject matter here, that of family legacy.
WHAT you have today, the business, the assets, the wealth, is pretty easy to ascertain factually. You have lots of professional advisors who can help you figure out exactly what you have, in hard numbers, on paper.
WHY you worked so hard to get to where you are, and the sacrifices you made to get here, and the reasons behind many of the tough decisions you made, are mostly things that come from the past, and include many important factors that drove you to succeed.
These WHATs and WHYs are very important, but by themselves, they will not suffice.
The Future is HOW
Every family that has worked to develop sufficient assets to be concerned about leaving a legacy, will eventually get to the stage where their main concern shifts to HOW.
How do we keep this going? That’s why professionals who advise such families don’t talk about succession planning, but instead talk about “Continuity Planning”.
HOW are you going to ensure that these assets will hold together into future generations, thereby sustaining your legacy?
These assets are not simply financial assets, by the way, but also less tangible things like human and intellectual capital, and if you haven’t been paying attention to those, the chances of the financial wealth being enough to hold the legacy together will decrease substantially.
HOW is a Transition, NOT a Transaction
Many families delay even thinking about these key questions for a variety of reasons; they’re too busy making the pie bigger, they think they will live forever, they aren’t sure where to start, etc.
It is complex stuff, and everyone in the family has their own viewpoint. Many professional advisors also have a hard time getting out of their silo of expertise to give you proper big picture advice.
Future blog posts will talk about creating a Family Continuity BluePrint. We will be getting back to the basics of the Three Circle Model, so feel free to read these refreshers:
Stay tuned to future posts for more on making “HOW” the Key Question for 2017 for your family. If you are not yet subscribed, please do so here and now!
P.S. (The facial expression of the handsome guy in the photo seems to convey “How do I get myself out of this?”, doesn’t it?