Yet Another Inspiring Conference

My favourite conference of the year just wrapped up, and once again I was not disappointed. 

Of course it would have been much better if we could have met in person, but we really did get as much as we possibly could have out of the virtual format, thanks in large part to the wonderful spirit of collaboration and sharing that everyone brought in spades.

The Purposeful Planning Institute, a.k.a. my “tribe”, has been holding its annual Rendez-Vous for over a decade, although the ’20 and ’21 editions were converted to “RendeZoom” instead.

I first attended in ’14 and vowed to never miss it, and I feel more strongly about that today than ever.

Now, let’s get to the cape story.

Opening Keynote Sticks to the End

I always get so much out of the very interactive breakout sessions, because there are always things to learn from colleagues who share about the ways they work with families.

There are also plenary keynotes of course, and for me they’re all part of a great package, but rarely the highlight of conferences that I attend.

Well “rarely” is not the same as never, and the kickoff presentation from Dr. James Pawelski was the exception.

The Red Cape / Green Cape metaphor that he shared stuck with me through to the end of the conference, and I brought it up over and over in the many breakout sessions that followed.

There Are Too Many Red Ones Out There

The theme of this year’s RendeZoom was “Courageous Resilience”, and Pawelski is the Director of Education in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

I probably don’t need to explain the relevance that Positive Psychology has on resilience, nor why resilience was chosen as a theme for a conference for those who work to help families flourish, seeing as we continue to be constrained in how we live our lives.

Pawelski’s metaphor was all about the prevailing attitude we each bring to our work. The red cape is the one preferred by those who concentrate on stopping bad things from happening. The green cape is worn by those who prefer to work on making sure that good things happen.

When you think about the people that legacy families hire to help them transition all their wealth to the rising generation, far too many of them wear red capes.

I wear a green one.

How About a Two-Sided Cape?

Pawelski went on to note that he preferred a two-sided, or “reversible” cape, with red on one side, and green on the other. Clever.

I really liked that idea and then I tried it on and it didn’t feel like it suited me

You see, because so many of the other people who deal with the families I like to deal with are already wearing the red cape, I don’t feel like the reversible one is the one for me, since it would almost feel like I’m trying too hard to fit in.

I might even be tempted to wear it with the red side out so I could be accepted by them, only to secretly go home and strut about my neighbourhood showing my true colour, green.

Adult-to-Adult Relationships Are the Key

When you get right down to what’s required to transition a family’s wealth from one generation to the next, much of it comes down to fostering proper adult-to-adult relationships between the generations.

Too many of the red-cape-wearing experts concentrate on creating ways to stop the rising generation from “screwing up” the wealth, and many parents worry that their wealth with “screw up” their kids.

 As someone pointed out to me during the conference, the term “adult children” is an oxy-moron; they’re either adults or they’re children.

When you treat them as capable and put on your green cape and work with them to make good things happen, you’ll usually get much better results.

Filling Up My Pitcher

During our 3 days together, I shared with many colleagues that I love Rendez-Vous because it allows me to refill my pitcher.

For 51 weeks a year, I pour out whatever I share to too many people who still don’t get it.

And then I spend a few days with my PPI Tribe and fill it back to overflowing again.

Thanks again to everyone who worked on pulling it off, see you back in Denver in July 2022.