Key Success Factors for Working on Family Transitions

When I stated sharing my thoughts in this blog over a decade ago, I decided to write a weekly post and figured I’d see how long I could keep that up.

Well, I’m still going, and often people ask how I come up with fresh material 52 times a year. One answer is that I recognize that nothing is truly original and subjects come up in different forms and contexts, which allows me to repeat certain themes.

This week I’m combining the ideas of discernment and resourcefulness, both of which I wrote about in 2018, in separate posts.

Let’s jump right in.

Patrick Lencioni Fan Club?

I’m a fan of the writings of Patrick Lencioni, and if you’ve never heard of him, you’re missing out on something. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love the way he brings clarity and simplicity to his work.

His latest book, the Six Types of Working Genius, is where the concept of Discernment jumped off the page at me again.

I highly recommend the book but will cut to the chase here and focus on the fact that Discernment is one of the types of genius, and it also happens to be in my personal top 2 (along with Engagement).

Discernment is the ability to see the big picture of what’s going on and then to divine what needs to be done as a next step.

See Questions of Discernment in Family Business for my initial thoughts on this in 2018.

Where Are We in This Transition Journey?

When a family is working on transitioning their wealth from one generation to the next, it is truly a journey, and not an event.

There’s also a whole heck of a lot of complexity going on, and a number of interested parties, all of whom see things in their own personal way.

This is why it is sometimes useful to engage an unbiased outsider to guide the family on this journey.

If that person is also skilled in the area of Discernment, I hope that you can understand why this would be a plus.

Bringing the Right Resources to Bear

Now let’s look at the resourcefulness question, and see how it ties into serving families.

The first thing one needs to recognize is that any one person quickly hits a limit in what they can provide, by themselves, to a large, diverse and complex family.

Knowing what other services and resources are out there that can be woven into how we serve families is often the key to our continuing to be able to add value as the family evolves and moves forward.

Let’s look at a handful that I’ve used or incorporated into my client work over the years.

See also: The 3 R’s: Finding a Responsive, Reliable, Resource

Outside Platforms and Services for Families

  • I’m working with some families using the MTM 360 platform that has been instrumental in getting them started holding regular family meetings.
  • I recently used the Family Enterprise Assessment Tool (FEAT), which was very helpful in clarifying what my client family needed to work on next.
  • I’m just starting down the road with a family where we’re looking at using the Assess Next Gen tool as a way to plan the next steps in the eventual exit of the G1 parents from the business.
  • I’m also a big fan of the Values Edge Toolkit and have used it a few times to help families discern, understand, and follow through on the values that they all have in common.
  • Last but not least, I’ve been looking at bringing another client family into working with the Tamarind Learning wealth education platform.

All of these are potentially useful for families at one time or another, and it also helps that I know the people who’ve worked hard to develop these resources, so that I have confidence when introducing them.

Weaving It All into the Family’s Timeline

Back to discernment, a big part of doing this work well is involving the family leaders and working together to figure out the answer to this key question: 

                         What does this family need now?

Many of these tools have only been created in the past decade, and others have had major revamps and improvements recently.

This ecosystem continues to evolve, enabling professionals to serve complex families in more productive and useful ways than ever.

Naturally, if you’re curious about any of these and want to talk about how they might be a fit for your family or one that you serve, please hit me up and let’s talk.