Author(s): Aspen Family Business Group
The Aspen Family Business Starter Kit is designed to give you the information and tools to address family business challenges . The exercises are designed to cultivate the development of the qualities that are characteristic of healthy family businesses.
The Aspen Family Business Starter Kit is intended to help your family business:
1. Implement a structured approach to holding family meetings to improve family and business communication
2. Develop a vision and values statement to enhance decision making and to define internally and externally why you are in business and what your family business stands for
3. Work together as a team to develop a family employment policy that provides a framework for the next generation and ensures that the business will have the skills and competencies for future success
The Kit is divided into modules. Each module provides an overview of the topic, an explanation of why it is important to family business success, how-to exercises, and examples to help you get started. Our recommendation is that you complete the first three modules in order.
You can work on your own to learn new ways to address issues with your family business. Start by reading through all the modules.
Next, involve other family members in the planning of the rollout of these new ideas. It is helpful to meet with a core group of family members to explain what you are trying to achieve. Reasons often include wanting to professionalize the business, the need to put a framework in place to develop a family culture built on family traditions, ethics, and quality. It might also be for preventing or addressing conflict between family members, as an aid in bringing offspring into the business in a positive way – or some other reasons.
Enlisting the help of other family members makes them part of the process and it gives them a sense of ownership and accountability for the process. It also helps diffuse potential resistance.
“Many hands make light work” ensures that you don’t get overwhelmed doing it all yourself. Include a diverse group of family members – some that work in the business and some that don’t. Use members from other generations, and include males and females. Be careful not to create a clique of people in “the know” and exclude other family members. In the first module are detailed instructions on how to plan and hold the first family meeting.
If these are all new concepts for you and your family, it may take as long as a year to work through the three modules. Other family businesses may make this work a priority and complete the modules in less than three months. It is best to balance the starter kit work with the family member’s other demands. Our rule of thumb is that it is never too soon to start these discussions.
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