COMBINING THE MINDSET OF SHARED RISK AND SHARED OPPORTUNITY WITH A FAMILY EMOTIONAL SYSTEM
The stakeholders of the family enterprise essentially shape its legacy in an ongoing manner and use it as an investment in their future. While initially the godchild of the entrepreneur founder, it quickly becomes a part of the family's fabric. For long-term prosperity, investment is made through, on behalf of, and in (the development of) family members. Over time, family members share not only their vision, values, and hopefully, mission, but also some degree of risk and opportunity. Shared risk is a key characteristic of a family enterprise. Collectively and individually, family members are likely to be deliberative about family interactions—how they relate to each other in an economic sense, how they make decisions, who leads, how change occurs, and so on—all of which may influence their shared economic future, and perhaps, their emotional connectedness. Legacy involves how joint meaning is assigned to the shared economic and emotional life. It is how the family defines its beginnings and how it defines its future.
The patterns of family relationships, for instance, the dynamics, wittingly or unwittingly, are inherently part of the family legacy. They can vastly benefit a family enterprise, or also undermine it. But they are inextricably interrelated—the economy and the dynamics are bound together in the family lore.
When family members view themselves as being connected over the long-term, ...