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The Family Wealth Sustainability Toolkit: The Manual by Fran Lotery, Fredda Herz Brown

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FAMILY MISSION: THE CORNERSTONE OF GOVERNANCE

So, what is the track, the course the family has chosen? Attention to governance begins with revisiting a family's vision for itself and its mission. A family's strength can benefit enormously when members take time periodically to assess their reasons for being together, and to recommit to or redefine goals. Clarifying these goals anew gives them an opportunity to work together on planning and furthers the interpersonal understanding and relationship building needed for sustainability of the family enterprise. This can be especially important when transitions are taking place.

Transitions are exciting times. They infuse fresh perspectives, creative rethinking, and renewed energy—all factors that can take a family enterprise to a whole new dimension. The transition from the second generation to the third is a critical time for an enterprising family. The family is expanding in size; the next generation is likely to have values and views shaped by divergent experiences. The original thread of purpose that birthed the enterprise may have been achieved. Those coming into their own in the enterprise may not have the same foundation of connection with more distant relatives that helped to ground the enterprise originally. The family legacy may still be valued, but a varied interpretation of mission may be driving its newest leaders.

Adopting formal governance structures at that point can help ensure the survival of the family as an economic ...

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