Tuesday, May 23, 2017


“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
 –Yogi Berra

When you start out on a journey, the goal is to arrive at the destination.  On your family business’s journey, the destination is not always clear.  However, for families in business, that desired destination must be tailored to the vision of the family, the organization, and the individuals.  No two journeys are alike, and the destination is not the same for every family business. 

The vision is the shared image of the family’s definition of success and what the family wants the business to be.  Having a vision is critical for the journey to realize the goals and dreams of the family.  The vision provides a future orientation to answers questions like: How do we want to utilize our resources and care about those who are important to us? 

Understanding and following the vision of the family is critical to the ultimate success of the family, of the individuals, and of the business.  Following the vision requires commitment.  Commitment is best considered in the framework of the family, the business, and the ownership of the business.  This means results are best achieved with not just a single event or item, but by working over time to develop the capability of the family to manage governance and decision-making.  With commitment to a “visioning” process, there is built in accountability to keep everyone focused and on track.

Simple yet complex questions can help begin the visioning process:

1.     What do we desire for our family?
2.     What will be the story of our family?
3.     What do we desire for the next generation?
4.     What is our family’s responsibility to society?
5.     How will our family values influence the vision of what we want to become?
6.     What will our family business not do?
7.     What is our time horizon?
8.     How will the business be part of the family vision?
9.     Who is leading our business? How are they leading?
10.  What kind of abundance is our family and our business enjoying? What does it look like, specifically?

The goal is to create a framework to help the business operate successfully while recognizing and dealing with normal family issues.  The vision will have very little impact on family unity and company performance, however, if the family doesn’t intentionally think about what steps are necessary to get there.

The vision is the what.  It defines where you are going.  Where will your journey take you?