I am often asked this question. And here is my response.

In my 12 years of Family Business Consulting experience, there are 3 reasons founders typically approach me:

Case 1:

We 3 brothers started a family business and now over the last 25 years, it has expanded and grown to employ 600 people across 4 locations. Now the next generation has joined the business and we have 6 young next-gen members who are keen to take the business to new heights. They have a diverse educational background and some of them even have outside work experience. But all fingers in a hand can never be equal so their contribution to the business varies and so does their functional capability. How can all 9 of us work together in harmony – 3 seniors from the founding generation and 6 from the next generation? How can we draft a set of rules and guidelines? A family charter guides us on how to allocate roles and responsibilities, reward performance, lay down compensation principles, policy for cars and travel, and resolution of conflicts whenever the need so arises. Can we see examples of how other successful multi-generation family businesses manage this complexity?

Case 2:

We are running a successful multi-generational family business. Can we arrange an off-site annual family retreat in Goa facilitated by an external family business professional where we can all review what is working well, and what needs to be changed and also have an open conversation about changes we need to make in our Family Charter? And discuss case studies of other successful family businesses to see what we can learn from them.

But why Goa?

Moving to a different location provides a change of scenery and environment, which is refreshing and stimulating. It helps participants break away from their daily routines and mindset associated with their regular workplace and home. Being in a different location can create a conducive atmosphere for self-discovery and learning. Retreat locations are chosen for their natural beauty and peaceful surroundings. Sometimes a hill resort?

Case 3:

Arising out of disagreements on vision and differences in our ways of working we have reached a stage where communication has broken down and we are unable to work together effectively. This is impacting not just our business but our health and well-being. We now wish to explore how can we move forward either by reallocation of roles & responsibilities or by an amicable and transparent split by going our own separate ways. An experienced professional with a business background who has worked in conflict resolution can help us disengage constructively to create a win-win situation.

Cases 1 & 2 are like a preventive health check up and Case 3 is like going to a doctor after the blood test report shows there is a problem which cannot be treated by home remedies.

Questions & comments as always are welcome.

Harsh Chopra.
Family Business Advisor.