Often, family members think they have nothing to contribute if they’re not interested in working in the business, or in being on the family council. But there really are a lot of other ways to contribute and be engaged.
Family members working for the business or serving on the family council are certainly important. But there are a lot of skills that can exist in the larger family that make the family council and the business successful.
The possibilities are as varied as your family itself.
- Somebody in your family could be really good with kids. You could ask them to be in charge of putting together the youngest generation development program.
- You might have a family member who really loves planning parties, and you could ask that person to plan the social events you have during your annual meeting.
- You could have somebody who really is very in touch with the community, and they could be in charge of presenting philanthropic opportunities to the family.
- You could have somebody in your family who is connected to a wide swath of family members. That person can act as family ombudsman, or commit to having good relationships with everyone in the family despite any prejudice or conflicts that may exist.
- If someone is very comfortable with social media, he or she could be deputized to set up a private family Facebook page to share news and photos throughout the year.
- One family member who is good at games could be in charge of organizing a mystery family member of the month guessing game. They’d interview a different relative each month and share info about them anonymously so the family could guess who it is.
- Someone who has strong communication skills could publish a family newsletter to keep everyone informed about major events within the family.
Some initiatives are too large to be accomplished by one individual. Even family members who don’t want to join the family council can be involved in higher level decision-making, which is a great way to build engagement. Task forces can be used to develop any of the aforementioned programs, or to develop new policies or programs.
Families often think that there’s only a narrow way to make a contribution. But when everybody brings their talents to the table, no matter what they are, the likelihood of success for the family—and the business—is far greater.