"Organizing a family business retreat is one of the most important strategies used to help strengthen the communication system in a family-owned business," according to top family business expert
"The retreat can involve all the family members who work in the family business, those family members not active in the business and the spouses of the family members - even young adults."
Schwerzler, who has been studying and advising family business entrepreneurs for more than 40 years, is the founder of the
Family Business Institute,
headquartered in Atlanta GA.
More Effective Retreat? Use a Facilitator!
Many family businesses elect to retain the services of a facilitator trained in family business dynamics to ensure the optimum results for the retreat. Using a
family business expert
as a facilitator can help identify the issues that need to be addressed while ensuring that a non-confrontational atmosphere is maintained.
Conduct your retreat offsite
A family retreat is generally conducted off-site because it is almost impossible to maintain the attention and the focus on critical issues and objectives in the conference room during normal business hours.
Benefits of a family business retreat
The retreat helps to integrate and connect the personal and professional goals of each family member to the family's strategic vision for the business. The retreat helps to strengthen family ties by building trust and creating clarity of vision for both the family and the business. They help to establish balance between business responsibilities and family obligations. They provide the best environment for family members to share their dreams and expectations about the legacy of the family business.
There's lots to discuss!
The discussion topics during a family business retreat can include a wide range of issues such as compensation, individual roles in the business, succession management, retirement planning, financial performance of the business, strategic objectives for the business, how family values and culture influence the family business, corporate governance, business policies and to communicate the strategic goals and objectives of the family to the executive management team of the business.
Process - not an event
It is important to note that the retreat is not an event - it is the beginning of a process that will enable the family business to grow and prosper and to help ensure that family members maintain and develop healthy relationships.
Conducting an operational analysis of the family businesss, prior to a family business retreat, provides insights to the business differently than the financial analysis. We encourage family members and their spouses to be involved in the retreat. Information from the
enables everyone to better understand the workings of the family's business without discussing confidential financial information.
Crucial to the success of a family business is the ability for the business to adapt to change - and to do it quickly. Working on
and understanding the dynamics of change on the family business should be on the agenda of every family business retreat!
As family businesses grow, key family executives may become less involved in the day to day running of the business. To ensure the managers and the allocation of resources are aligned with the goals and objectives of the family business owner(s), we recommend that an organizational assessment be part of the family business retreat. The best online assessment tool, one that is inexpensive and easy to use is
Family Business Innovation
Succession management is all about a family business making a successful transition from one generation to the next. Succession time is a perfect time to include transformational changes in the family business as part of the family business retreat. Learn about the 10 critical mind-set changes that should be addressed as part of a
"family business innovation program".
Celebrate and Reflect
The retreat is a great time to celebrate the success of the family business and to reflect on the sacrifices made by the family members who founded the business and the legacy they aspired to pass down to future generations. It is the perfect time to conduct
FAMILY BUSINESS STRATEGIC PLANNING!
If you have a question about how to organize a family retreat, how best to conduct the retreat, how to prepare the agenda for a retreat, ask our family business expert!
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The Practitioner's Guide for Organizing an Organization
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Family Business Experts Understands
Family Values and Business Systems
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