Let the Meeting Come to Order

The family had just returned from lunch on the second day of the first family meeting. They were excited. They could feel the strong energy of connection between them. This was fueled from the success of the first day where they had determined their collective values. This in and of itself was a huge milestone for this family had hardly agreed to anything together in the last ten years.  Fights over distribution of two properties as well as disagreements over the direction of the business had left members cooling towards each other with some members thinking of avoiding the family altogether.  It was a struggle to get them all together but now they were pleased at what was unfolding.

From the story told by the elder generation, the children and grandchildren learned more about their parents/grandparents than they had in their entire lives. The elders had shared the nuggets of the struggles, lessons learned and impacts from significant events and people in their lives. The younger generations were amazed at the struggles and obstacles they had never heard told in this fashion. They gained new respect and appreciation of what had come before them. 

Earlier today the family had codified their mission statement and this afternoon was the initial formal meeting, where the governance would be born as a framework for continuing family meetings.   

The 2nd generation comprised the executive team for this family with a President, Secretary and Treasurer duly appointed. The meeting, as to be expected, was a little rough around the edges. The President did not want to laud over her siblings, the Secretary, used to supervising a large group at work, wondered what his duties would really be as Secretary. This team did not feel comfortable leading at home as they did in business.

This new team quickly realized that elements of business meetings would not work with a family and quickly abandoned the role of dictating and talking over each other. As they were reminded to use the tools they had been introduced to the day before, such as not interrupting, summarizing what they heard from each other, and talking about one topic at a time, they found themselves more engaged with each other.

The family felt like they were building a strong foundation for their family by using this family meeting model.  They were excited about the prospects of better communication and even more affinity with one another. Indeed, the family meeting had to come to order.

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