The Safe Zone
While it may seem entirely logical and in the spirit of a great family environment, what day, time or location is it really comfortable to ask the question of your brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, spouse, son or daughter “so what is it that you want from life, what is the purpose of this business for you and what time frames do you place around this”?
Not only do we need to ask these questions, we also need a genuine and considered answer as we do not have time to waste on work that will not provide us, and those that are most important to us, with a fulfilled life.
With the majority of New Zealand businesses family owned, and particularly in the case of farming, operated by multiple family members, it is important that the purpose and time frames around what each individual needs is understood and the business is moving in the right direction.
My experience with family businesses is that a safe zone needs to be created in which these highly personal, and important questions can be asked, answers given and understanding between family members built. Without that safe zone these questions simply never get asked and day to day operations just drift in a direction which may fail all family members.
Not only is potential conflict between family members avoided, the framework for a clear business strategy and execution plan can be put in place. This helps remove the luck factor that the business partners will achieve what they want and will most likely bring the family together in a positive, understanding and supportive way.
The concept of governance by way of a family council, advisory board or a board often provides a working framework to include this safe zone in regular agenda discussions.
I have worked with family businesses to create this safe zone which in all cases has provided better outcomes for the individuals and the financial performance of the business. If you would like to discuss how to create a safe zone within your business, bring the family closer together and step up financial performance email Mark Heer at 8pC on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0275579422