Why Have a Family Mission Statement?
Every family wants to have a culture that is loving, supportive and healthy, now add family wealth to the mix and it can complicate things. But having a shared purpose or vision is something all families can do. That’s why a Family Mission Statement is so important.
Businesses write mission statements to surprise, inspire, and transform their business. They provide a clearly stated purpose of the business and the goals for succeeding. A good business mission statement determines direction and focuses the company’s future. It can be a template for decision making and a basis for alignment. These attributes can be valuable for a high-net-worth family whose wealth is passing from generation to generation thus ensuring the next generation understands the responsibility of their wealth.
What is a Family Mission Statement?
A family mission statement should address who your family is in terms of values which will articulate a shared sense of purpose. A good family mission statement should give guidance for future generations by addressing the direction of the family’s philanthropic ideals while leaving room for future generations to interpret those ideals through their individual perspectives. This will allow the mission statement to remain relevant through future generations.
How to Get Started on a Family Mission Statement
Family meetings offer a wonderful opportunity to bring a family closer across mulitple generations. Having family meetings at regular intervals can provide a transparent, open, and honest opportunity to discuss ideas, roles, and philosophy before issues arise. Regular meetings may make it easier for families to discuss difficult topics.
The first meeting should define roles and responsibilities, the general purpose of the meetings, and ground rules so that everyone is heard. Also, discussing decision making and governance is important to maintain consensus thus ensuring a family’s success and happiness.
You may want to use a third-party professional who can help facilitate your first couple of meetings, that way you start off on the right foot and recognize best practices. Professionals most commonly used are attorneys, financial planners, and family business consultants.
Creating the Family Mission Statement
A natural progression after formally meeting as a family is to start to discuss and formulate your vision and desires for your current family and the generations to come. You may want to talk about how your wealth was accumulated and created, expectations of further generations in terms of wealth, philanthropy and education, and your legacy.
Here are some questions to collectively think about:
- What makes your family unique?
- What is it your family values the most?
- What do you wish for your descendants?
- What are the family’s greatest strengths and its weaknesses?
- How does your family’s cultural, material, and spiritual values relate to wealth?
- What are your family’s fears and what does your family want to protect?
- How do others perceive your family’s position in the community?
In the end, a family mission statement should be designed to bring a family closer together with vision, wisdom, and understanding. And if you need help creating your family mission statement, please contact us.