Do you remember Sam and Samco from Part 1 of our Family Meetings series? What has happened since is that Sam met with our Senior Advisor, Steve Ivacko, and together they developed an agenda for the first family meeting.
The goal of Sam’s first meeting is for his family to get a better understanding of SamCo and to develop a forum for discussion. Here are some considerations.
Pre-Meeting Planning – Sam and Steve
The success of a family meeting is dependent on the planning that goes into it. Sam and Steve discussed:
• Who will facilitate the meeting? Sam decided to initially use Steve. Once the family becomes familiar with the concept, Sam plans to facilitate himself.
• Where will the meeting be held? Sam opted to host the meeting at Whistler, in a hotel that has meeting space. Sam also booked a suite so that the family always had a causal neutral place to meet.
• Who will attend? Sam decided that everyone over 15 should attend. Although not an issue for Sam’s family at this time, what about spouses and grandchildren?
• Meeting date? Sam personally invited and gave them lots of advance notice. Steve followed up by email to give it more of a professional feel. Consideration was given to sending out family business articles prior to meeting. Eventually, a convenient weekend was found and the hotel was booked.
• What will be discussed? Sam and Steve had lots of ideas (see below). Steve reached out to attendees to determine if there were any topics they feel are important to bring up.
Agenda for the Initial Family Meeting
Friday Evening – Nothing fixed, give families time to arrive and relax. A get together in Sam’s suite can act as an ice-breaker.
Saturday Day – This is the kick-off day that will set the stage for future meetings.
• An introduction to Steve and what his role will be.
• A summary about why family meetings are being held and related goals.
• Presentation of the meeting “code of conduct”.
• A SamCo history lesson. Stories about how Sam toiled, built customer relations and most importantly, how Sam built his value system and work ethic into SamCo. Pictures are worth a million words here. Sam may also discuss charities the family supports, and why they are important.
• A discussion of SamCo’s current business and how SamCo fits into the marketplace. Sam’s daughter in sales will give a presentation. The first meeting is too early for detailed financial and operational information.
• A discussion on industry challenges – current and anticipated.
• Break out into groups to discuss topics like social media, green initiatives, corporate responsibility, work life balance, etc. These are ideas that everyone will have a view on without them having to know a lot about SamCo.
• Personal success stories – did someone just get an A in math?
• Time for team building. Sam chose a ride down a zip line.
Saturday Evening – A family dinner at a location that works for all family – likely pizza. Sam and Steve may consider a few light discussion topics for dinner.
Sunday Morning – Breakfast can be group or separate. Later on:
• Sam and Steve to re-cap Saturday with themes and possible action items.
• Discussion about what worked and what didn’t.
• Consider of future agenda items as they will be front of mind. Feedback is a gift – ask for it. Set a rough date for the next meeting.
• Thank all for attending and set them free.
Our estate planning posts consider estate planning issues at a high level. Before you commence any form of estate planning, please consult with tax and legal advisors.