Canadian Farm in the Winter

Making decisions as a family: Principles for the holidays and beyond

Making decisions as a family: Principles for the holidays and beyond

Synopsis
4 Minute Read

The holidays serve as a good reminder of the importance of unity when developing crucial goals and plans as a family.

Family Business Advisor

Farm family dynamics are rarely simple, and for some reason the holiday season has a way of magnifying the good and bad of each family’s circumstances and relationships.

Fortunately, the fundamentals of strong family decision-making are applicable any time of year. You may find they are particularly relevant when everyone gets together for the holidays.

The benefits of planning together

Making decisions together is a great way to foster harmony in your family, when done properly. This can be as simple as having regular family meetings, or can involve something more formal like a family assembly or council.

A clear and organized process for making decisions is beneficial for all families, but it is especially prudent when a shared interest — like a family farm, property, or inheritance — is in play. These discussions should be based on your family’s shared goals, such as:

  • building a stronger family and business;
  • planning for the future (either in regard to ownership or family participation);
  • helping children manage inherited wealth;
  • rolling out a succession framework;
  • preserving family values, traditions and history;
  • recognizing and resolving conflict.

Getting started

Although setting up a family decision-making process may sound daunting, there are some simple ways to start. You can start by identifying members of your family who have a knack for communication and organization, to help with tasks like scheduling regular family meetings.

Alternatively, you can seek a collaborative consultant who has experience in family business planning, goal setting, and succession advisement. These complex scenarios often require an outside set of eyes; an unbiased party who can chair meetings, mediate conflict, facilitate buy-in, and build consensus.

A qualified busines advisor can also help you prepare for retirement, business transition, and ultimately the continued profitability of your family business.

Better together

Some family matters are too important to decide alone. Whether it’s a complex matter like your estate, or a simple question of who will host the annual holiday party, keeping your family involved and informed in decision-making is the best way forward. Here’s to an uplifting and peaceful holiday.

For more information about MNP’s Family Business team and our TransitionSMART farm succession program, contact Bob Tosh at [email protected] or 306.664.8303.

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