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Planning for a harmonious holiday season and a bright future


While the holidays will look quite different for many families across the country this year, farm families will likely still face some classic challenges. But there’s good news too. With a few simple practices, you can lay the foundation for a peaceful holiday season — and a bright future.

Farm family discussing their family farm at sunset

Consider these steps

One of the best ways to foster family harmony is by getting a little more organized in how you make family decisions. This can be as simple as having regular family meetings, or can involve something more formal like a family assembly, council or constitution.

Regardless of what steps you take, the purpose is to create a well-understood family decision-making process. This makes it easier to achieve family 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
  • Managing relationship between the family and the board
  • Recognizing and resolving conflict

Simple tools to help

Although setting up a family decision-making process may sound daunting, there are some simple ways to start. To get things off the ground, it may help to identify family champions (to schedule regular family meetings, for instance) or get the support of an experienced business advisor.

Given the sensitive nature of this endeavour, if you go the latter route you likely want to find a collaborative consultant — someone who is experienced working with families and other professionals to help you drive consensus, facilitate buy-in, chair regular meetings and mediate conflicts.

A collaborative consultant can also help in other ways — perhaps by helping you build a succession plan, lay a solid foundation for your retirement or position your business for the future.

Realizing the benefits

Once you begin to clarify how you make decisions as a family, you may discover unexpected benefits. For instance, family members may be able to communicate more clearly, everyone may gain a greater understanding of your goals for the business and you may even gain more consensus. Finally, a peaceful holiday season is within reach.

Bob Tosh, PAg., FEA,is a farm and family business advisor with MNP’s Consulting group. Through his work with farm families, Bob has become a specialist in family business succession planning, helping more than 200 families transition to the next generation. Contact Bob at 306.664.8303 or [email protected].