A Season For Conversations #succession

Richard Shrapnel's Orienteering Succession blog

Over the next two months, families from around the world of varying cultures and faiths will be coming home in celebrations including Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chinese New Year. It is a season of reunion and the opportunity for conversations – an opportunity that should never be wasted.


Active Knowledge Question:

Have you thought about what you may want to discuss as a family when you all gather during this year-end season?


Starting with Thanksgiving on 28 November 2019, moving through to Christmas on 25 December 2019 and then onto Chinese New Year on 25 January 2020, this is a season in which many families reconnect around these celebrations and many other celebrations that occur at this time of the year.

It is a time for strengthening relationships and hopefully of not digging up unresolved issues. It can be a challenge on many fronts, but it is an opportunity that is best not wasted. There is a strength in families, and this is a time to build on those strengths. It is not a time for criticism but a time to give thanks.

It is a time opened for all conversations and not restricted, for example, to just messages that elders may feel the younger members need to hear. Conversations should always be open and equal.

There will be conversations that are best approached with empathy, clarity and a willingness to listen, by all family members. Listening and acceptance can be a real challenge at times.

For families in business, it can be time to discuss opportunities, possibilities, transition, growth and the future in general. But as we all know, families can be ‘difficult’ at times, and some conversations stir emotions and conflict, which only close conversations down.

So now is the time to prepare for the conversations that you believe are important for unity and growth in your family and business. Reaching out and asking permission to discuss various issues is a good starting point and allows everyone to gather their thoughts and prepare for the discussions.

It also allows for some to decline to participate in the conversation, so conflict does not suddenly emerge at the dinner table. Or for barriers that may prevent conversations from occurring to be removed before the family comes together so these matters can be ‘talked through’.

In today’s global world, many families only connect once or twice a year, prepare for your family gathering and invite everyone to consider what issues as a family might, and should, be opened for discussion this year.

Over this season, we will revisit many of the points families in business want and need to discuss.

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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel