Persuading others to go along with your vision or your ideas can be difficult for highly experienced leaders, but it’s even more difficult when family members are involved.
It’s often challenging to do because we believe that it’s all about the evidence: make your data-supported case, and you’ll win. Then add the layer of family, and the job becomes even more challenging.
The art of persuasion must be employed to create a shared family vision. But it’s not just about rhetoric or providing data. As you do the work to build the family vision, there’s plenty of work to be done.
7 Steps to Build a Shared Family Vision
As you begin to work with your family members, here are some steps to get started:
- Know the difference between a vision and a mission statement. A vision statement is one sentence that encapsulates all that a company wants to be. It is well written and should be easy to remember. On the other hand, mission statements are the steps you take to achieve your vision.
- Hold a family meeting. Gather all your family members so everyone can contribute and align with the vision. Do this with everyone, not just the family members who are working in the business. This makes everyone feel like a contributing member and will make it easier for you to gain consensus.
- Ask questions. To make sure everyone is involved and has their say, ask questions to help them brainstorm with you. Things such as, “What does our family business look like next year? Three years from now? When you are running it or when your children are running it?” “What strengths do you bring to the table?” “What weaknesses do you need to work on?”
- Create a tagline. All successful companies have taglines that succinctly communicate what their company is about. Families can benefit from having a tagline, too. Because if the family doesn’t communicate what it wants the business to be, the dynamic can fall apart. Get creative and have members summarize the family business—and the family— in 10 words or less.
- Dream big. A family business can’t thrive if the people inside it don’t dream. No dream is off-limits. Create a dream board to accompany the vision statement and place it where others can see it often. Let everyone dream without judgment or ridicule.
- Share your answers. Let each member speak and share freely without criticism. This helps establish trust and encourages bonding. Have each family member read their statements aloud, and combine each person’s contribution and create one statement out of it.
- Be specific. Just like with your annual business planning goals, the vision statement(s) need to be specific.
Take the time to involve everyone in your shared vision statement’s creation (or re-creation), and the rest, as they say, will follow.
- Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion
- The Art of Persuasion: Winning Without Intimidation
- The Art of Persuasion
Further Reading at Family Wealth Library
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