Family Meetings Part 3: The Follow-Up Process
Congratulations, you’ve had a successful family meeting!
Thanks to intentional preparation, progress has been made on many family objectives, such as:
- Educate the next generation(s) about finances
- Identifying and sharing family values
- Ensure that family wealth transition plans are communicated and successfully implemented
Completing a family meeting is a noteworthy accomplishment, but don’t rest on your laurels. Family meetings should seldom be considered one-and-done. Rather, they’re a recurring maintenance activity to address concrete matters in a changing world, while also strengthening family bonds and building community.
Post meeting, it’s vital that all participants grant the same attention and follow-through to tasks and contributions from the family meeting, as they would at their workplace.
Here are suggested follow-up steps, after a family meeting.
Immediate Follow-Up (Within a Week)
Family leaders should craft and share a message with all attendees, of appreciation, confidence and warmth. This is a great chance to reinforce the culture of “assume positive intent” among all family members.
Share meeting notes with all participants, as well as to those who couldn’t attend. Clearly cite any expectations, action steps, assignments or decisions.
If promises were made to resolve any unanswered questions at the meeting, track down these answers and share them with the group. If answers are not yet available, set expectations for a timeline to provide this information. This fosters trust and models good follow-through for family members.
Conduct a Debrief Meeting
The same group that planned the meeting should have a follow-up meeting to debrief on how the meeting went and start planning the next one.
Family leaders and professional advisors should reflect on the meeting, and evaluate what went well, and what they’d like to improve on for the next meeting.
The meeting likely generated action items in a number of areas. The planning group should review the project list and determine who is accountable for each item. Tracking these projects and assessing their outcomes is typically an ongoing responsibility of the professional advisor group, in support of family leaders.
Are family meetings to be a routine occurrence? Schedule the next meeting or two, and decide on focal topics for the next few meetings.
Progress Depends on Follow-Up
Planning, execution and follow-up are the three pillars which ensure the success of family meetings.
Family meetings are a valuable tool for keeping all family members on the same page. They can prevent the conflicts and poor decisions which may jeopardize both wealth and family harmony, while cultivating cohesion, trust and mutual intergenerational support.
The Simplify Wealth team has significant experience not only planning family meetings, but helping families manage the many tasks that result from family meetings, and from their complex lives in general. If you feel overwhelmed by the burden of keeping your finances organized, we can help!