How to preserve the non-financial capitals of your Family Office
The starting point of a modern, solid, world class framework to preserve the non-financial capitals builds on a very basic question: what is the purpose of your family office?
Purpose is the reason companies and business families are in business other than to make money. It’s a statement about the family’s contribution to society; it’s not what it makes, but what it makes happen. It is about how the family office benefits people.
The culture (Conscious culture): ‘culture’ is a system of shared beliefs (what is true); shared values (what is important); and shared norms (what is right). These orient family members and show them how things get done in their family & business; what expectations they need to fulfil to fit in; and what they can expect — or indeed demand — from others. The culture is conscious because it is explicit and collectively agreed.
The future and vision of our destination: the vision of the future is an additional incentive for customers to buy our products; for employees to join our workforce; for investors to put their money in our company. The definition of this future stage implies providing answers to questions such as “What is the vision for the company and family?”, “What will happen as we fulfill our promise?”, “What will the future look like?”, “Where will we fit in the world?” and “What will we be proud of?” This element, similar to the one of a best-selling novel, provides a resolution that makes you want to read to the end — but more importantly, to take the whole journey.
The Mission: The Mission statement is usually a better-defined concept, and the operating model is also frequently defined very clearly. We do need, though, to ensure they are properly articulated and explained. This includes laying out the fundamental direction of the family office, the choices we make to compete and to drive value. It also describes the way we work, including our behaviors and the principles guiding them. This strategy statement, contrary to purpose, describes what we make, not what we make happening.
I also strongly recommend to work on the communication stuff and build a strong Family Narrative. Family Narrative is a storytelling system that strengthens family enterprises discovering meaning in the past, purpose in the present and direction towards a successful future. If we get it right, the narrative is a strong anchor for the family. It is an inclusive source of stability, meaning and inspiration for all stakeholders.