Sharpening our perspectives
Here we are again 🙂
Here to learn together about family wealth. I love writing as it helps me express important perspectives. I hope you are also learning. If you want to really lean in, please tell me what is on your mind! I will reply with an email, possibly a Loom video, maybe even a blog topic!
In the post-script, I will be summarizing the opening 18 issues of FO Perspective. A helpful resource if you want to revisit any of the prior topics. It dawned on me when summarizing the prior issues that perhaps my favourite topic regarding generational wealth has not been a blog topic yet!
I find this topic so critical that it is the central perspective within my personal mission statement! I first developed this mission statement to help filter the opportunities presented during my post tax-law career. That first mission statement was “empowering families to thrive for generations”.
I was recently improving my mission statement upon the advice of a mission-driven steward, and the result is:
I empower, connect and delight fellow wealth stewards who agree that entrepreneurialism is the key to meaningful family legacies.
Not every family member could or should build businesses from scratch, sure, but families that develop each steward’s interest in behaving like entrepreneurs are my inspiration. It is my key to meaningful family legacies.
Entrepreneurship is not just about starting a business and making money. If so, it would not be the key. Entrepreneurship is a mindset. Mindsets that can produce effective cultures. Entrepreneurship is about seeing opportunities where others see obstacles. It’s about taking risks, embracing failure, and never, ever giving up (unless of course failing fast is the better option!).
And I believe that the above qualities can develop an enduring family legacy for generations.
Fostering entrepreneurial spirit
The world is changing at an unprecedented pace, yet our world has always been changing rapidly. Financial capital and family businesses that were built up over decades can easily dissipate in a few years, sometimes through no fault of the family. Yet the family legacy can endure far longer than the peak of the family’s financial power.
By fostering an entrepreneurial spirit within your family, you are equipping your family members with the skills and mindset they need to navigate this ever-changing world. You’re teaching them to be resilient, adaptable, and forward-thinking. You’re encouraging them to take ownership of their future and make their own mark on the family. Entrepreneurs love and identify talent, which can only serve to improve the quality of the family’s ecosystem over time. Entrepreneurs understand how people have value in many different ways in building a business, and this understanding translates effectively over time to a family culture that fosters tolerance and diversity of it’s family members.
Adding to the family story
Family governance experts often speak to the importance of clarifying the family’s mission, vision and values. Entrepreneurs actualize that focus. Every entrepreneurial venture should be a reflection of the entrepreneur’s values, passions, and vision. So, when a family member starts a business, they’re not just contributing to the family’s financial capital (or contributing to the family’s human capital if the venture fails!), they are also actualizing the family’s story, identity, and legacy.
The family shadow. One of the hardest topics to tackle in family governance. Typically, the wealth creator is so talented, so unique, that the generations that follow cannot help but compare themselves and fall short.
The shadow looms greatly.
There is no single universal statement more commonly uttered by a successful entrepreneur than this: wealth creators wish their journey (not their success) could happen for all of their family members. They had a remarkable journey, a fulfilling ride. Yet wealth creators often struggle to beget entrepreneurs.
A wealth creator may struggle to figure out how to support their heirs because starting on third base is very different than their journey, but every wealth creator I’ve met wishes a similarly fulfilling ride for their children and grandchildren.
How to circle this square?
Celebrate their successes and failures
Encourage your children to start their own ventures. Celebrate their successes, and more importantly, their failures. Really go after those failures and ideally have family rituals that can be revisited in those times of failure so that the failures live together within the family legacy script.
Role model that business-building is about so much more than making money, it is about making an impact in a way that you know the world needs, than your family is getting far far ahead.
Describe the lows; far more important than the highs. Your family needs to hear about how the success included ample amounts of luck and difficult times. They need to know how you bounced back.
Entrepreneurship is not just starting businesses; it as a way of life. And my mission is to empower, delight and connect fellow heirs that also see entrepreneurship as the secret sauce that keeps your family legacy alive and well for generations to come.