The Power of Including a Facilitator in your Multidisciplinary Team

Published: Feb 21, 2022

Too often we find ourselves knowing we need to do something but have no idea where to begin.  Building a business is hard work and including the family in the transition planning is even harder.  So what do we do?

Some choose to do nothing in the hope that it will go away or don’t have the energy to put in the effort and throw in the towel saying the next generation will figure it out. If you don’t deal with it, it surely does not go away.

When dealing with multigenerational wealth it is very important to have intentional conversation so all family members and individual shareholders of the wealth know what is going on. This is not like a “do-it-yourself“ renovation project that you take on yourself.  It is very beneficial to have an independent 3rd party who knows the family’s values and teaches the concept that wealth comes with great responsibility.

A facilitator adds value to your advisory team.  A skilled facilitator knows how to navigate emotional issues.  And emotions do show up in a family setting where it is common to see that fair is not equal and equal is not always fair.

What is a facilitator? A facilitator derives from the word facilitation which is the act of helping.  A facilitator helps a client understand their environment and helps create action of forward movement.  Facilitators assist individuals or groups (families) to work together to achieve their goals and to think more clearly, efficiently and systematically.  A facilitator is great to have when you embark on the journey of continuity planning and begin family meetings. (to be further discussed in another article).  A facilitator helps the client family make the decisions, as compared to a consultant, who may be engaged to provide the solutions.

The value of having a facilitator is to create clarity of the task, provide a process, encourage full participation from every family member, practices good time management and remains focused on the task.  A skilled facilitator has the ability to ask powerful questions, has a sense of curiosity, has exceptional listening skills and the ability to paraphrase and reframe. A facilitator has the canning ability to facilitate dialogue through questions that take the client through a process including: Facts – Feelings – Meaning – Action.

To engage in a fair process an FEA facilitator can lead a family to effective communication and the strengthening of family trust.  There are 5 steps to a fair process:

  1. Engaging and framing
  2. Exploring and eliminating
  3. Deciding and explaining
  4. Implementing and executing
  5. Evaluating and learning

A facilitator helps a family build strategies to transfer knowledge from one generation to the next. Some ways to do this are:

  1. Have a clear strategic plan that is articulated and understood
  2. Co-create a vision and mission as a family
  3. Encourage stories to impact values and traditions
  4. Communicate across the generations
  5. Create opportunity for family involvement
  6. Define roles and responsibilities
  7. Transfer tactical knowledge
  8. Have family meetings

Note the four phases of knowledge transfer include:

  1. Know what
  2. Know why
  3. Know who
  4. Know how

An FEA facilitator is also very aware of the 4 C’s needed in a family enterprise.

  1. Command – a quick decision making process
  2. Continuity – a long term plan
  3. Community – the value of familiness
  4. Connection – the importance of longevity

The key role of a facilitator is to have the family keep communicating together.  In the race of wealth transition the carrying of the baton between the generations is very important and the facilitator can help keep the family accountable to sharing knowledge, values and vision to be passed on. So, if you are in a position asking yourself “what now?” reach out and consider hiring an FEA facilitator.

Decision Tree Question: Are you ready to continue your journey?

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