Building a successful business is the first creative act of a business family. But that is not enough to ensure a future for the extended family. Building a strongly connected extended family, organized around shared values concerning the use of the vast family resources, is the second creative act of the family as it crosses generations. The family has an active and creative role in the enterprise that is largely unknown to families who do not own large businesses or family assets.
A generative family desires much more than financial wealth. Its long-term achievement also lies in how it builds the extended family and the collective impact of what the family members do together, and what they do in the world. The opportunities are endless. But how do family members get together, uncover opportunities, set priorities, and make their ambitious plans actually happen?
After several generations, even the wealthiest families inevitably grow apart. Relatives live far away. Despite their shared holdings, they may not feel compelled to get to know each other. They often become uninvolved shareholders, strangers to each other, not wanting any additional contact as a family. Unless someone does something to pull people together, no force will counteract disengagement and fracturing.
Generative families, by their nature, avoid this fate. They find a reason to endure and develop active personal ...