From Weekly Family Meetings to Annual Retreats
I first encountered the concept of forums through my YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) membership. Members are allocated to small groups of 8 – 10 individuals who meet once a month for a confidential exchange of ideas, challenges and triumphs concerning both their personal and professional lives. These forums meet with highly structured times of both giving and receiving input. (It’s a bit like having a board of advisors to help guide you through life!)
I saw how effective these forums were for YPOers and decided to implement something similar once a month to help guide and develop my immediate family. In a nutshell, family-style forums are a way of building better family relationships through improved communication and decision making.
When we all still lived under the same roof, van Embden meetings always started off with heart checks where family members could share their news and express more personal matters. The rest of each meeting was dedicated to business-related talk. While these regular discussions proved an innovative family-building tool, we soon made the move to incorporate annual forum-style retreats into our family’s rhythm, too.
Annual retreats provide a wonderful platform for motivating, mentoring, and connecting the younger generations to the business side of family life; an essential part of succession planning and building a long-lasting legacy.
They are also an ideal opportunity to reinforce the family’s preferred philanthropic pursuits.
If you’re considering trying a family forum retreat, why not pick a location that lends itself to strengthening your family’s appreciation for giving back, too?
Philanthropy has become a key pillar for my family, most likely due to my continuing love affair with travel in Africa, which also birthed our family business – Timeless Africa Safaris. Not surprisingly, it is by far my favourite endeavour because it combines family time, going on plenty of safaris, doing good for others and making people happy!