COLLABORATION: Sharing Insights
Here is a selection of my social media posts receiving the most attention.
They represent practical aspects of collaboration, leadership thoughts, and ahead of the curve ideas. Enjoy the read!
Is anyone listening to me?
“Who sits next to whom and who will they be facing?”
“The succession plans will need a lot more work”
“How long will this meeting last?”
“What if I have trouble expressing myself so everyone will understand me?”
“What if I want to stay in the family business but in a different position – are there choices I can pick from?”
“I have some great ideas but can’t get a word in edgewise!”
“What will you be serving for lunch cuz I have a golf game to get to?”
“I’m certain we’ll agree on the mandate but the related policies will need more eyes to better tailor the outcome.”
“Can we bring the meeting to order? I’ve got tee time fast approaching!”
Right up front collaboration includes every voice at the planning stages as well as knowing where everyone’s interests lie. Families seek to be involved about their lives. What’s happening today and for their futures. Contributing to the same masterplan knowing the goals and openly sharing insights, innovation ideas, and needs.
Collaboration listens and works with you.
Readiness flows after a client, an individual family member, or a spouse realizes their desire to change the status quo. From being unaware to slowly noticing that their behaviours and values are no longer aligned with those near them to specific plans starting to take shape. From contemplation to full on action.
Collaboration isn’t everyone’s process for change. It works well for those who want to share their plans and acknowledge pain they may have caused, help family members realize their needs and dreams, and accept the wisdom and experience of trained professionals and trusted advisors.
There’s some tough times along that path. There are voices being heard that may not have been heard for many years. And sometimes exposed secrets help everyone come to a durable sustainable change that suits each of them well.
Moving down a different path takes courage, initiative, planning, and dreaming. Moving together with all its challenges and breakthroughs can result in surprises and dreams coming true maybe some of the time. Innovation and creativity fill out the program.
Why We Check in Frequently
Critically important at every stage of advising whether at the first step of contracting, to facts gathering and options generating, to negotiation and conclusion.
Losing the focus, involvement, and accountability of each participant in the chain leaves a gap. Could result in serious repercussions or maybe not. Checking in to ensure continued interest and appropriate action taken by the assigned family member builds relationships, trust and value.
Checking in is a private discussion with each participant in the process. Agree in advance what will be included and a reasonable time frame. Common themes include general welfare of the individual and the family, carrying an achievable workload, team inclusiveness, and constructive and open feedback.
Sharing supports process adaptations as needed and when needed. It keeps outcome expectations realistic and practical. It shows each person has value to the project and the family the results will impact.
Moving from the Recycled Past to the Mindful Present
Family meetings can dredge up the disagreements which have been stewing below the surface for a very long time. How to move from the recycled history to the mindful present? Some parameters to consider.
A private meeting with each member of the family whose presence is essential to discuss the goals and objectives of the scheduled meeting.
Survey their individual needs and those they see are important for the business to continue to thrive.
What’s top of mind for each member and what plan of action have they considered to share within the limited scope agenda for the next family meeting?
Consider grouping the needs into like themes and order by priority and impact on the family’s well being and continuity.
Identify their influencers and distractions and solicit what advice helps them maintain their focus on the task at hand.
Sharing the collaborative guiding principles to permit each to speak openly and challenge each other’s thinking without attacking the person. Clearly addressing an issue keeps the past in the past so each participant is moving in the same forward direction.
Supporting One Family Member Supports the Whole
An anxious client needs simple instructions to start the process to find their way out of the desperate situation they perceive that are facing. Whether their situation is grave or superficial, it is real to the person experiencing it. We need to honour those feelings and support this client to help them return to a place of calm and purpose.
That simple instruction is to take deep slow breathes. I’ll exaggerate my breathing to be there alongside them so they can mirror my pacing of breathe. That short process restores their confidence and strength.
The next step I do is to ask them what’s happening. I’ll listen to break down into discrete units what is driving the anxiety: what can they control and what they can’t. The ‘can control’ list is delivered in a slow lower tone of voice. That voice is intended to portray a ‘you can do this’ for the next time it arises. That may refer to a rule they’ve broken and now know that they need to follow the rules whether or not no one else seems to. It may touch on the environment of the workplace or the state of their community. And we all know how difficult unprovoked war, uncontrolled gun use, unwell family members, and out of reach daily expenses can initiate a feeling of loss.
The other list, the ‘can’t control’ items, is to discuss how they can manage when these arise, and the best path through to a reasonable practical outcome. That may involve mentoring or coaching, seeking new resources, and developing an innovative or alternative process around the obstacles. While we can’t eliminate our environment, we can move towards understanding it and supporting our clients who in turn will support their relationships around them.
Supporting one supports the community.
Lorisa Stein is a senior collaborative practitioner, cross cultural anthropologist, consensual dispute resolution readiness and management consultant, policy analyst, and advisor.