A Season For Conversations

Dr Richard Shrapnel PhD
3 min readAug 11, 2022
A series for those journeying through family business succession.

As we have well and truly clicked over the half way mark for this calendar year, our minds are turning towards year end. This year end season is one where families from around the world of varying cultures and faiths will be coming home in celebrations including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year to name just a few. It is a season of reunion and the opportunity for conversations — an opportunity that should never be wasted.

Have you thought about what you may want to discuss as a family when you all gather during this year-end season?

It is a time for strengthening relationships and hopefully of not digging up unresolved issues. It can be a challenge on many fronts, but it is an opportunity that is best not wasted. There is a strength in families, and this is a time to build on those strengths. It is not a time for criticism but a time to give thanks.

It is a time opened for all conversations and not restricted, for example, to just messages that elders may feel the younger members need to hear. Conversations should always be open and equal.

There will be conversations that are best approached with empathy, clarity and a willingness to listen, by all family members. Listening and acceptance can be a real challenge at times.

For families in business, it can be time to discuss opportunities, possibilities, transition, growth and the future in general. But as we all know, families can be ‘difficult’ at times, and some conversations stir emotions and conflict, which only close conversations down.

So now is the time to prepare for the conversations that you believe are important for unity and growth in your family and business. Reaching out and asking permission to discuss various issues is a good starting point and allows everyone to gather their thoughts and prepare for the discussions.

It also allows for some to decline to participate in the conversation, so conflict does not suddenly emerge at the dinner table. Or for barriers that may prevent conversations from occurring to be removed before the family comes together so these matters can be ‘talked through’.

In today’s global world, many families only connect once or twice a year, prepare for your family gathering and invite everyone to consider what issues as a family might, and should, be opened for discussion this year.

#familybusinesssuccession #familybusiness

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