The family council
arises when the family becomes too large to be guided directly by a full family assembly and when the complexity and number of people dictate greater coordination of family activities.
Family councils evolve in unique configurations. For example, here is an account of dual family councils in a large fourth-generation family with a large legacy business and many investments:
“We have two large branches of the family descending from two brothers. Both of those have specific family councils, and each one of those councils probably has close to thirty members from two generations. Each council provides a voice for each family member, whether that person is a shareholder or not.
The goals of the councils are to address any family concerns, priorities, and projects that might or might not be connected to the business. That’s to keep the family cohesive, communicating and enjoying each other. It’s also to impart information about the family business and how to be an effective shareholder.
Each of the family councils have their own committees that focus on governance, new ventures, asset management, family activities, and education. The purpose is to foster personal and shareholder development so that everybody’s voice, whether they are shareholders or not, is heard in the council.
Own ownership council comprises the entire shareholder group from both family councils. On top of that, we have a whole family assembly, which comprises all family members from age 16 and spouses. That integrated council is designed to provide meaning and purpose to the family and a vehicle for education and development of family members.
So the ownership council is governing and leading the family’s interest, and the integrated council is about meaning and purpose and education and development. There is also a history committee that preserves photos, video, and newspaper articles on the family. Hopefully, they’ll all be maintained well into the future.”