Preparing Your Family to be Good Stewards

In our last legacy article, we examined what it looks like to be a good steward of your wealth. Now let’s look at building your legacy and what it means to strategically prepare your family to be good stewards. 

Imagine you began and ran a very successful business.  Now it is time for you to start the next chapter in your life and implement your succession plan. Your expectations for your successor are for them to be as successful as you were in the role, maybe even more successful. Your successor will be responsible for running the business, making strategic decisions, and mentoring and growing your employees – the people who have helped you build an empire.  Did I mention your successor has no knowledge, skills, or ability to successfully run the business?  They just happened to be present when you made the decision to transition the leadership of your business. You may think I have lost my mind and no reasonable person would decide this. You may think this will never happen to your family. However, I have seen this happen time and time again with families.  

What can be done to avoid this mistake? What is your strategy for transitioning family leadership? How will you solve the phenomenon of leaving your family unprepared to handle what you have acquired and created? You created your family’s wealth; you have taken care of your family and provided for them – that’s all you need to do, right?  What if I told you that creating wealth and providing for your family is only a small piece of creating a sustainable, successful family legacy? Creating wealth and providing for your family without a strategic plan can leave your family in chaos, unprepared to step in, step up, and lead. This lack of preparedness is why there is such a struggle with the concept of becoming a successful steward Scott McMillian addressed in his previous article.  

Generally, as humans, we are all solving a mathematical equation in preparing a succession plan. Our X factor is: When do we need to have our family prepared? This is an impossible equation for most people, and that’s where we come in. Succession is a long journey, not a destination, not a pitstop, because there is often no way of knowing when you are going to want or need to turn over the reins. At Sendero®, our tried-and-true solution is strategic preparation for your family in every stage of life.  We help you prepare your family for the transition by taking small, obtainable steps without creating chaos. So, where should you begin? 

First, examine what the family’s collective goal is beyond your leadership. Once this is identified, work to create alignment within the family. A good family culture starts with alignment, which is achieved by developing identifiable family values. Each family has its own language and identity, so quite simply said, you want to identify what is important to your family as whole, and where you are unwilling to compromise as a family. After your family values are aligned, you can build your family’s mission and purpose. Together these create your family’s unique overall language. Your values, mission, purpose, and language make up the framework for your family which is critical for a successful long-term outcome. 

After this is done, it is time to begin evaluating the strengths and challenges of your family members. A facilitated dialogue and professional methods of self-analysis provide non-threatening and interactive ways to identify the family members’ strengths and challenges. It’s important to mentor family members and create competencies they will need in the future. How can this be done? One example is through age-based training, customized to your family, that allows you to build decision-making skills in a supportive environment. Another example is creating rules of engagement as part of an overall governance structure.  

At Sendero®, we’ve created our legacy program to offer solutions tailored to your family’s unique and complex needs. Our strategy leads to active learning opportunities and cohesive, decision-making family units.  We encourage honest communication, which helps develop an environment for healthy conflict, as well as conflict resolution skills. We work toward giving wealthy parents the ability to raise children who are not entitled or lacking purpose. We move from authoritarian decision-making to mentoring through open, inclusive dialogs. Our families learn to have accountability for their actions in the family unit. Our legacy process assists with managing change within the family, a life-long skill. Ultimately, we are training our families to make informed and factual decisions, absent the emotions that often cloud judgement. We designed this program to help families go from GOOD to GREAT.   


The content in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as investment recommendations or financial planning advice. We encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding all personal finance issues.