In Family Business consulting, the Family Council and Family Covenant are pivotal elements of a successful family and business journey.

Family councils preserve the family history, reinforce family values and allowed all family members to understand the business even if they do not work in the organization.  In many cases, the Family Council focuses on fun and relationship building.  I’m always a bit jealous of the events that my clients describe…picnics, contests, scavenger hunts, games, celebrations and storytelling, as well as celebrating business success.

After writing my earlier blog on self trust, I was thinking about ways to build trust within the other circles, family, organization, market and society.   Yes, we have to develop trust within each of the circles, but we also must form trust relationships that bridge the circles and almost blur the lines between the circles.  And since I think in graphics…. I drew this.

So how do family councils relate to the five domains of trust?

Competence: The family council educates all family members about the business and communicates the family values to the employees of the business. It is a conduit for communication.  This ensures that the next generation begins the journey into the family business in a supportive and loving process. The family council is the opportunity for business development, personal development and education across generations.

Integrity: The family council can provide a forum for consensus on setting and implementing policies to govern the business in a fair manner that reflects family values.

Openness: The family council provides a forum for all family members to be involved, regardless of the role they play in the business.  It is a mechanism of celebrating the dual roles of each person, family member and business associate.

Benevolence: The family council is a nurturing body that allows each person to grow while supporting them in their roles in growing the organization.  It demonstrates as it teaches that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Shared Vision: The family council is a vehicle to communicate the family values and vision to guide the board, top management, advisors, family members and employees of the organization.

The family council is the bridge that spans the self, the family and organization circles.  It’s the tool that establishes the link of trust between these circles.