Setting New Year's Intentions

For many of us—especially those in family business—picture perfect get-togethers are far from reality. Even if holiday times are full of precious moments, they often enhance stress, especially when you are dealing with the built-in conflict of family business.

So how do we move through tense moments that may erupt during the holidays and start off right in the New Year?

As we approach the new year many of us think about shedding what does not serve us and resolving to draw into our lives what helps us realize our goals.

We like to encourage setting intentions, rather than resolutions. An intention is a choice, an affirmation of what you want to realize in your life. A resolution is built on a foundation of negativity and frustration and seems to invite failure.

It can be especially powerful to set intentions as a family, particularly for those whose connections also involve ownership of a business or other shared assets. Taking the opportunity to openly discuss your hopes and goals for the coming year can have a positive impact on your family relationships and the enterprise, encouraging alignment and deliberate decision-making. It may reveal areas in which more work is needed or uncover issues that could benefit this year from impartial, outside support.

As we embark on a new year, we encourage you to envision your family’s future as it relates to the enterprise and to take concrete steps to safeguard that future. To begin the process, how would your family answer these questions?

  • What are you proud of or satisfied by from this past year?
  • What would you like your family’s life to look like in the coming year?
  • How do you want to be together—are there new ways you can imagine?
  • What do you want to accomplish—in your family life and in the business?
  • What do you want to experience together?
  • How do you plan to remain connected this year? What can you do now to stay connected in the future?
  • What impact do you want your family to have in your community?

Any time that a decision-making point arises in the year, you can refer to your answers to these questions to make sure you are living through your intentions and establishing your legacy on a solid foundation of real experience, decision by decision.

Also, being mindful and deliberate about prioritizing shared experiences helps you build your “family factor,” which helps your family weather difficult times and make thoughtful decisions together.

For many families, it is challenging to align on answers to these questions—some prefer to have an experienced family business consultant facilitate the activity during a family meeting or in a retreat setting.

Coming together to tease out the family’s vision and establish shared intentions is a thought-provoking experience. The activity in itself can lead to closer connections and more intentional decision-making in the coming year.

Learn more about having purposeful, productive family meetings.