What is a Family Business Advisory Team?
One of the most common challenges family business members face is isolation — it is often difficult to discuss issues with other family members, and those outside the family business often don’t understand the unique dynamics of family enterprise. Family Business Advisory Teams (FBATs) meet the challenge head on by providing an unparalleled opportunity to discuss succession, business leadership, strategy, and family issues with other members of family businesses.
FBATs are one of FBC’s most cherished benefits, offering an experience that is uniquely beneficial to those working in and around family businesses. Many of these groups have been thriving for 10-15 years or more.
Why Join a Family Business Advisory Team?
Family Business Advisory teams can serve as your own mini board of directors, supporting you in your challenges and opportunities as a family business. Members leverage the perspectives of other family businesses, industries and generations.
We encourage all family business members to join a Family Business Advisory Team. This is a unique opportunity to learn from each other, to work on your family business in a special way, and to have the security of confidential discussions in a trusting and inviting environment.
Topics like working with family, managing business and succession are among the areas discussed.
FBATs are about peer mentorship. Meetings are strictly confidential, providing an environment of trust where individuals can discuss issues that are highly personal and/or confidential in nature. This is not a networking group, and is not intended to provide leads or business referrals. Instead, they provide feedback and ongoing support for both personal and business issues. New members must be prepared for this primary benefit by being open and willing to share lessons learned, provide support to others, and grow both personally and professionally.
The FBAT is a group of 8-10 individuals who agree to meet on a monthly basis to share personal and business ideas and to help each other. Each FBAT is composed of a diverse group of family business members from non-competing businesses, representing different ages, genders, and generations in the business. FBATs can include a maximum of one FBC Advisor member, meaning most of the group are Family members.
Each group hosts structured three-hour monthly meetings where commitment is paramount to group success.
Each group names a moderator from their membership and other tasks of the group are decided upon as needed. The members collaborate on what will work best for them in terms of meeting flow, content, presentations and group dynamics. Most importantly, they have the opportunity to bring their challenges to the table. Insight is gained by hearing from others who have had similar experiences.
One annual weekend retreat provides the opportunity for personal and professional development with team building. As a group, the members decide on the best ways for them to address their individual and mutual goals.
To develop and maintain a successful FBC Team, it is essential that the guiding principles of Confidentiality and Commitment are followed.
Confidentiality is the most basic and important aspect of the FBAT’s success. Everything that is said in the room stays in the room. No “pillow talk” with spouses or significant others. No insider trading. No meetings-after-the-meetings. Confidentiality is forever, even after members depart the group.
Commitment is also essential to prevent a revolving door of members and to build relationships and trust. Committing to a FBAT means:
In some cases, a new team will be formed from among the members of the waiting list. In these cases, the new FBAT will be supported by an FBAT Mentor for at least three meetings.
To connect with The Chamber's Family Business Committee staff liaison please email Cheryl Wirch-Ryckman.