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10 questions to ask at your next family business meeting

Are you ready to have the tough conversations needed to create a shared vision for the family ranch? Here are 10 questions to answer at your next business meeting.

Amanda Radke

May 24, 2017

3 Min Read
10 questions to ask at your next family business meeting
Amanda Radke

In recent weeks, I’ve covered several business topics as they relate to the multi-generation family ranching enterprise.

In case you missed these posts, you can check them out here:

2 habits to implement in the family ranch business
5 ways a coach could improve your family ranch business
How do you achieve balance in a family ranch business?
10 tips for young producers

To expand on these previous discussions, today let’s focus on how ranching families can have more productive business meetings.

SKM Associates, a business that focuses on building and preserving family legacies, offers some tips for defining a vision for the family ranch and which questions need to be answered in order to achieve that vision.

According to SKM Associates, “The vision is the shared image of the family’s definition of success and what the family wants the business to be. Having a vision is critical for the journey to realize the goals and dreams of the family. Understanding and following the vision of the family is critical to the ultimate success of the family, of the individuals, and of the business.

“Following the vision requires commitment. Commitment is best considered in the framework of the family, the business, and the ownership of the business. This means results are best achieved with not just a single event or item, but by working over time to develop the capability of the family to manage governance and decision-making. With commitment to a ‘visioning’ process, there is built-in accountability to keep everyone focused and on track.”

SKM Associates suggests 10 simple yet complex questions to answer in order to begin working on that shared vision for the ranch:

1. What do we desire for our family?
2. What will be the story of our family?
3. What do we desire for the next generation?
4. What is our family’s responsibility to society?
5. How will our family values influence the vision of what we want to become?
6. What will our family business not do?
7. What is our time horizon?
8. How will the business be part of the family vision?
9. Who is leading our business? How are they leading?
10. What kind of abundance is our family and our business enjoying? What does it look like, specifically?

While the answers may be unclear at first, they can provide a good launch pad to have the tough conversations needed in order to construct a shared vision for the ranch. It can also help create awareness for long-term plans, provide the framework for how to conduct business on a day-to-day basis and offer clarity for every person involved in the operation, as well as those family members who are no longer living on the ranch.

By the way, have you voted in the "For the love of land & livestock" photo contest? Check out the finalists here and vote for your favorite today!

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.

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