Helping families define a shared purpose beyond profit
As successful enterprising families reach organizational maturity or approach a generational transition, their primary strategic priority often shifts from wealth creation towards wealth preservation. Yet, for many families, simply generating and protecting their wealth is no longer the goal. They are increasingly unsettled by the growing wealth gap and recognize that our most profound systemic risks — health, social and environmental – will require systems-level change and both public and private leadership.
These dilemmas naturally raise some complex questions, including:
- What is the purpose of the wealth and resources that you have amassed?
- Does this wealth help you find meaning or is it a distraction?
- How can you use your resources to transmit your family’s core values to your children?
- What role do you want to play supporting the ecosystems within which your family enterprise is embedded and on which it relies?
Most enterprising families are ill-equipped to have these conversations. However, when left unaddressed, the dilemmas often simmer and manifest in conflict—over ideology, vision, and social responsibility. They can also expose underlying tensions between family branches and generations, who can hold very different perspectives on purpose and profit.
LGA’s advisors will help your family understand and discuss these complex issues and unite behind a shared vision for your wealth – one that is both exciting for family members and impactful in the world.
We first help you elevate this topic within your core leadership team – discussing the risks and practical implications of these major social, environmental and political trends across the enterprise. We also highlight the natural tensions that often emerge between rising generations who feel strongly about these issues and senior generations who understand the many challenges and limitations of organizational and systems-level change.
We then help you define the fundamental purpose of your wealth and the role you want your family enterprise to play in the world, and communicate this message with clarity and intention throughout the enterprise.
How does it work?
LGA’s Wealth Utilization projects often begin with the launch of a Task Force or Steering Committee composed of a representative group of family members who are keenly interested in these issues.
Working with this Task Force, your LGA advisors will conduct confidential individual interviews with each of your key stakeholders to better understand their aspirations and concerns about the future of the enterprise and its role in the world. Where it makes sense, we also gather data from the broader system via a customized survey. Your LGA team will then review any existing strategic plans, corporate commitments, and investments in related environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives to understand your current portfolio of related activities.
Based on this data, we then structure a series of living room conversations with your family to answer critical questions about the purpose of you wealth, such as:
- What can your family uniquely contribute to the world?
- How can you adapt your operations to align with your values and purpose?
- What businesses should you be in and why?
- What is your opportunity—and responsibility—to use these assets for good?
- How can you do well by doing good?
- Who are your stakeholders, and what do you owe them?
- How do you manage wealth differences among family members?
- How do your values guide your investments and philanthropy?
- What is your responsibility to address any inequities your family or your enterprise may have perpetuated?
- How can you teach your children to be responsible stewards — both of the family enterprise and of the planet?
These living room conversations often generate vigorous debate and help the family align around the core issues and opportunities. Your advisors will then work with the Task Force to create a document reflecting your family’s shared purpose — a clear statement of “why we exist” that rings true throughout the family and provides a strategic north star for all of your common assets and activities.
How does your family benefit?
You will emerge from this process with a clear statement of purpose that can be used to realign structures, processes, and policies throughout your family enterprise.
It will include clear guidelines around corporate strategy, family philanthropy, impact investments, succession planning, and owner education and development. Your leadership teams will then have the clarity they need to design a strategy that will position your family enterprise for both purpose and profit.
It will also provide your family with a common vocabulary to discuss these critical issues going forward, as they are only likely to increase in importance in the years ahead.
The second-generation CEO of a large family enterprise was approached by a strategic investor who made a generous and unsolicited offer for their legacy operating business. The CEO had previously never explored a sale — both because of her strong emotional connection to the company and its employees — two of whom were her kids — and because of its attractive cash flow and growth profile.
For many, family philanthropy presents an opportunity to create a shared experience, unifying the
family by working together toward a lasting legacy of impact. Family philanthropy can also give
participants an opportunity to explore and cultivate their personal—and sometimes separate—
This article presents a systematic review of the literature on the subject of family philanthropy.
Ashley Blanchard talks about how philanthropic families around the world experienced the pandemic and how philanthropy has changed.
Devin DeCiantis and Sam Bonsey, discuss the role of responsible capitalism in the family business and how it can be promoted.
We conceptualize two interrelated approaches to education: a deductive or “outside-in” approach.
Business families naturally invest in professionalizing their management group, often without realizing that their ownership group requires as much attention.
Neus has 20 years of expertise in corporate and family business governance specializing in large Latin American and European.
Ashley works with philanthropic families to help them define a shared vision for their family’s philanthropy, and the structures and operations to realize that vision.
Nicolas specializes in governance design and succession planning for family enterprises around the world.
Wendy is a partner that has over 15 years of consulting and counseling experience in individual, group, and organizational assessment and leadership development.
Kelin is a Co-founder and Senior Advisor at LGA with over 30 years of experience consulting and teaching around the world.
Lisa is a trusted advisor, strategist, facilitator, and executive coach who applies an equity lens to help families take action.