Family Family Dynamics
OnCourse International supports, guides, and facilitates many different families. There is no “standard” approach for addressing family dynamics: “If you’ve worked with one family … you’ve worked with one family.” Families are as diverse as the individuals that comprise them. All have their unique histories, complexities, opportunities, and challenges.
Leaders / elders in dynamic, loving, and successful families often feel a “calling” to promote, preserve and deepen authenticity and collaboration across generations. By exploring and codifying the values and mission to which the family aspires, a foundational family governance structure can emerge that opens the door for new opportunities … strengthening familial bonds, creating ongoing support systems, and ensuring continuity and legacy. A thoughtful, intentional structure can assist in addressing family-related concerns around financial management, philanthropy, education, family events, and grooming of the rising generation.
Many families also suffer from ongoing soap opera-like sagas, cast often as a sad and comical mix of victims, villains, and heroes. The critical first step in altering this pattern and restoring authenticity within the family is for one committed family member to step out of the drama and into a place of responsible maturity. This person—often the patriarch or matriarch, but sometimes a son or daughter—can serve as our gateway into the family system. We first support this family leader in finding and maintaining a grounded presence, and then guide other willing family members into and through the direct conversations they have avoided with one another for years, decades, or even lifetimes.
When each family member takes 100% responsibility for family harmony, the family dynamic has the potential to shift from energy draining to authentic and enduring.
Common Family Situations
- Most family members are reasonably aware and mature. The family elders (parents, patriarch, matriarch) wish to collaborate on a next-generation family plan.
- Unclear roles, agreements, estate plans, or leadership succession are draining energy in a family business.
- A next-generation child in a family business seeks more responsibility, but the parents or other family members don’t feel the child is ready.
- Squabbling or warring exists among adult siblings, and the parents or other siblings aren’t sure how to mediate.
- A family member desires a career outside of the family business, but feels pressure to join or stay in the business.
- An adult child is struggling, lost, or estranged from the rest of the family.
- An adult child has been raised with a sense of entitlement, and the parents don’t know how to break the pattern.
- The next generation is ready to assume the reins of a family business, and the prior generation is unwilling to give up control.
- The family dynamic is dysfunctional. One or more family members are torn on whether to work in and through the dysfunction, or exit the dynamic and take care of themselves.
Family Dynamics Offerings
We collaborate with family leadership in these areas:
- Hosting a launching meeting with key family members to create a framework of respect and protocols for go-forward interactions
- Getting consensus on values, mission, and engagement rules within family leadership
- Beginning to collaborate on a viable governance structure and next steps
- Launching and managing a family office
- Designing and overseeing a memorable family gathering
- Drafting an enduring family constitution
- Forming a family council
- Accelerating the education and maturation of the Rising Generation to realize their own destiny
- Addressing and resolving challenges, tensions, or disconnects within the family
- Connecting families with a network of world-class family specialists (estate planning, wealth management, tax planning, legal, philanthropy)
- Navigating rites of passage with courage and grace (empty nest, marriage, divorce, passing of loved ones)