Family leadership, reunions and knowledge transfer

Companies strive to develop stronger leaders. They know the power of leadership to propel their organizations to greater profitability and influence. They also seek continuity and to perform excellently in the area of knowledge transfer.  Expertise in this area is a critical component in their succession planning process.  Necessary skills and information will enhance productivity and minimize any disruption in performance. Successful organizations develop their talent pool or bench, by ensuring the smooth transfer and implementation of institutional knowledge.   

Companies ideally want the new person to have time with the incumbent when a person is promoted. They want them to learn the mechanics of the job and the history of the position. If the new person understands the lessons of the past they are most likely to repeat the right ones. The experts realize this grounding in the past is a benefit. This awareness is helpful before the new person suggests any radical changes. 

New employees gather available information by;

  • reading information on file  and on line
  • one on one discussions with the former job holder
  • interviewing employees and customers
  • formal job orientation programs

A person is admired if they can quickly get up the learning curve and deliver value. They are able to speak intelligently about some matters for a seamless transition within the department. This increases the new person’s confidence during the early days in the new position. Successful knowledge, defined by knowing what was done in the past and current practices is an asset. 

The process of knowledge transfer can also work well in families. Adults in the family acquired years of education, instruction, experiences and expertise. Such information could be shared with their family members. Reflect on the vast amount of knowledge accumulated over the years. Your children have received the benefit of some of this data. But there is still so much that could be exchanged.

Knowledge transfer already occurs in many families, with or without structure. This is especially evident if they are in a business together. They are present and the coaching can be delivered first hand.  On the job training in the form of shadowing or following the relatives around the office or one on one meeting is a helpful practice. Bringing children to work is a great idea to let them see what the parents do on the job. It could allow them to see if their parent’s job is what they would like to do someday.

Most of the time knowledge is transferred through our actions as we live out our values and beliefs in the home. This happens around the dinner table or other places where the family gathers to interact. These opportunities could be intensified, if awareness and structure is added. If we intentionally design content and intent, we could better prepare our families for a competitive future. The world, the workplace and life is more challenging and grows in intensity and complexity each year. 

One of the advantages of children getting older is that you can discuss matters related to your employment. The more we can tell the stories of our workplaces, the better they can learn about at least one job. This sharing of information is not designed to force them to choose the same occupation, but to expose them to the job and the character traits needed to be successful. Children brought up in a supportive instructive environment have an edge when they go into the workforce.

Family reunions are a great venue to share values, family history and coach members about our collective acquired expertise and experiences. We share this information with our immediate relatives, but could accomplish so much more if we shared with more people. The value of these years of experiences and connections could enrich the entire family network.    

Consider setting up a procedure for the working members of your family to discuss their professions with the youth. Many times these gatherings are social, but they can be so much more. The following structure can be used to have adults share their experiences, education and expertise with their relatives at a family reunion. The format is as follows: 

Knowledge & Experiential transfer – Enriching Families with the Talent Within

Premise:

There exists with the collective family, valuable assets that could be a competitive advantage for individual family members. People in the family play many roles on their jobs, in church and in the community. They accumulated knowledge and skill to succeed in these roles. Family members have received intensive training in school and on the job. If we could tap into this wellspring of talent and transfer it to others in the family, we would have a pool of mentors to help our youth perform and compete at a very high level.

Family members are not often aware of the talent that is present across their bloodline. Some do a greater job mentoring people and offering advice outside of the family when the need is also great at home. 

Objective:

To identify and share the wealth of information in the form of knowledge, experiences, expertise and skills within the nuclear and extended family and across the bloodline.

Procedures:

  1. Assess family members who are willing to talk about their jobs in a workshop or panel discussion. This could include the mechanics of the job and their journey to the position.
  2. Solicit questions from family members before the meeting to get everyone thinking and prepared for the session.
  3. Notify family of the objectives of the session and expectations of excellence from all in the family.
  4. Celebrate those family members who have achieved excellence in any area whether on the job or in their education.
  5. Select certain adults to roam through the reunion to answer questions about their profession. They can wear name tags that have jobs or areas of expertise. These individuals can be sought out at the family reunion to tell their story.

This is a brief overview of how we could stress excellence within the family and utilize the talent within to increase our greatness and fulfill our purpose. The self confidence and feeling of collective strength will add to the esteem and image of the entire family.

Family members can models leadership in every interaction with each other. We can intentionally build processes and structure to transfer knowledge. Taking advantage of these interactions will allow us to share our expertise, education and experiences and benefit the group, through living out our purpose.  

Copyright © 2012 Orlando Ceaser

 

2 thoughts on “Family leadership, reunions and knowledge transfer

  1. I truly appreciate this article. Recently I wrote a piece about family accountability and just planned my family’s first official reunion and realized how important it is to have structure and transparency as a family unit.

    Like

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