In a business family enterprise, the family, the owners and the members of the operational business could potentially benefit from governance in different ways.
Overall, governance structures are intended to provide each member of each group with an opportunity to express their voice, and subsequently increase communication between all members.
While governance does not guarantee each member a formal vote in the affairs of the business, they create a mechanism in which everyone is able to participate in some way.
It is intended to create more inclusivity within each group of the family business system, to select or elect representatives or spokespeople for each group, to facilitate the process of decision-making, and to create paths toward long-term success.
Governance is intended to create avenues to increase trust and respect between its members, to help plan strategically for the future, and to ensure the long-term success of an organization.
Successful and effective governance can have a huge impact on the long-term identity, direction, motives and commitment of the family members, owners and business representatives in the family business system.
Without governance, a family business system can be fraught with problems, including concentrated decision-making to the exclusion of relevant parties, miscommunication or lack of communication between members, a risk of being overrun by emotion or problematic family dynamics, and a host of other problems that could result in failure of the operating business and/or the entire family enterprise.
"Good governance creates the structure and discipline to ensure the right people are given the right information to make the right decision," says Ruth Steverlynck, principal of RES Consulting Group Inc.
"Without governance there is a risk that confusion reins, creating the potential for conflicts, misunderstandings and ultimately poor decision-making. As a family enterprise moves from a unilateral decision making system (the owner-founder) to a more complex decision making body (siblings and/or cousins), a proper structure supported by good process, such as good governance, becomes increasingly important."
- Read the full White Paper at http: // www.sauder.ubc.ca/Programs/Business_ Families_Centre/Resources/White_Paper_ Series.