Family Meetings and Succession Planning

I am presenting today at a conference in Santaquin, Utah put on by Utah State University for farmers regarding succession planning. Today’s session was devoted mainly to how to better communicate.Given that many will have family home for the holidays, I thought it might be nice to think about the timing of that family meeting. I generally discourage my clients from having meetings at home over the holidays. During the holidays, we tend to have a lot of distractions, we tend to be deeply entrenched in our family roles, and we tend to have people around that may not be helpful in furthering the conversation.One constant in a successful farm and ranch succession plan (or any family business for that matter) is the family meeting because succession planning is about bringing together the goals of multiple individuals. The family meeting (or meetings) becomes a forum to listen to the ideas and concerns of all the relevant parties and then put in motion a plan that will allow for the farm or ranch to successfully transition to the next generation.Part of being successful is having that meeting at the right time and place. So have a Merry Christmas and save the family meeting until after the new year.