Date posted: March 4, 2016

With the year in full swing, our calendar of social networking and professional development events are well underway including three Meet the Owner opportunities held in February: Ullrich Aluminium in Queensland, Leaf Bean Machine in Perth, Classic Timber Furniture in Adelaide and recently, AH Beard in New South Wales.

Those on the ground said these were interactive and insightful events, demonstrating the benefits of engaging with other successful family businesses, hearing their stories and learning a thing or two about how they have achieved their goals.

On 12th February we held our Forum Group Facilitator Day which was an opportunity to engage with all the Facilitators from across the country for professional development, and to plan the year ahead. I am told the power of the forum group program often needs to be experienced to be understood, as it is the supportive and collaborative environment that creates the real value for those involved.

In this way, participants have described their forum group as a ‘professional and personal sounding board’ – the program provides those involved with a confidential platform to discuss and address the issues and opportunities they face in their family businesses among other family business leaders who have the experience to provide valuable feedback. Some have gone so far to say they’ve been to each other’s weddings, the friendships made have been so strong!

In speaking to one forum group facilitator I made the suggestion that the groups would likely discuss 70% business matters and 30% family matters, however I was enlightened to the fact the content of that particular Facilitator’s meetings are generally the reverse, 30% business matters and 70% family matters.

Due to the dynamic nature of family businesses and the participants involved in the program each group will be unique in the structure of the discussions, however a strong focus on family matters is apparently quite common. My misunderstanding here highlights the confidential nature of the program, in that neither the groups nor the Facilitators ever discuss the content of the meetings and the meetings are closed to those not directly involved in the program. Confidentiality is a key platform of the program.

If you have been thinking about joining a Forum Group, but are still making the decision your State Manager or Anne-Marie McNally, our Product Manager would be more than happy to have a conversation with you. Through a confidential process, you can let us know what you are looking for from a forum group and what you feel you could contribute. We then arrange a meeting between you and a forum facilitator, to further explore what you want to get out of the group, and to start to determine if there might be a fit.

Then you have the opportunity to meet with the group and decide whether you feel there is a good fit, and what you think you might gain from working with the other group members. Up until this point, there is absolutely no obligation to join.

Alternatively, we will be holding a series of Forum Group Information Sessions in the upcoming months so you can hear from current participants about the benefit of the forum group program and learn more about how the program could benefit you.

If you have any questions, or matters you’d like to discuss, please be in contact.

Robin Buckham
Family Business Australia