that 2020 is behind us, how can we be more deliberate and intentional
with our time as a family? Here are five resolutions you can make to
help your family thrive in the new year.
1. Reconfirm family values.
We learned a lot about each other and ourselves over the past year as
we adjusted to virtual interactions and had challenging conversations
about race, politics and the pandemic. Take this as an opportunity to
have an open discussion about what values represent the family and/or
family business and how you can continue to live these values in 2021.
One way to memorialize this conversation is in the form of a mission
2. Celebrate milestones and achievements.
Acknowledging successes can motivate family members to stay focused on
achieving their goals. What did each family member do well in 2020? How
can we celebrate and encourage family in the new year? Whether it is a
surprise note in the mail or on the fridge, continue the positive
messages throughout the year and celebrate each family member’s unique
contributions, large and small.
3. Organize, then communicate, important plans and roles.
If you don’t know where your power of attorney, healthcare documents,
will and trust are located, or what they say, it will be nearly
impossible for family members who you name in important roles to carry
out your wishes. Take time to organize your important documents in an
electronic file or hard copy folder. Once you are organized, store the
information in a secure location and let a few trusted family members
and advisors know where the documents are and, more importantly, what
the documents say and who is charged with carrying out important roles
like trustee or healthcare agent. As long as the documents are in a
secure location, don’t get too cute with the name – labeling the file
“Important Papers” is helpful and encouraged!
4. Continue meaningful family interactions.
All of us spent more time doing something we didn’t expect in 2020; for
me, it was spending more time outdoors and going on walks with family,
which led to spontaneous check-ins and meaningful conversation. What
activities can we take from last year that served us well? If
spontaneous interactions are less likely going forward, commit to
purposeful checking in. We sometimes forget to ask the most simple
question: How are you doing? Or, what can I do to make us closer?
5. Give together. Time and again, research shows that giving back leads to more positive outlooks and outcomes for just about everyone. Volunteering together is a way to continue connecting as a family while also doing good for the broader community. What are the causes that align with the family values and matter most to you? Consider nominating a family member to lead these conversations each year, and then pass the baton to a successor family member over the holidays. Giving together of your time, talent or treasure can be extremely rewarding for your family.