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Biggest Reason for Not Holding Family Meetings

By Amy Schuman


We have met the enemy and it is…the Calendar!


Families that aim to continue into the next generation see all the good reasons to hold family meetings to bring everyone together on a regular basis. However, many can’t make it happen. Why?

Contrary to popular opinion, these problems aren’t the biggest culprits:

  • Setting the agenda: Not a problem. Most families have more topics to cover than they’ll ever find time for. Family fun, business updates, skill building, team building, philanthropy and more offer plenty of topics to choose from!
  • Funding the meeting: Not a problem. Most families are happy to invest in shareholder relations to build a stronger, more unified group.
  • Finding a location: Not a problem. Whether you plan a simple in-town retreat or fly the entire family to an exotic remote location, there are plenty of great venues for family meetings.
  • Fear of family conflict: Not a problem. A well-planned agenda, well-prepared family, skilled meeting facilitator and clear ground rules provides an optimal setting for dealing with inevitable conflict.

The No. 1 reason families don’t meet is the calendar, as everyone is so booked up and busy. Whether it’s sports, camps, horses, arts, volunteering, school, religion, exercise, travel or another of the infinitely worthy commitments that modern families make every minute of every packed day, finding a time to bring everyone together begins to look impossible, and many families give up.


This is truly a challenge, but not insurmountable. Here are some of our best ideas for dealing with the schedule crunch:

  • Pick a regular time to meet and stick to it, whether it’s the first weekend in August, the weekend of the President’s Day holiday, the Friday of Thanksgiving week or something similar.
  • Accept the fact that everyone will not be able to attend every meeting.
  • Make the meeting so much fun, so valuable and so memorable that people will kick themselves for missing it for years to come.

Keep things as straightforward as possible. Choose convenience and simplicity whenever possible. Consider in-town meetings, return to familiar locations or create traditions regarding food, activities and support staff and follow them across the years.


If you find scheduling large meetings nearly impossible, perhaps you will find comfort in knowing you are not alone. And knowing that determination and persistence will bring ultimate success!




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