Q/A: When SFO Mission Statements Do More Than Collect Dust
A Q&A with James Hughes & Barbara Hauser on SFO Mission Statements
Q: How common is it for wealth families (or their SFOs) to have Mission Statements?
Q: In fact, many people confuse SFO Mission Statements with Vision Statements, Values and Family Constitution – how do you distinguish between them, and which are most important to have – under which circumstances?
Q: What usually motivates those who have SFO Mission Statements to create them?
Q: What are some ways a Mission Statement can help a family?
Q: What kind of process do families most often go through to create them
– do they need a template in a book or online? Does the patriarch or matriarch draft alone and hand it to the family? Does the family work with a consultant to develop one together? what works best for whom?
Q: What are some interesting ways the family might be included in developing a Mission Statement and to help create genuine buy-in?
Q: Do most families just put SFO Mission Statements away and let them collect dust? How can they best use them – to help inform decisions, etc.?
Robles: How common is it for wealth families (or their SFOs) to have Mission Statements?
Hughes: Now a-days it’s fairly common. People have been doing these for long enough in the eld. Consultants who come out of corporate America coaching like to try to bring for-pro t ideas that work in the for-pro t sector to families. There are many, many consultants from that side who produce these, who would like families as clients.
They develop tools like Mission Statements for organizations that have a common purpose—profit—and try to carry that over to families. But families do
not have a common purpose. Families are groups of individuals—by choice or origin—who have individual purposes, and who may be able to bond a common purpose.
From the family office’s standpoint, they’d like to have the family develop a SFO Mission Statement as evidence of what their tasks are going to be. But if the family has no experience working together, it won’t be very useful.
This is quite a question in our eld. It’s bedeviling some of us.