Todd Smith

Todd Smith


We know that family businesses have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 situation—and the impacts are being felt not only as business owners, but as family members who care for each other and are trying to stay connected in new and purposeful ways. They are trying to navigate an unprecedented environment in ways that keep their family and their business healthy

One way we are finding many family business clients reacting to social isolation is unexpected and wonderful—using circumstances to accelerate governance and engagement work across their generations. In conversations with them, we are finding themes driving this trend.


1. Families are discovering that working on governance and engagement initiatives helps their families focus on something productive and future-oriented, verses getting mired in the daily grind of the COVID-19 news cycle;

2. Families note that heightened awareness of the needs of the individuals sets a positive and safe environment for taking on topics that may have been challenging in the past;

3. Families note that  many of the norms that slowed down development in the past—needing to travel to a specific location, limiting meeting times to working hours, finding babysitters, etc.—have been lifted in this environment, allowing for more creative scheduling and less regimented expectations for “showing up” in a certain way;

4. Families note that planning for the future sets an important  tone that we will survive this period and continue to thrive as both a family and a business, and;

5. Because so many family members are trapped in place, they have time on their hands to focus on facilitated development work!

The expanded use of video conferencing and related technologies has enabled families to connect in new ways, and the desire to connect has been strong. CFAR has deep expertise in structuring and facilitating these conversations and is available for a consult if your family wishes to take advantage of this period to move your model forward.