Leo Tolstoy famously wrote in Anna Karenina that “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. One could paraphrase this by saying that all well-governed families have certain things in common, and poorly governed families always find new ways to mess things up. In any organisation, culture is largely established from the top down. This principle can apply to families organisations, companies, and even countries. However, it relates especially to good family governance because there is a natural hierarchy of power that skews toward the incumbent generation, and attempts by the rising generation to drive cultural disruption can lead to all manner of conflict.
The principles of good family governance
Good family governance helps to create a well-run, trusting family office and encourages responsible and honest behaviour amongst all stakeholders. These principles relate to the idea of stewardship over ownership, healthy communication and the considered use of power.