A professional practice firm was looking to enhance the “softer” interpersonal skills and awareness of their partners. They had a number of substantial family businesses on their books but felt that they were not servicing this market very effectively. Their technical, management and HR skill-sets were strong but they needed to improve the softer skills required in the all-round family business advisor. They recognised this shortfall meant they were missing out on opportunities to get closer to their clients and they were also losing new assignments to the competition.
We designed and ran a series of training workshops at which we shared our experiences of working with family businesses, briefing our client about the emotional intelligence and judgement required in building up complex advisor–family relationships. We used their individual clients as case studies, helping them to think about the questions they should be asking and to identify some of the challenges they may be facing in the future. We also ran focus groups with their clients and advisors, which we pulled together as client literature, helping the partners to open up conversations with their clients about the issues that really mattered to them.