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Find four hours a month to enrich your family business journey

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

Peter Ivett Forum Group Facilitator, Specialist Accredited Advisor and the 2021 Adviser of the Year

For almost fifteen years as an FBANZ Forum Group Facilitator, I have attended various functions and workshops that bring me into contact with families in business. At these events, the discussion often turns to Forum Groups, and quite often, the response goes something like this “they sound really interesting, and I will give it some thought, but right now, I am not sure I have the time”.

I want to take a moment of your time to share with you through my lens as a Forum Facilitator what you can derive by finding four hours a month over a year to become part of an FBANZ Forum Group. By the way, I come from a family business background, and maybe some of our business outcomes would have been different had Forum Groups been around.

The common connection for Forum Group Members is not business; it is family, business and personal. These three aspects make it complex for families to be in business as these aspects are constantly changing in response to opportunities and challenges in any of these three areas.

I have observed numerous times that despite the love and care of the family, family members in business need genuine connection with peers who understand and are non-judgmental and willing to offer constructive feedback or share, explore, discuss, and develop ideas or options. When people join a Forum Group, they often say to me at the end of their first meeting, “I thought I was alone on this journey; I now realise I am not.”

In the Forum Groups, I have the privilege of facilitating, I see deep relationships and lifelong friendships form because of trust, respect, confidentiality, and diversity. These four factors allow members to have open and candid discussions and sharing of ideas on any family, business, or personal issue. If further knowledge or skill is required, the group can easily access other resources, such as specialists, guest speakers and advisors, to address a particular topic.

Diversity, particularly generational, gender and industry diversity, is valued by groups as it brings perspective. Whether dealing with a simple issue or the complexity of a significant decision, I have observed all three contribute to shared learning resulting in some of the best ideas on how to capitalise on or resolve the issue being the outcome.

In addition, to finding four hours a month, most Forum Groups hold a Retreat annually. Retreats usually occur over two or three days in an informal setting. Apart from allowing the members to really get to know each other, it provides an opportunity to take a “deeper dive” into various issues impacting families and their businesses at the time.

Achieving family, business, and personal goals brings enormous satisfaction, opportunities, and rewards. It also brings complexity and challenges. You can take the journey on your own or find four hours a month to become part of a peer network that will enable and enrich your journey in family business.

Since COVID and flexible working arrangements we have introduced online Forums to ensure everyone can receive the full benefit of Forum Groups.

To begin your Forum journey please contact Olivia Spalding, Forum Group Manager, Australia, and New Zealand. Direct: +61 3 9123 4412 Email:

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