Cultivating Gifts in the Generous Family Business

By Lance Woodbury on September 1, 2015

Several years ago I gave the book The Ultimate Gift to my co-workers (it is also a heartwarming movie). The story is about a young man, drifting through life, who all at once becomes a potential heir to his grandfather’s vast fortune. The catch? He won’t inherit the money unless he comes to appreciate a number of gifts. And that “appreciation” comes through a number of experiences that test his character and commitment.

All of the gifts he experiences apply directly to members in a family business or to beneficiaries of family wealth. Those gifts are: the gift of work, the gift of money, the gift of love, the gift of friends, the gift of laughter, the gift of giving, the gift of family, the gift of problems, the gift of learning, the gift of dreams, the gift of gratitude, and the gift of a day. I’ll leave it to you to discover the “ultimate” gift.

None of the gifts require significant financial resources, yet they each have a profound influence on one’s character. For example, how you handle the gift of a problem can result in either resilience or despair. Recognizing the gift of dreams can lead you to great achievements. Realizing the gift of a day fosters appreciation for each moment you have with your friends and family and the beauty of your surroundings (harvest anyone?). I encourage you to reflect on how each of the gifts mentioned here has shaped – or should shape – your family and your business.