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Being A Good Gift Giver Does Not Happen Naturally

Updated: May 28

Successful business leaders, more than most, should be gift-givers! Being A Good Gift Giver Does Not Happen Naturally It's Christmas. It is the time when we celebrate the gift of Christ to our world. It is a season for generosity. Most of us dream of giving the perfect gifts for Christmas. If you successfully generate a profit to bless others, then gift-giving is part of fulfilling that purpose all year long. If you give an employee a raise, it is a gift. If you provide them with time off, it is a gift. If they are well compensated, it is a gift. Successful business leaders, more than most, should be gift-givers. Generating a profit to bless others is gift-giving. Generating a profit merely to bless yourself is selfish (I should know!). So, how does one determine what is a good gift? Businesses that operate as "gift-givers" over time do not happen naturally. Older and more experienced leaders must train new generations of leadership in the values of being generous. The stories of two family foundations demonstrate this principle of training to be generous. Foundation #1 The Thomas family foundation was funded years ago by a series of three-generational success stories. One family member has controlled it for most of his life. He alone:

  • Makes all investment decisions

  • Decides all grantmaking

  • Makes all institutional decisions

No other family members are ever involved. He gives no thought to succession planning or training in generosity. When this family member dies, the sixty cousins come together to accept the responsibility for continuing the family's generosity. The meeting is a disaster since none of them had ever been involved in the process or trained in the foundation's values. It is a brawl of ideas, a free-for-all that borders on physically throwing punches. The meeting is so steeped in anger and confusion that some family members choose never to be involved in the family's philanthropy again. A number of them are never involved in any family gatherings again. Robert Louis Stevenson said that "Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences." What happened in the Thomas family was to be expected since there was never any planning for successive family members to learn the processes and values of their family philanthropy. Foundation #2 The Thompson Family Foundation is funded by a series of enterprises built by the five generations of the family. Succession planning is a strong value in the Thompson family. Fourth-generation family members fund a “mini-foundation” run by the up-and-coming fifth generation. They act as mentors, helping them to know the family values and processes. Then, they trust them to establish their own mission statement and board of directors. The older ones walk with the younger ones and trust them to make their own decisions about stewardship. The new generation enjoys the framework the family values give The cousins regularly engage each other in constructive conversations around stewardship. They love and enjoy being with one another. When the time is right, they are ready to assume the larger Thompson Family Foundation philanthropy. Training our successors to be generous is not just for foundation leaders; all entrepreneurs should carry this responsibility. Being generous and giving great gifts is not natural. It happens when we, as business leaders, understand and embrace our motivation to make a profit: To bless others and advance our purpose! Blessing others with "good gifts" should motivate profit, and we must train successive leaders in that value. Practicing the value of making a profit to bless others and advance your purpose also requires planning to ensure that it happens in your absence. Who will succeed you when you are gone? Will making a profit to bless others and advance your purpose remain a value in your absence? It will if you plan for it. I have created a free resource for you, "The Seven Pitfalls To Avoid In Succession Planning." You can get it today for free: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD. Harry T. Jones P.S. Get "The Seven Pitfalls To Avoid In Succession Planning," CLICK HERE. P.S.S. I am thinking about the perfect gift in this season of giving. It is given out of love, not obligation, not a “tit-for-tat” gift. It is given by someone who has shown great thought as to who YOU are. It has ultimate lasting value. Who is the gift that exemplifies this?

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