February 6th, 2016

Dealing with Uncertainty: Mindset Matters

By Ron Nakamoto

Since several of the people I work with are in the early stages of developing multi-family office practices, I was intrigued by the title of the article below. The author makes two main points: it's good to admit that we can't predict the future very well and that it's good to embrace uncertainty as a reality. But these are general points that certainly aren't limited to family offices. The author's "takeaways" are to network, seek expert advisors, outsource, and be open to new ideas. My initial, unkind response was "duh". But because these conclusions were so self-serving and trite (at least to me), I started pondering what the real the impact of uncertainty might be on a family office.

I think the photo that accompanies this article is an appropriate metaphor for the plight of many family leaders: adrift in a VUCA (volatile, UNCERTAIN, complex, and ambiguous) world, stormy seas ahead, supported only by a boat of paper. I suppose that the underlying message is "good luck", given the circumstances and our general over-reliance on various forms of "paper" (i.e., legal documents, currency, etc.).

Not surprisingly, given the work that I do, it didn't take long for me to come back to Gratitude, True Wealth, and Leadership – The Empowered Wealth Mindset – as organizing principles for a wealth creator, his or her family, and, of course, any family office they may own or be part of. In a VUCA world, mindset and philosophy really matter. In addition, family culture – a family's values expressed through stories, aggregated wisdom, and traditions – matters. I certainly don't want to minimize the fundamentals of family office (or non-family office) implementation and execution: planning, process, structure, and governance. But my "takeaway" is that how uncertainty impacts a family office depends upon the impact uncertainty has on family leaders and key family office personnel. That's why I believe that mindset matters.

How Uncertainty Impacts a Family Office | Family Office Exchange
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