The Happiness Factor: Exploring the Intersection of Family and Business Well-Being

In this episode of “Legacy Builders,” Cory Gagnon navigates the intricacies of family and business well-being while unraveling the enigmatic “happiness factor.” Happiness emerges as a pivotal component in the prosperity of family enterprises. It is shown that a content family, in which individuals find happiness, operates with enhanced effectiveness and communication, fostering commitment to both the business and one another. Notably, happiness also acts as a magnet for cultivating a positive company culture and attracting high-caliber employees and customers.

Illustrating these principles, the episode recounts the journey of the Trudel family, who manage an organic farm and transform their business dynamics by addressing concerns and implementing systems that promote recognition and connection. The episode emphasizes the significance of shared visions, formal governance structures, role clarity, and robust succession planning in balancing the intertwined needs of family and business. This insightful discussion underscores the indispensable role of happiness in family enterprises and offers strategies to harmonize familial relationships and mitigate the repercussions of ineffective family dynamics.

Resources discussed in this episode:

Contact Cory Gagnon | Beacon Family Office at Assante Financial Management Ltd. 

Welcome to Legacy Builders: Strategies for Building Successful Family Enterprises. I’m your host, Cory Gagnon, and in this show, we explore different ways to take control of your wealth while building a lasting legacy. Together, we’ll cover global ideas, concepts, and models that help family enterprises to better navigate the complexities of family wealth. This podcast is brought to you by Beacon Family Office at Assante Financial Management Limited.  If you find today’s episode helpful, feel free to share, and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Now let’s dive in!

In today’s episode, we delve into the family and business well-being and how it’s intertwined with something called the “happiness factor.” In this podcast, we’ll explore how family activities, entertainment, and experiences from other cultures can contribute to overall business success and satisfaction. 

We’ll also discuss strategies for balancing family needs and wants with the needs of business sustainability and creating fair transitions across generations.

“Happiness is being content with what you have, living in freedom and liberty, having a good family life and good friends.” – Divyanka Tripathi

What is Happiness?

Happiness is a subjective experience that is difficult to define. It generally refers to a positive emotional state characterized by feelings of pleasure, contentment, and satisfaction. Happiness is often associated with a sense of well-being, meaning, or purpose in life.

There are various factors that contribute to happiness such as life experience, social relationships, and culture. Researchers have identified several keys to happiness, including building strong relationships, practicing gratitude and positive thinking, engaging in meaningful activities, and cultivating a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

Now, how does happiness contribute to family cohesion in a family enterprise? Why should a family organization care about happiness?

Happiness is an important factor in a family enterprise because it contributes to family, motivation, and overall success. When individuals within a family enterprise are happy, they are likely to work together more effectively, communicate better, and have a greater sense of commitment to the business and to each other. Additionally, happiness can contribute to a positive company culture, which can help attract and retain quality employees and customers.

Psychiatrists also mention that family firms that are focused on doing good and contributing to society are more likely to generate a sense of pride among family members, further increasing their satisfaction and happiness. Happiness is not only important for individual and family well-being, but it can also serve as a key driver of business success and longevity.

There is so much potential in a family enterprise to attain happiness, precisely because of the unique relationships and shared experiences that exist within such businesses. Family members often share a common history, culture, and set of values, which can provide a strong foundation for building meaningful relationships and a sense of shared purpose.

One inspiring example of how people can attain happiness in a family enterprise comes from the story of the Trudel family. The Trudel family has been running a small, organic farm in rural California for the past few years. Despite facing various challenges, the family has managed to grow the business steadily through careful planning and hard work. 

However, recently some family members have expressed concerns about the lack of cohesion and communication within the enterprise. They worry that individual efforts are not being recognized or appreciated and that there is a general sense of disconnection between family members.

To address these concerns and strengthen family relationships, the Trudel family decides to hold a retreat at their farm. During this retreat, they discuss their individual passions, interests, and strengths and explore new ways to work together more effectively as a team. 

They decided to implement a new system for recognizing and rewarding individual contributions, which helps to increase motivation and a sense of ownership among family members. They also agreed to allocate part of their profits to support local community programs, which deepens their sense of purpose and connection to the wider community.

These changes help transform the family enterprise, leading to greater cooperation, communication, and overall happiness among family members. They realize that by working together towards a shared vision and mission, they can achieve greater success and fulfillment than they ever could as individuals.

So why tell you about the Trudels?  Well, this scenario illustrates the importance of addressing and overcoming challenges within a family enterprise. By organizing a retreat and engaging in open and honest discussions about their individual passions, strengths, and goals, they were able to forge stronger working relationships and collaborate more effectively as a great family enterprise. 

These all tie into balancing family needs and wants with the needs of business sustainability and creating fair transitions across generations.

So what are some common challenges that family businesses face when balancing family dynamics with business needs, and how can they be managed effectively?

Some common challenges faced when balancing family dynamics with business needs include governance, establishing clear roles and responsibilities, succession planning, and high-trust relationships. These challenges can be managed effectively by four key things:

One: creating a shared sense of purpose and vision for the business

Two: developing a formal governance structure,

Three: clarifying roles and responsibilities for each individual, and

Four: adopting – and then executing on – an effective succession plan.

 Let’s talk about point one – a shared purpose and vision – a bit more as clients often ask me how they can develop these as a family.?

I once read a book titled: Perpetuating the Family Business by John L. Ward and he says that adopting common values and creating a family mission statement can foster a shared sense of purpose and vision, as it helps family members working in the business understand the organization’s core values and beliefs. This fosters a sense of common identity and shared goals, which can help family members work together more effectively towards well-defined objectives. 

When everyone in the family business shares a common set of values and understands the family mission statement, they are more likely to work together towards the same goals and support each other in their respective roles and responsibilities.

What I tell my clients is that it’s not just about adopting values and creating a mission statement that’s important. Rather, it’s about the consistency and adherence to these values and beliefs that are critical. When everyone in the family business shares a common set of values, it becomes easier to make decisions and manage conflicts. 

They can also guide family members on their decisions and actions within and outside of the business, and demonstrate their commitment to each other and the organization’s goals. Ultimately, adopting common values and a mission statement in family businesses can help foster a strong sense of shared purpose and vision, which is vital for long-term success.

Now let’s answer what some of the consequences of ineffective family dynamics in a family enterprise are.

What I think is interesting about what we’ve talked about up to this point is the focus on the social relationships between family members. Interestingly enough, according to a study called “Very Happy People,” the happiest 10% of individuals were distinguished by only one characteristic.  That characteristic was the strength of their social relationships. 

So, it’s no wonder that family enterprises that prioritize the larger happiness of the individuals within the company, the more capable they are of navigating traditionally harder topics, such as governance structure, responsibilities, and expectations.

To support you in learning how to further bond and strengthen those familial ties, I would like to recommend reading “Family Bonding Improves Family Business Success” by David Bork. The article discusses the importance of social relationships in family businesses as well as personal satisfaction. The author cites various studies that demonstrate the impact of bonding and physical touch on the brain, which leads to the hormone oxytocin being produced. Oxytocin is responsible for creating a sense of intimacy, trust, and love. The article also highlights how social investment in family businesses can lead to long-term success, emphasizing the importance of positive family relationships and how they can positively impact work relationships.

And if you’d like to watch something related to the topic on Amazon Prime, I suggest the show Riches. It’s a British drama, and it’s about a man named Stephen who builds a cosmetics empire from the ground up. The business is praised not only for its success but also for its success as a black-owned business. However, as with many of the other shows of this ilk, Stephen falls ill, leaving his family to take over. The real interesting tidbit: Stephen has children from two marriages, and each of them believes they deserve to take over.

In this episode, we discussed the importance of happiness and well-being in family enterprises and how they contribute to family cohesion, motivation, and overall success. I shared scenarios of how family businesses can develop a shared sense of purpose and vision and manage family dynamics effectively. We also briefly covered the consequences of ineffective family dynamics, including conflicts between family members, a lack of direction or purpose for the business, and potential disruptions to the business succession process. 

Thank you for joining me for another episode of Legacy Builders. I’m Cory Gagnon, your host, and if you enjoyed today’s episode, you can subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your preferred podcast platform. If you would like to help support this show, you can do so by leaving a rating and review. Until next time.

Legacy Builders: Strategies for Building Successful Family Enterprises is brought to you by the Beacon Family Office at Assante. Are you worried about losing what you have created and seeking ways to transition your wealth across generations? Beacon Family Office at Assante supports our clients in transitioning their wealth while maintaining relationships. If you would like to access more content we have created, you can visit us at for more details on our services and to book an initial call.

Thanks again for listening, and until our next episode stay intentional about building your legacy. 

This program was prepared by Cory Gagnon who is a Senior Wealth Advisor with Beacon Family Office at Assante Financial Management limited. This is not an official program of Assante Financial Management and the statements and opinions expressed during this podcast are not necessarily those of Assante Financial Management. This show is intended for general information only and may not apply to all listeners or investors; please obtain professional financial advice or contact us at [email protected] or visit to discuss your particular circumstances prior to acting on the information presented

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