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Creating Positive Social Change

Geoff Badger - Dec 14, 2021
Families represent one of the most grassroots and powerful social systems to effect positive change in the world. Facilitating this positive change one family at a time is our core vision at Badger Investment Group ("BIG").
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“The best example of leadership in our culture is the one most often ignored; good parenting.”


—Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline (Reilly, 2017)


This statement aligns closely with my most important personal core value: family. Families represent one of the most grassroots and powerful social systems to effect positive change in the world. Facilitating this positive change one family at a time is our core vision at Badger Investment Group ("BIG").


The main goal of facilitating positive social change in this system is to help families function better as a unit and, in turn, increase their positive influence on the family enterprise system in which they operate. By improving their ability to communicate, aligning family decision-making with shared common values, and actively cultivating leadership to steward their human, intellectual and financial assets, BIG achieves our mission.


The following report is the Associated Knowledge Product offering of my Capstone Engaged Leadership Project ("ELP"). My ELP was centered around our work with family clients facilitating positive social change in the family enterprise system. The main research question of this report was to identify adjustments to help family enterprises engage more effectively in positive social change.


To help analyze this question, two collection methods were used: an anonymous survey and focus groups. The first method included online surveys to kick-off stakeholder engagement and inform the focus group discussions. These surveys identified four main themes: leadership, shared common values, positive social change and new perspectives on family wealth.


The survey results were used to inform the next collection method: appreciative focus groups. The goal of these groups was to unearth recommendations to tackle the challenges, while focusing on the successes and positive experiences of the participants in their family enterprise. These focus groups provided key insights on some of the current gaps and opportunities within the existing leadership strategies in the family enterprise system.


The main themes of the findings were:




  • 87% of survey respondents stated that leadership was either very important or important to their family.
  • Only 35% of respondents stated that their family currently does anything to develop its leadership capabilities actively.


Positive Social Change


  • Only 44% of families actively try to provide opportunities to function better as a group.
  • Only 44% of families have regular family meetings.
  • More than 62% of families stated that they had worked with a consultant/planner to develop their family's Legacy Plan.


Shared Values


  • 91% of respondents stated that commonly held values were either important or very important to them.
  • Only 39% of respondents stated that their family had clearly defined and memorialized commonly held values.
  • 45% of respondents listed family as their most important value.


Family Wealth


  • Almost 70% of survey respondents ranked their family's human capital as their most important asset, with the next closest being real estate and the family business both at only 4% of respondents.


While this research revealed that most family members believe that leadership and its development, along with values-based decision making, are very important for their family, proactively cultivating both are not reflective of their current leadership habits and practices.

The results gained from the data resulted in three main conclusions:


  1. Despite listing leadership as very important, families are not currently doing enough to function better as a group or develop their members' leadership abilities.
  2. While families list common values as very important, they are not always formalized and codified to align with decision-making.
  3. While families rank human capital as one of their most valuable assets, this capital is not being formally managed and cultivated in the same manner as financial assets.


From these conclusions, three recommendations were developed as follows:


  1. Investing in leadership development may help create a shared vision and support those not in formal leadership roles to influence family engagement and decisions.
  2. Helping families codify values and design a decision-making process that aligns with their decisions would advance their ability to affect positive social change.
  3. Helping families redefine their definition of family wealth and prioritizing the development and growth of human capital is the most efficient way to effect positive social change.


BIG provides a thriving family enterprise consultancy operating throughout Western Canada. The mission is to make the world a better place by helping families operate with a higher degree of function by aligning their decision-making process closely to core values. This research, its conclusion, and its recommendations have helped develop suggestions to more effectively encourage families to change their current leadership culture, allowing family members not considered to be part of the family's formal leadership positions to be empowered to assume leadership roles.


As I continue to work together with my ELP partner in our day-to-day process, armed with the results of this research, the next steps in improving our process for clients have become clear. There is more work to do; and I am optimistic that we will find a better way to impact the family enterprise system positively. I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate with all stakeholders over the coming months and years.


CANACCORD GENUITY WEALTH MANAGEMENT IS A DIVISION OF CANACCORD GENUITY CORP., MEMBER-CANADIAN INVESTOR PROTECTION FUND AND THE INVESTMENT INDUSTRY REGULATORY ORGANIZATION OF CANADA This document is for general information only, not intended to provide tax, legal or financial advice, and under no circumstances should be interpreted as a solicitation to act as a securities broker or dealer in any jurisdiction. All views are intended for general circulation only and do not have any regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation or general needs of any particular person, organization or institution. All investors should consult with a qualified investment advisor or tax professional before making any investment decisions. Tax & Estate advice offered through Canaccord Genuity Wealth and Estate Planning Services.