From my experience, I can see that it all depends on the level of commitment of the members of a family for a shared future. And, of course, a good dose of respect for each other (the key that opens all problems with communication).
I’m still impressed by the magic of many families in their first meeting as a working group. Some times, as a consultant, you only need to sit and wait: instinctively they find their way to improve their communication and their openness to dialog as they never did before: it’s only that they never had the opportunity to do it in an organized meeting.
Other times your work is harder, and you really need all of your professional skills to cope with odds. But I think that, in general, family meetings work as long as you know the limitations of the family and your role as someone who can help them to deal with themselves.
Family meetings are one of the most powerful tools available to the management of a family business to strengthen both, family and business.
In addition, family meetings can be the best time to promote family values to the next generation: a sense of responsibility, respect, fairness, loyalty, professionalism, faith, and many others who find a golden moment in these boards. The chosen criteria for these events will allow business management to evolve, as many people are affected by the performance of the firm.