Business people often have a tendency to concentrate so much on their day-to-day business that they end up losing sight of some pretty important basic matters, like their values. Values form the unconscious base of everything we do, and they impact so many of our regular decisions without us even realizing it.
A business’s values usually reflect those of the owners, executives and leadership. Values are always important, but they’re usually running in the background and aren’t really noticed, until there’s a clash somewhere along the line. Critical time to examine them is when anticipating a change in leadership (management and/or ownership).
A business built on hard work, collaboration and diversity won’t likely do well if the incoming leadership espouses none of those same core principles. People talk about alignment a lot these days, and rightly so. What they don’t always mention is that the alignment of values is really at the base of much of this work.
Family Values vs. Business Values
Now, you may be inclined to believe that business values should guide the business, while family values should just “stay in the family” and should never have an influence on how the business operates.
I would suggest that this type of thinking is not conducive to long-term success. When a family owns and leads a business, then that family’s values are important for the business. There doesn’t necessarily need to be a 100% overlap in family values and business values, but the more overlap the better, and ideally you want as much overlap as possible.
How Do We Get This Right? Lots of consultants who work with businesses have tools and exercises that they use with teams in the business, to help them discover and align around key values for the business.
If your business has already done that, that’s great. But, please don’t stop there. And, please resist the temptation to bring the results of that business values work to a session on the family’s values.
Source: Legler, Steve., June 3, 2017; http://shiftyourfamilybusiness.com/2017/06/03/family-business-values-fit/#.WTU6UeuGPIU