Extolling Values In Family Firms
19th January 2019 Paul Andrews
At the heart of most family firms is a value set, often created by the founding generation and nurtured and developed by subsequent ones. Let's explore some of them further.
We know that family firms are different from their non-family owned counterparts but wanted to understand more about the real values that they exhibit and that helps differentiate them in the business world in which they operate today.
Family Business United, the award-winning magazine and resource centre for family firms is innovative in its approach to all things family business so used the recent in a regular #FamilyBizChat on twitter to explore the characteristics and values that make family firms different.
As Christian Mancier from Gorvins pointed out, "Family businesses are driven by culture, values, long-termism and a mentality of being a custodian and not necessarily turnover, profit, five year plans or ownership."
Maria Villax from PwC and herself the next generation of a leading family firm in Portugal agreed adding that "resilience, a sense of purpose and a constant drive to do things the right way" are important values within many family firms and "the cherry on the top - a sense of pride in the origins that act as a guide for the next generation too." "The pride that guides future generations is a great thing, but must be consciously cultivated and nurtured as it won't happen by itself," added Steve Legler from Family Legacy Advisers.
Using social media as a collaborative platform affords many the opportunity to showcase what they do with family firms the world over but more importantly the #FamilyBizChat affords family firms an opportunity to share their thoughts too and when it came to values and the characteristics demonstrated we received a great response too.
As Grant Georgiades, the second generation leader of Plan Insurance explained, "It's vital that family businesses show integrity and practice what they preach. Family values are the basis of what we're promoting ourselves on and we have to live by them - not just use them as a sales pitch and leave them when they don't suit our purpose."
Kevin Kelway of Dorcas Media agreed, adding that "Security, family atmosphere, preservation of the family names, vested interests and family relationships are all unique points" that help to define the very nature of what family firms really are.
Stephen 'Paddy' Dyson from HMG Paints who began as a business back in 1930 with two employees and a single product and has grown to become the largest independent paint manufacturer in the UK and is now in the hands of the fourth and fifth generation sums up the underlying essence of values and how important they are to family businesses on a broader scale. "There is a long term passion and focus from family firms that spreads throughout the company to employees. Also, the long term focus in building a legacy is also key in uncertain times."
Maria agrees adding that "the biggest difference between family and non-family firms is the long term view, family businesses aim to be around for the next 100 years and plan for it, while other businesses build their strategy around their quarterly performance."
Grant added, "Family firms have a real passion for what they do which is often rooted in a family firm as ore people working within them have a vested personal interest in its success that goes beyond just picking up a wage. In turn, this pride in what they do and transmits throughout the company's culture."
Joseph Barsby, third generation of funeral directors G. Seller agrees that family values are important on lots of levels. "As a family business the business is representative of you as a family our business is built around caring for people and families in their time of need and to be have family values at the core of who we are is special, to us as a family, and the extended family of our staff who take pride in all they do each and every day.”
Family values abound in businesses the world over - Pride, Passion, Caring, Integrity, Stewardship, Honesty and a general desire to go the extra mile and take the time to do the right thing in the right way are just some of the qualities discussed. But it goes much further than simply words. As we all know actions speak louder than words and those families in business that go the extra mile and actually demonstrate their values in their actions are clearly better placed to maximise these values in what they do on a daily basis.
At FBU we love family business and it is at the core of all we do but we are going to leave it to the words of John Falder, Managing Director of HMG Paints to conclude. "Our values are the core of everything," explains John. "They are the first pillar of what we do and why we do it. Our values of decent, worthwhile, secure, underpin what we are all about. None of them are more important because they work together."
Family businesses are unique.
Family values make them different.
Family values deeply embedded into a business can create a family business that is truly special.