Family values are a statement about the fundamental agreements of a family. This provides a framework, based on agreement, that helps a family set priorities.
Of course, every individual and smaller family unit will have their own values, ideas that determine how they treat people and the impact they want to have on the world. Individual sets of values shape the group’s agreed-upon values, but it’s important for the family as a whole to find the values with which they’re going to measure all their decisions.
Many families want to prioritize the values of inclusiveness, transparency, integrity, stewardship, education, engagement, relationships—the possibilities are endless.
Once you have clearly defined your family values, everything you do moving forward has to speak to all or many of those values. All decisions will be made in alignment with your values. Each decision is evaluated based on how it’s going to help achieve your vision, and how it’s going to help you carry out your values. Your values become a road map.
Values explain our actions as a family. For example, the value of stewardship explains why the family might decide not to gut the business for personal gain. It explains why we might decide not to spend lavishly on ourselves instead of reinvesting in the business for the good of future generations. It may also explain why the family is no longer e-mailing confidential corporate information, and is now implementing a secure portal for all private information.
It’s easier to implement change when you base decisions on something you already agree on–your values.