Family Values vs. Business Values

This week’s Monday Morning Memo from the Wizard of Ads, Roy H. Williams.

Since most arguments result from a lack of definition of terms, let me define for you what I mean by “family values versus business values”: Unconditional acceptance and equality are family values. Performance-based acceptance and chain-of-command are business values.

Build a business on family values and you’ll have extremely happy employees right up until the day you go broke, (then you can all give each other a big hug in the parking lot as your creditors carry off your furniture.) Tomorrow, you’ll go to work for some heartless bastard whose acceptance of you will be based purely on your performance. (And be sure to let me know how that “we’re all equal here” speech goes over with your new boss.)

Conversely, introduce business values (performance-based acceptance) into a family and you’re guaranteed to have hugely dysfunctional relationships. Just ask anyone whose mother or father ‘loved them more’ when they made A’s on their report cards.

Follow the link to read the rest of Roy’s memo: Wizard Academy – Monday Morning Memo

3 thoughts on “Family Values vs. Business Values

  1. Tammi

    One of my favorite topics. Thanks for bringing it up. 🙂

    I have always been taught that people buy from people. Relationship selling has always been my strength. HOWEVER – I also keep friendships and business seperate. I’ve lost accounts with some of my best friends. Because someone else brought in a better deal at a better price. I didn’t lose those friends – just the business.

    Good bad indifferent, business is tied to relationships. The most successful business is run based on performance. Relationships should be an added bonus.

  2. David Young

    Thanks for stopping by Tammi.
    When you say the most successful business is tied to performance, I’d have to differ with you based on our own individual definitions of success.
    The critical question we ask all of our clients is “How will you measure success?”
    Not everyone measures it in the cash drawer at the end of the day.
    So, some of the most successful businesses are not necessarily top performing ($$$) businesses because the owner of the business measures success by a different standard such as relationships.

  3. Neil

    Most non family businesses and family businesses fail eventually because they do not have sincerity of purpose to help customers do what they do. You also have a responsibility to be productive and make a profit so you can keep doing it. This is very understandable. Accoutnability and responsibility are good values that everyone should be taught in any business, family or otherwise. Some family businesses are run like dysfunctional families that forgive non performance under the guise of lobing them to death. But that’s what you do when you overlook performance deficiencies. Performance deficiencies, when unattended are examples of lack of responsibility to the goal of serving customers and being responsible to you teammates and your employer. They should go uncoreected and if they persist, a fmaily business should ahve even greater disdain for theose that don’t perform. In fact, it is downright irresponsible to let a family member, especially a young one, get away with slacking off or deliberately acting poorly in a business. You are not doing your job as a parent if you don’t teach good values in the home and in the business both.


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