What is your Family Owned BusinessCode, Ethos or culture?
Ethos is a Greek word meaning “character” that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. Culture is comprised of many different elements that have been passed down for generations, including knowledge, belief systems, experiences, values, attitudes, religion, art, ideas, laws, morals, customs and ways of perceiving the world.
Some aspects of culture are visible, such as the way people dress or the food that they eat, while other elements of culture are invisible, such as the importance of religion, beliefs surrounding the role of family in a society, or the way people think and feel about certain issues.
Consider these rules and ask yourself if they fit your culture:
➤ Treat family members like they are special that other employees. For example: insist all employees report to work on time, but let family members arrive late.
➤ Make no differentiation between “personal” and “business” expenses. Make sure your employees know how much you’re charging to the business and why they won’t get that rise this year.
➤ Letting poor performers slide.
➤ Permit every family member into the business, especially the oldest male heir-give them a good office, no goals and title.
But seriously folks, culture in a Family Business does and is many things:
➤ Cradle the beliefs and values
➤ Polices strategy, behavior and practices
➤ Owns organizational development, operational improvement and talent management.
The Family Owned Business and the Leaders primary job is to install the culture, values and weave them into every project, mission. Some family businesses have a process to introduce and establish the culture for new employees.
The process for installing the culture begins before an employee’s first day on the job. It starts with the Family Business Leader and their commitment. Then hiring the right people; you should try to find people who are interested in the same things you are. You don’t want to be simply a stepping stone on an employee’s journey toward his or her own (very different) passion. Asking the right questions is key: What do you love about your chosen career? What inspires you? What courses in school did you dread? You want to get a sense of what the potential employee believes.
Leaders need to be committed because the culture needs to be nurtured with communication. The Family Owned Business owner cannot show up on opening day, Christmas Party, company picnic and believe they are installing a culture of success. We note with some owners we have observed this schedule maybe too frequent.
The company’s culture is like a garden. There needs to be a plan and commitment by the Leader. Proper selection, hiring the right people and regular communication is critical.
Finally you need to weed. Every garden has them: those unwanted plants that freeload off of the care you’re giving your plants, and often grow even bigger and crazier than the plants you are constantly nurturing. Weeds suck up the water and fertilizer meant for other plants, they block out sunlight when they get too big, and their roots can choke and kill the roots of your intentional garden. Keeping your garden weeded is just as important as keeping it fed and watered.