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Family firms often have a unique set of core values that are deeply ingrained in their culture and guide their actions. These values reflect the family's principles, traditions, and long-term vision for the business. They also become entrenched in the underlying DNA of successful family businesses, and whilst they may change over time, they link directly back to the values of the founder and will be driven from that starting point - an entrepreneurial founder who set out on a journey with a dream that has created a sustainable business from their heart, steeped in emotion, determination and drive to succeed, with the baton picked up by subsequent generations too.

The founders indelible stamp will have been made on the founding business which will have evolved but it is likely that many of those values will be embedded into the family firm that they have passed on too.

While the specific core values may vary from one family firm to another, some common inherent values include:

Family Unity: The preservation of family unity and harmony is a central value. Family firms often prioritize maintaining strong family relationships while working together in the business and whilst their may be conflicts and disagreements along the way, many will put family and relationships between family members at the top of their priority list.

Long-Term Perspective: Family firms tend to focus on long-term sustainability and the well-being of future generations. They are often less driven by short-term financial gains and take decisions accordingly.

Legacy and Tradition: The value of preserving and building upon the legacy and traditions of the family and the business is fundamental. Each family was born from an idea, an entrepreneurial spark that grew into a sustainable business. Accordingly, each has a narrative, a history and a source of heritage that has been part of their ongoing journey. Respecting where they have come from whilst focusing on the needs of the business to enable it to be successful going forward is often found deeply rooted in family businesses.

Stewardship: Family firms often view themselves as stewards of the business, with a sense of responsibility to pass it on to the next generation in a better state than they received it. Doing business the right way and being responsible owners is important to many family business leaders too.

Ethical Conduct: Ethical behaviour and integrity are highly emphasized. Maintaining a reputation for honesty and fairness is crucial. Honesty and integrity often top the list of core values when family business owners are asked what values are important to them.

Community Involvement: Many family firms prioritise being actively involved in and giving back to their local communities. It is often intrinsic and becomes part of the way they do business on a daily basis.

Customer and Employee Loyalty: Building strong, long-term relationships with customers and employees is often seen as a key value.

Adaptability: A willingness to adapt and innovate while preserving core values and traditions is essential for success across generations.

Respect for Employees: Family firms tend to value their employees as part of the extended family, showing respect and care for their well-being and investing in their development too.

Innovation: Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, often with a focus on finding new ways to stay competitive and relevant.

Open Communication: Maintaining open and transparent communication, both within the family and with employees and stakeholders, is highly valued.

Community and Social Responsibility: A commitment to social responsibility, which may include philanthropic efforts, sustainability initiatives, and ethical business practices.

Quality and Excellence: A commitment to delivering high-quality products or services and striving for excellence in all aspects of the business.

Collaboration: A culture of collaboration, where family members work together and with non-family employees to achieve common goals.

Independence: Maintaining independence and control over the business's destiny can be a core value for some family firms.

These values often shape the identity of the family firm and influence its strategic decisions, governance structures, and relationships with stakeholders. While family firms are diverse, and each may prioritise certain values over others, these core values are generally deeply ingrained in their DNA and guide their actions over generations.


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