Three Things I Learned from 'Translating Family Values'

Nov 03, 2022

Three Things I Learned from 'Translating Family Values'

By Dan Beenken

I love the honesty and passion our panel speakers continue to bring to the Virtual Breakfast Series. And it isn’t just them ­– our members are always willing to share and that makes for an amazing program. It also makes writing my “3 Things I Learned” so easy to put together.

Our session last week was on Translating Family Values into the Family Business. How do you identify and then put your values into action? How do you make them more than words on the wall of your lobby? How do you use them as a rallying point for your family – especially as you grow?

Without further ado, my top three takeaways:

  1. Values Through Stories
    Paul Darley, President and CEO of W.S. Darley, was one of our guests for this session. One way their family remembers and honors their values is through the sharing and recording of stories. To paraphrase Darley, it’s so much easier and more effective to use example storytelling of ways we have practiced our values throughout time. We remember these stories and can quickly relate them to new situations and how we want to handle them. New generations of the family are able to get a much better grasp of just how a value is “lived” within our family and company. That’s great stuff right there.
  2. Celebrate Your Values
    Katie Rucker, Co-President of MacKenzie Corp, was our other panelist and really encouraged our members to celebrate and recognize their values in action. They do that through a variety of strategies. A couple she mentioned were taking the time to read them out loud at company events – taking care to have employees share in this exercise as well. But another one that I thought was really cool was doing spotlights of family and employees practicing these values in their work.
  3. Deal with the Smelly Moose!
    This one came from Mr. Darley and sticks in my mind just because of the image it created for me. The Smelly Moose is of course a metaphor for those big issues/conflicts that come up between family members. The longer you let them fester, the smellier they become. Ignoring them works for today, but it's still there tomorrow and often just gets worse. We can use our Values as a guide to navigate these “smelly mooses” and move on from them.