But not just the triumphant ones. Understanding why the family came to face difficult challenges and what sacrifices were made or not made to overcome them can provide guideposts to help future generations avoid temptations to compromise on their values for short-term gains.
Steve Shifman, CEO of Michelman, a developer of environmentally-friendly materials for industry, struggled to balance maintaining qualities that made his third-generation family business special and the need to remain competitive when he first took over the business in We are driven by purpose and values, not just by markets. I realized there was something magical about that. Often as family businesses grow, they build boards with outside professionals. Usually those external professionals assume that total shareholder return is the ultimate goal — and advocate choices consistent with that goal.
But those choices may also be inconsistent with family values. You start defining yourself and your family through money. People who know the Pasin family know they stand by their word. It is defined by the many handshake agreements honored throughout their history. Sometimes, however, family business owners start defining themselves through their money and fame, lending their name to buildings, parks, and other public areas.
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There can be lots of good civic reasons to support local causes, but if the underlying motivation is about showing off your money, the family has started down a slippery slope. When the need for outsider adulation dominates decisions, those outsiders start defining your values, rather than your own family. Profit becomes your primary motive. Academics and thought-leaders have been telling us for years that the purpose of a corporation is to maximize shareholder value.
That may be true for public companies, but family businesses are free to be different. They have an advantage in that the owners can choose what to prioritize — be it profit, family harmony, social responsibility, or some other dimension.
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When family businesses choose to over-emphasize profit to the detriment of their customers or the communities within which they live, they can find themselves heading down the wrong path. But those that can clearly articulate their motives beyond profit can help reinforce values and strengthen family harmony.
At one family with whom we worked, the owners chose to run one of its businesses at a loss because it provided careers for family members and a much-needed public service to the community. Will consumers know? Brewer 1 episode, Kareem J. Marlon 1 episode, Tyler Abron Lisa 1 episode, Suzette James Nichole 1 episode, Cynthia San Luis Jasmine Lee 1 episode, JT Alexander Bartender 1 episode, William Guirola Intruder 1 episode, Damon Hoffman Bodyguard 1 episode, Dominic Michael Frankie 1 episode, Orlando Naveo Raul 1 episode, Derek Ocampo Gambler 1 episode, Marcus Ray Young Man 1 episode, Derrick Simmons Junkyard Dan 1 episode, Angele Taylor Cop 1 episode, Harold Lefty Williams Driver 1 1 episode, Shannon Wallace Travis 1 episode, Sophia Easley Peaches 1 episode Cecil Elmore Jr.
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