This week we’re looking at two subjects that have an interesting relationship when it comes to business families. I’m not really sure how to describe their relationship, but maybe we can figure it out together.
Please join me as we look at Values and Co-Creation in the context of families looking to preserve their wealth across generations.
People have been talking about Values in the family wealth space for a long time, and with good reason. The idea of Co-Creation seems to be a more recent manifestation, and I’m really excited about how the two can actually work together.
Let’s get started.
Co-Creating the Families Values
Values, in the end, are usually a very personal matter. It’s not often that any two people will have the exact same “top 5” values, for example. It’s not quite like DNA, but still very much an individual thing.
So what about “family values”, then?
Well, thanks to the DNA metaphor that just popped into my head as I was writing this, we have something we can keep using here, with this analogy.
While no two people’s values will be identical, it’s not uncommon for family members to have a lot of overlap in what’s important to them in terms of values.
Handed Down from the Parents?
In many ways, like DNA, your values are determined, or at least influenced by, your parents. So it shouldn’t be too surprising to realize, when you meet siblings for example, that their values will be similar.
But when you’re trying to find the “common values” of the family, I don’t recommend that they be dictated from on high, from one generation to the next.
That’s where the Co-Creation comes in.
The Process Versus the Result
If you begin with each family member’s individual values, you’ll undoubtedly find some common ground that can act as a foundation upon which you can then build the “family values” that you are looking to discover.
But please resist the temptation to quickly find “the answer”.
The process that the family members go through together, as they explain to the others how they view each of their important values, and why they are important to them, is even more important than the end result.
The discussions, especially in a sibling group, as they share examples of how they have lived their values and how they have seen others live them as well, is so rich with potential that it shouldn’t be ignored.
It’s the entire process of working together, that Co-Creation, that will ensure that when the family adopts their list of key family values, they will actually “stick”.
The Value of Co-Creation
This now brings us to the other view I have stuck in my head around the way that Value(s) and Co-Creation overlap.
We’ve been talking about the Co-Creation of the family’s Values, but I really want to underscore the Value of Co-Creation. This is admittedly a bit of a clunky argument on my part.
As the author of all of my content, as well as the editor, I’ve given myself editorial licence to do this. I hope you’ll continue to indulge me here.
The first message is that family values MUST be co-created.
But the second message is that Co-Creation in and of itself, has a lot of Value, in everything the family does together.
Family Legacy, Family Alignment, Family Governance
All of my favourite subjects in this work revolve around family, and I express them in different ways depending on the context and particular circumstances that any family is living.
But whether I’m talking to a family about the family legacy that they want to leave (and live!), or the family alignment that they may have to work on to get everyone working in the same direction, or the family governance that they’ll need to begin to work on, to hold it all together over the coming generations, the Co-Creation of these is always central to their ultimate success.
So, Yes, please remember that family Values should always be Co-Created by the family members, with a major input from the younger family members, please!
But Yes also to recalling that there is huge Value in the idea of Co-Creation of everything else the family is working on for their long term success.
FOR the Family, BY the Family. But not necessarily by themselves!