The RSJ Thought Center

A Two-Part Process for Discovering Your Family Business’s Most Important Values

Posted by Tony A. Rose on Aug 23, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Just as you have individual values, so too does a family business. Workplace values define the heart of a company and identify the standards critical to your family business’s success.

By identifying these values, and then using structural capital and social capital to support them, you create a stronger chance of seeing your financial capital thrive.

So how do you find your company’s values?


Gino Wickman, author of Traction, describes his process for finding workplace values.

1. Start by finding the characteristic shared by your top performers.
2. Hire with these characteristics in mind.

Shared Characteristics of Top Performers

Think of the people in your family’s business who are the stars. These are the people you want to clone. In fact, if you could clone these employees, your family business would take over the world.

Once you have identified a handful of these people, write down the characteristics that they display in their work.

You might come up with things like:

▪ Committed to quality
▪ Helps first
▪ Goal-oriented
▪ Enthusiastic
▪ Dependable
▪ Creative
▪ Honesty
▪ Modest
▪ Pays attention to reputation
▪ Does the right thing
▪ Is compassionate
▪ Encourages others
▪ First one to arrive, last one to leave

Some of these values might be position specific: For instance, a person who works with customers might demonstrate the value of helping others first, whereas the bookkeeper might be extremely honest. These values are important, but more important are the shared values.

What are the values your top performers share across the board?

Hire With These Characteristics in Mind
Identifying these values is particularly important in a family business, where family members are often hired and plugged into positions that are not quite right for them. When you intentionally identify the shared values of top performers, you can look for them in the hiring process and stop hiring people unless they also share these values.

If, for instance, all of your peak performers are consistently dependable, committed to quality, and growth-oriented, you will know that you can hire only people—family members or not—who share this profile.

Once you hire an excellent team of people who exhibit these values, they will start to emerge naturally as part of your brand, which will pay off in dividends when it comes to having lasting relationships with your clients.

One other thing: Be sure that your individual values and your workplace values support one another.
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Topics: Business planning, hiring family members, family business

Using the Human Capital Organizational Chart in Family Businesses

Posted by Tony A. Rose on Mar 30, 2016 4:37:52 PM

Any team—and particularly one that has family members working alongside each other—is stronger if each individual person is working within his or her value set, intelligences, and striving instincts. A great way to make sure that you are honoring your family-member-employees, and tasking the right person with the right duties, is through a “Human Capital Organizational Chart.”

A Human Capital Organizational Chart is similar to a traditional organizational chart, but instead of listing the specific abilities required for each job, the Human Capital Organizational Chart lists three other things:

1.What intelligences are required by the employee who holds this job?

All of us have multiple intelligences. You might be intelligent in your ability to read people and communicate with them. Your cousin might be able to hear patterns, manipulate them, and solve physical problems. Either of these intelligences can be equally important when applied to the right setting. And failing to recognize which intelligences a family member has, and which are required of a job, is risky: The family member will likely be placed in the wrong position, feel unseen, and disappoint supervisors.

2. What values are required by the employee who holds this job?

A bookkeeper needs to value honesty. A salesperson should value competition. A customer service representative should value harmony. So long as a person’s values are positive values, they all have a place in the business world, and they are neither right nor wrong.

By identifying values necessary to a job, we not only can place employees in the right positions, we can also help them resolve conflict. Imagine, for instance, the employee who values patience and kindness. This person might be great at managing accounts with difficult clients, particularly if that employee also has an intelligence in interpersonal dynamics. But you might need to take great care with that employee when he or she is faced with an angry client. The employee will likely feel personally traumatized and responsible. An employer who recognizes this will do a better job of managing that person.  

3. What striving instincts are required by the employee who holds this job?

Think of striving instincts as the hard-wiring that determines how a person goes about tackling a problem. What is your first instinct when faced with a task or a goal? You might be a fact finder, meaning you gather and share information. You might arrange and design solutions. Or you jump in, comfortable sorting through the risk and uncertainty. You might need to make models or create something tangible out of the unknown.

Point being: All of us tend to go about solving problems in ways that seem right to us.

Our brains do not operate as efficiently when we are forced to act in ways that do not fit the natural way we get things done. If you like to jump in and get to work, but you are faced with a project that requires heavy research, you will likely be bored and exhausted—you will probably procrastinate.

Knowing the striving instincts required by a job can help prevent workplace burnout. When a person with a certain striving instinct is placed in a position of having to act outside that natural mode of operation for a long period of time, he or she will feel anxious, and his or her supervisors will believe the employee is ineffective.

We, at Rose, Snyder & Jacobs, and at RSJ/Swenson, our HRhuman resources affiliate, RSJ/Swenson are great advocates for the use of the Kolbe Wisdom that helps those identify striving instincts along with their product, RightFit™. Identifying a person’s striving instincts, along with how they fit into a particular job, can a make a huge difference. This and other Kolbe tools can help a family and a company ensure the most effective deployment of your team.

Do the Same for Your Team

Once you have identified the intelligences, values, and striving instincts required by each position, get to know your employees/family members and potential employees.

This might seem like a massive amount of work, so you certainly do not need to conquer this with each family/team member immediately. Start with the family members who seem the least satisfied and effective, and consider that there might be a gap
between the intelligences, values, and striving instincts you need them to exhibit and those that they naturally exhibit.

Of course, we believe that knowing about your family members’ intelligences, values, and striving instincts is an important part of every family meeting.
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Question: What Is a Surefire Way to Jeopardize the Strength of a Relationship in Your Social Capital Network?

Posted by Tony A. Rose on Mar 23, 2016 3:23:17 PM

Answer: Infer a degree of intimacy inappropriate for the relationship.

Read More >

Topics: Tony A. Rose, Social capital in estate planning, #accounting, #wealth, families of wealth


Rose, Snyder & Jacobs LLP is a CPA firm based in Encino, CA that serves private and public companies, business owners and high-net-worth families. Our services include tax, assurance, estate planning, business advisory, and wealth transition consulting. We deliver a long-term perspective and innovative accounting solutions so our clients can focus on their success. Call us at 818.461.0600 for a confidential, no-obligation discussion.
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