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How Boards Serve Owners Values

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It is essential that owners be clear on the values they want exemplified in the business. These values should be passed on to management and the board. Management forges the values into the business’ culture. The board assures ownership that the values are embraced by management and successfully integrated into every day business conduct. How does the board do this?

  • Boards encourage and review the business’ statement of values.
  • Boards explore if the business’ strategies and goals serve the values or risk the values.
  • Boards ask management for evidence that the values and culture affect everyday business decision-making.
  • Boards discuss with management those occasions where the owners’ values are challenged or compromised for the benefit of learning.
  • Boards work with management to develop techniques (e.g., employee surveys) that provide feedback on culture and values and monitor such over time.
  • Boards participate in informal discussions with ownership and management to assure that all share the same understandings and, as much as possible, the same perceptions.

For a family business, there may be no more important role for a board than to help owners and managers have a full and frequent dialogue over family values and corporate culture.

 

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