Rethinking ‘Family’ Culture in Business: Fostering Performance and Success

Rethinking ‘Family’ Culture in Business: Fostering Performance and Success

How to Create a High-Performance Culture While Maintaining Family Values

Introduction: The Importance of Company Culture

I strongly believe that company culture is essential to a business’s success. It shapes your identity, attracts employees, and influences behavior. Jim Collins famously stated that the most important thing is “Who is on the Bus.” However, many clients and business owners I talk to claim they have a “Family” culture within their organizations. This response often raises a red flag for me, as it may indicate potential organizational performance issues.

Understanding the ‘Family’ Culture

What does a “Family” culture really mean? At first glance, it may seem like the organization provides a nurturing and supportive environment for its employees. However, the reality is often different, with conflicts arising and employees falling into roles similar to those in a dysfunctional family.

Typical ‘Family’ Roles in Organizations

Some common dysfunctional roles found in organizations with a “Family” culture include the matriarch/patriarch, favored child, second-class child, drunk uncle, bitter sibling, and outcast. These roles can hinder the performance and success of the organization.

Why ‘Family’ Culture Can Be Problematic

Employees often leave organizations due to losing respect for their supervisors. This loss of respect is commonly attributed to the supervisors’ tolerance of “B” and “C” performers. High-performing employees want to be surrounded by other top performers, but in a “Family” culture, poor performance is tolerated, driving away the most talented workers.

Creating a Performance-Oriented Culture

To foster a culture that values performance, organizations should avoid claiming a “Family” culture. Instead, they should focus on specific family values they want to emphasize, such as nurturing, development, or training.

Success Factors for Family Businesses

Successful family businesses often have clear rules for family members who wish to join the company. These rules may include working elsewhere before joining, applying for open positions, possessing the necessary qualifications, being interviewed and selected by non-family members, reporting to non-family members, and understanding that they can be fired for non-performance.

Conclusion: Emphasizing Performance and Values

If you want to create a high-performance culture in your organization, avoid relying on the concept of a “Family” culture. Instead, focus on the specific aspects of family values you want to emphasize and incorporate them into your company culture.

Copyright (c) 2021, Marc A Borrelli


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