Family Mission Statement

Move your family
from chaos to order

family mission statement

The family mission statement is closely related to the company mission statement. Many of you are familiar with company mission statements: a few words to several paragraphs that set the philosophical basis and direction of the organization. And many of you know how important we consider the company mission statement is for your family business.

Don Schwerzler has been studying and advising family business entrepreneurs for more than 40 years. He is the founder of the Family Business Institute , the first multi-disciplined, full-service resource for families in business together.

According to Schwerzler, "One of the most common factors we see in our family business consulting is the need to identify the basis of the family and business interaction, or as we describe it: Are you a family-first-business or a business-first family?"

We strongly recommend and advise that a family adopt a mission statement - and that this step be done before creating the mission statement for the family's business.

The reason for this is what we call the "duelism dynamic" that we have identified as a critical element of our succession planning process succession management process . What we are suggesting is that the planning process for the family should be driving the planning process for the family business. The family mission statement is a great place to begin the process!

These days, families are caught up in the drive for success and for the family's business accomplishment. Parents try to balance demanding careers, children's activities, social obligations and an overwhelming schedule of appointments, meetings, practices, shopping... and that doesn't even include time for themselves or extra considerations about family businesses.

Can a family bring order from chaos?

Can they find a way to make decisions that respect and consider the needs of each and every family member?

And we suggest two books that provide some solid guidance, which we are pleased to share with you.

How to Create a Family Mission Statement

Relationship expert Steven R. Covey ["The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families"; Golden Books, 1997] describes how to create a family's mission statement.

  • Start by contemplating the mission of your own life
  • Define your family
  • Schedule a time to meet
  • Write down what your family is all about
  • Post it in a prominent place in your house
  • Use it to stay on track

Elaine Hightower of Atlanta seems to have been one of the parents we described above. Along with her husband and children, they decided they had to change the way the operated. Elaine write about the process in "Our Family Meeting Book: Fun and Easy Ways to Manage Time, Build Communication and Share Responsibility, Week by Week" [Free Spirit Publishing.]

Covey and Hightower both address a key benefit of the process: each family member has a chance to contribute, to express their viewpoint in a non-confrontational way. The meetings are a time when each member has the full and undivided attention of the rest of the family.

And they both make another important point - a real benefit of the family mission statement process: the family mission statement becomes the guideline for making family decisions, for settling questions like how the family wants to spend its time and its money.

Order from chaos? Better decision making? Your family mission statement will sure help!

Editors Note

Does your family business have a
Mission Statement?

We invite you to post your Mission Statement on our web site.

It may be inspirational to other family businesses as they write their Family Business Mission Statement!


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Family Values and Business Systems

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Company Mission Statements