What Values Are Important?

Dr Richard Shrapnel PhD
3 min readAug 17, 2022


A series for those journeying through family business succession.

Often the elder members of a family are not entirely comfortable with what they see as the values their younger generation are adopting.

This mismatching of values usually rests in the ‘lifestyle’ choices of the younger generation.

But what values are really important to underpin family unity and welfare, and generational growth of wealth? And are these not the outcomes, which are most important?

What are the values you are instilling in your family to be carried forward across generations and why those particular values?

Part 4 — Setting The Values

Many families create a family charter or constitution and include references to values that should be respected and upheld over generations. These values often arise from family traditions and culture and are seen as the foundation stones which have underpinned the success of the family over generations. Elder family members consider them important to the future welfare of the family and become anxious when the younger family members seem to step away from these values.

What we sometimes forget as elders, is how we once rebelled against our parents and their values and set the path for our own lives. Experience is the best teacher of values, and sometimes words will never be listened to, and personal experience is the only voice which will establish the importance of values. Patience is often required to permit this learning, but that does not mean that values are not spoken to strongly within a family.

Instilling these values in a family charter can be a means of passing ‘wisdom’ down over generations and what one generation may not adopt another may turn to for guidance. Carefully reflecting on what ‘values’ you see as foundational is important.

When reflecting on what values are important try not to simply create a list of words — honesty, integrity, perseverance, etc. These words are good values, but a list does not seem to transmit their benefits fully. Short stories from family history can often provide context and a richness as to why a specific value strengthens a family and its individuals.

In identifying stories, think of events that have provided the glue and strength for the family and its businesses to overcome adversity and to enjoy success. And tag these stories with a value that may be carried forward. A richness lies in stories of a family’s history that will carry over generations.

Ultimately, the values that a family and its businesses anchor itself to should allow and encourage every family member to strive for and attain their greatest potential as individuals. And in doing so, provide a glue for family unity, harmony and welfare, and enduring success of the family from generation to generation with a compounding effect.

What are your family values?

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Dr Richard Shrapnel PhD

Business Strategist, Writer, Speaker