Why You Need A Family Mission Statement

When I was a kid, my family had a family mission statement. We also had family laws. And family sayings. We memorized them all and, every night during or after dinner, we’d jump up and down excitedly and recite the 4 family sayings:

1.     I can do it!

2.     Do what’s right!

3.     Do your best!

4.     Treat other people how you want to be treated: Nice!

I mean, we were allowed to jump around at dinnertime? So. Much. Fun!

Why did my parents do such a thing?

My parents cared, deeply, about what the Cornetet family stood for, why we stood for those things, and how each of their children would employ those values as we made our way in the world. As family business owners, it was particularly important to them that we understood and embraced the values they held dear, because those were the same values they espoused as our family’s company leaders.

If passing along these types of ideals sounds stodgy and terrible, think again! Structure and consistency were key elements but my parents made it enjoyable—remember, we were jumping up and down during dinner!

In addition to creating family mission statement, laws, and sayings, one of the ways my parents reinforced these values, and passed them along to us, was during “Dad’s Class.” Every Saturday, my dad taught us lessons on a variety of topics. The core of our training was financial literacy but we also learned about human and intellectual capital.

One of my favorite classes took place after we began learning about stocks. When we were a little older, we had to memorize the 10 stocks my dad had purchased for us, in our names, but initially they were just words we had to remember and repeat.

One day, for Dad’s class, my father took my sister Brooke and I, who both owned McDonalds stock, for a Big Mac and Coca Cola. As we ate, he explained that because we owned McDonalds stock, we owned a piece of the company and that we earned money from them when we received dividends. I can still taste that Big Mac and Coca Cola and remember what it felt like to realize I owned a part of that enterprise.

The knowledge my dad helped us acquire at an early age has been a powerful part of our later successes. For example, as a young business owner, I was able to grasp financial and business concepts much more readily than if I hadn’t had that early exposure.

Why is a Family Mission Statement So Important? 

By creating our Family Mission Statement and asking us to memorize it, my parents hoped to provide an overarching value statement for our family that we could turn to when making life’s difficult decisions, both personally and professionally. A few reasons you might consider creating one:

·      Your children are your greatest legacy

·      Most family business survive don’t beyond the 2nd or 3rd generation

·      Financial capital is easy to transfer but human and intellectual capital is more difficult. A Family Mission Statement can help your kids internalize those beliefs and lessons.

Where Do We Begin?

If you’re interested in creating a mission statement for your family, let’s talk.

Millennial Guru will start by helping you articulate what’s most important to you with respect to your family and your family business. Clients are always surprised at the “Ah ha!” things they discover as we walk through the process.

In the end, we’ll produce a customized Family Mission Statement that’s focused on your family’s unique set of values. Then we’ll craft an action plan to help you be intentional about putting your Family Mission Statement’s inherent values into practice, so you can give your kids the skills they’ll need to grow into thoughtful, productive adults who can contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Paige Cornetet