The Importance of Storytelling and Getting to the “Why” in Your Family Business

Just as Simon Sinek suggests in his popular “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” lecture, when we go beyond merely explaining what we do and how we do it, and communicate why we do what we do, we reach a level of communication that inspires others.  As Sinek states, “…inspired organizations, regardless of their size, regardless of their industry, all think, act, and communicate from the inside out.”  That is, they start with their why, and from there explain their how and what. “People don’t buy what you do,” he adds, “They buy why you do it.”

The why for most family businesses is often rooted in strongly held beliefs and values.  Consider the many successful family businesses around the world – those who lead with their rich history and purpose, inspiring customers to return to them time and time again.  Is your family business currently using this approach?  Consider the following suggestions for crafting your family’s story and communicating your why:

  • Look to your legacy –When you learn about the previous generations who started the business, you’ll not only establish a sense of personal worth and investment in being a part of the company, you’ll better communicate this mission to your current and prospective customers.
  • Look to your family’s core values – In learning about the history and legacy of your family business, you’ll more fully understand the core values your family and business have been built on. The importance of these values cannot be stressed enough – they are often the guiding principles for how you conduct your business. They are the why of what you do.  Learn them, understand them, live them, and communicate them.
  • Look to your future – By incorporating where you’ve come from and why, sharing where your family intends to go into the future can be a powerful message of longevity and progress. Communicate with your audience how you intend to grow into the future on the foundation of your core values and the legacy that started it all.  When you do, it inspires your customers to grow with you and support your purpose as it continues to evolve.

Leveraging the powerful tool of storytelling and communicating the why of your family business will likely be a deeply personal, impactful exercise – one that can generate a great amount of family pride and confidence.  Tell your family’s story, let people know your “why.”