Listen to Patricia Saputo talk about using values to guide decision-making processes.
So we started family meetings a couple years ago and in one of the first meetings we went around the table to discuss what values each of the family members shared. And in doing this exercise, we discovered that the three top values was family, respect and communication. With communication, I’ll extend that also to education, because when you communicate to others you are also teaching the next generation. With this, in the decision making process, that’s something that comes with time, so even though we know who the decision-makers are today, being the parents, then in the future, how do we establish that? Whether it’s established by a family constitution, or established though family policies and procedures, all that is what we’re trying to develop for the future generations to see how will decisions be made. They key point here is that it has to be a shared intention by the next generation and as long as they all share that same intention, they want to remain as part of a group and there’s one thing my father always told us is that you want to stay in an open door room, where you allow family members to come and go as they please. Because if you keep them in a closed room, they’ll always look at how to leave as opposed to how to stay. So having that shared intention, having that open door concept will allow the decision process to be made in such a way that everybody is comfortable with it, and nobody feels exclusive to the process. So that’s something that we’re developing as we go on and we’ll always have the next generation come in and be able to change anything that they feel needs to be changed as opposed to pushing down that this is what is established and you have to follow these rules, as opposed to this is what is established and how can you come in and help bring that to a different level based on changes that might have occurred over the different generations. And that I think is a decision process going forward that will only make family want to stay as an inclusive family, and share the family values. In terms of family values, by sharing those with the different family members and knowing that these are the values that will help in the different businesses that we’re involved with or that helps with the different philanthropy that we get involved with, by tying it into those family values, it kind of helps the family be cohesive and be one unit to understand who they are and help each other fit in that same unit. So values is the key to any family and with that you can elaborate into so much more for the betterment of the family as a whole.