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Create a positive work ethic in your family business

By April 22, 2015July 12th, 2023Management and Leadership2 min read

The Wayans family is laughing all the way to the bank. With their relatively low-brow, but highly successful comedy films like Scary Movie and White Chicks, the Wayans may be one of the most powerful family businesses in Hollywood. According to Entertainment Weekly, the family “boasts a combined domestic box office of over a billion bucks — a hefty $331 million of which comes from the powerhouse trio of brothers at the forefront of the Wayans dynasty, Keenen, 48, Shawn, 35, and Marlon, 33.”

The Wayans brothers were mostly raised in the New York City projects by their parents Elvira and Howell Wayans. The kids learned a strong work ethic from their parents, and their family turned to comedy as their escape. “We called my dad an entre-poor-neur,” joked Marlon Wayans.

The Wayans’s Hollywood domination might be an immediate reward of that work ethic and their parent’s leadership style. For family business to thrive, managers must recognize the different way their employees today view work and personal fulfillment.

Just as we don’t run our family businesses by 1970 tax laws, leadership styles from 20 years ago also don’t apply. Family businesses must radically change their styles of leadership – because leaders, not managers, grow business.

Here are three suggestions to inject a greater sense of work ethic in your family business:

  1. Set Standards – An employee must understand what their objective is when they sit down at their desk. They need to understand the “what” and the “why” of their responsibilities.Setting goals with your employees gives them a greater sense of direction and purpose.
  2. Mentor –Today’s younger generation needs to feel like they have a mentor, or role model, who is looking after them. Take time to create an effective training program that helps them succeed in their position. This will undoubtedly take some time on the front end, but it will ultimately save you more time by minimizing your need to clean up sub-par work product that may result from a lack of initial training.
  3. Reward – What gets rewarded, gets repeated. If you see an employee demonstrating a great work ethic, reward them! Let your other employees know, too. It will help define, in a positive way, the bar you’ve set for the expected work ethic in your family business.

If you need help jump starting –or redefining – a new corporate culture using today’s proven practices, please reach out. ReGENERATION Partners can help you implement a corporate work ethic that meets the needs of your family business and encourage your employees to maximize their performance.