Perhaps you’re thinking of selling a firm or simply handing the keys to a new leader. Before you do so, let’s take a minute to discuss how to protect the core values of your business. Because values have value. And it’s worth protecting them—so they continue, even after you’ve stepped away.

1. Choose your successor wisely.

Whether you look outside of your company or groom from within, the person you choose as your successor will be integral in maintaining your organization’s values. With all candidates, look for past examples of how they integrated and maintained values within other organizations. If you intend to groom your successor, use shadowing or mentorship programs so the employee can see how you reinforce your values through interactions with employees and customers. And there’s no reason to play a guessing-game: Ask candidates about their values, their visions, to see if their views are in keeping with yours. (For additional information on choosing a successor, see here.)

2. Integrate values into every employee-related process.

Values are meaningless if not lived through day-to-day interactions, and this begins with integrating your values into all employee-related processes— including performance management systems, promotions criteria, and hiring and dismissal policies. Select job candidates for skills and experience, as well as their fit within your organization. Integrating values into these processes will demonstrate that your company’s values are more than just words.

3. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

According to the Harvard Business Review, “employees will not believe a message until they’ve heard it repeated by executives seven times.” Repetition can come in many forms: memoranda; meetings; artwork on the walls. Regardless of the fora, values need to be a part of everyday processes. Never stop reinforcing them, and make sure your management team is doing the same.

4. Reinforcement does not require significant financial investment.

Given the importance of repetition, it is important to remember that reinforcement does not have to be expensive. Give public recognition to employees who have demonstrated your values, or share stories during trainings or orientations of how employees have exemplified your values.

Enshrining your values into your organization should begin long after you step away. If you have questions about business succession planning, call us at (314) 454-9100 or send a message today.


Steven is an estate planning attorney whose client’s are confident and secure that they, their loved ones and their legacies are protected.

As an experienced attorney, Steven works with his clients in the areas of estate planning, trusts, probate, asset protection and business succession planning. He is known in the industry for providing exceptional client value and turn-key service.

Steven has maintained Martindale Hubbel’s highest preeminent AV rating as an attorney for more than 20 years, been recognized by St. Louis Magazine as a Five Star Wealth Advisor four times, and recognized by St. Louis Small Business Monthly as a top attorney for business owners to work with. Steven also regularly teaches continuing education courses in areas related to estate planning, asset protection and business succession planning to CPAs, financial and insurance advisors and other attorneys.