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Frank Perdue's Ethical Will

Fallon, Nevada

December 15, 2022

Thanks to Tom for sharing Frank Perdue's ethical will with me!

Frank Perdue had an 'ethical will.' Living with integrity begets successful relationships – in the business world and at home. This was Frank Perdue's recipe for success.

By Mitzi Perdue

Though many people knew and admired Frank Perdue for his business achievements in the poultry industry, what impressed me most about him as his wife was how he was, to the core, a family man. During our 17-year marriage, I got to watch how much effort he put into this.

By the time he was in his 80s, after a lifetime running a hugely successful business and as the patriarch of an ever-growing family, Frank was firm in his belief that leading a happy life required living with integrity and following one’s highest values. He believed that, at the end of the day, people who live in this way gain self-respect and the trust of others.

Ultimately, living with integrity begets successful relationships – not just at home, but in the business world as well. To ensure this attitude about integrity and values would continue in the Perdue family for generations to come, Frank didn’t just leave his family material things when he passed away – in fact, one of the most meaningful and valuable things he did for his family didn’t cost a thing.

Frank Perdue left his family an "ethical will" that stated the values he believed in. The goal was to instill the priceless lessons that would help them lead happy and successful lives in the years to come.

Frank knew that as businesses grow, it can be difficult to maintain the small business family-like values that were there at the start.

Whatever way you choose to instill your ethical legacy in your home and your business, everyone has life lessons and perspectives to share with future generations.

However, taking the necessary measures to preserve these values is exactly what businesses of all sizes need to flourish. An ethical will was Frank’s way of embedding the values he learned over a lifetime, making them part of his legacy for future generations.

Whatever way you choose to instill your ethical legacy in your home and your business, everyone has life lessons and perspectives to share with future generations.

In my many years on the inside of both the Perdue Farms and Sheraton Hotel businesses, the single best business advice I’ve found amounts to this: living by your highest values and passing them along to those who come after you is the most meaningful step you can take in helping both your family and your business to thrive.

Here is Frank's ‘ethical will:’

1. Be honest always.

2. Be a person whom others are justified in trusting.

3. If you say you will do something, do it.

4. You don't have to be the best, but you should be the best you can be.

5. Treat all people with courtesy and respect, no exceptions.

6. Remember that the way to be happy is to think of what you can do for others. The way to be miserable is to think about what people should be doing for you.

7. Be part of something bigger than your own self. That something can be family, pursuit of knowledge, the environment, or whatever you choose.

8. Remember that hard work is satisfying and fulfilling.

9. Nurture the ability to laugh and have fun.

10. Have respect for those who have gone before and learn from their weaknesses and build on their strengths.

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