“Action expresses priorities.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
RUN YOUR FAMILY LIKE A MANAGER OF A COMPANY/BUSINESS
1. Identify your core values. Companies define their core values because they provide a great framework for making all kinds of decisions. To apply this idea to your family, think about what common traits each spouse admires in the other.
2. Establish a single top priority. If everything is important, nothing is. Too many companies fail because they spread their time and energies too thin. Answer this question: “In addition to our day-to-day responsibilities, if we accomplish one big thing as a family in the next few months, what should it be?” And then work on it. It could be anything from “Help Dad get healthy” to “Spend more time together as a family at home.”
3. Keep your values and top priority visible. You don’t need an engraved plaque to remind you of what’s important. But it’s good to have a ready reference. Strategically stick them where they can be seen every day, to remind each member of your family, specifically your spouse.
4. Don’t make snap decisions. Companies (and families) tend to take on commitments out of peer pressure or guilt, before they understand what’s involved. Often it’s not a single big project, but the dinner date, bake sale, and sleepover that all add up to make a family frantic. Which leads us to number 5
5. Understand your opportunity cost. In business, when taking one course of action prevents a company from accomplishing other tasks, we talk about opportunity cost. Example: Deciding to let your sons opt out of Cub Scouts (the opportunity), which was eating up our weekends (the cost). Why cut that and not, say, guitar lessons? Cub Scouts may be a little too regimented and that music better suited your style. Knowing the decision reflected one of your values―creativity―removed any sense of guilt you might otherwise have had.
6. Assess which balls bounce and which ones break. Sometimes tasks that feel urgent can actually be ignored. (In other words, those balls will bounce.) Basically, prepare for something by it’s sense of urgency. ie; prepping for the birth of a new baby vs. landscaping your yard
7. Don’t confuse long-term strategies and short-term tactics.For parents, this can take the form of discussing what to have for dinner in the same breath as whether to change jobs. Or trying to make a decision about finances or discipline while brushing your teeth and getting the kids off to school. Vital issues can get short shrift or be entirely lost in the minutiae if you don’t stop, filter them out, and return to them later.
8. Meet often to review your progress. Don’t groan. This is not a bad episode of The Brady Bunch. But families do need to meet once a week, for no more than 10 minutes, to review what’s going on and what adjustments need to be made to their time and priorities. Let the children participate. They love to see their role in it.