Thursday, February 14, 2013

Family, Inc.

I came across an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal titled Family, Inc.  The message was that some families had success treating their family as a business with a mission statement, regular meeting to drive continuous improvement, and decision making that included all members of the family.  The comments to the article were largely negative, but the article really resonated with me.

I tend to be a formal person who enjoys logical decision making.  My interests are very diverse and if left unchecked, my attention to work, family and hobbies can quickly go out of whack.  I have worked in corporate America for the past 15 years and enjoy having goals and vision.  This often makes decisions easier to make.  I have found that when I do not have goals, I settle to the lowest common denominator of reacting rather than focused progress.

I usually set personal goals as well.  These are often in the form of resolution type goals to watch less television, plan date night once per month or stop eating snacks after 7:00 PM.  I do have a personal strategy to “Support my family with time and financial contributions.  I intend to keep a full time job and participate in swim bike run events as possible during the year.  I want to take an active role in the kid’s education and activities.  I want to support my wife at home and in her endeavors.”  However, I only look at this on a quarterly basis.  As I read it now, improving my health, family relationships, personal relationships and community involvement are conspicuously absent.  My vision is to be an “Active Husband and Father.”

I have never thought about making goals for our family.  My kids are still young, but down the road it would be a great experience for them to be involved in decision making.  Most of our family decisions are made ad hoc and rarely have a theme.  Decisions of note in the past year include vacation plans, remodeling the kitchen, and enrolling the girls in activities such as piano, gymnastics and swimming.  If I think about the characteristics I would like to see in our family, my own personal values come to mind.  I have yet to appreciate a family vision.  Just because I see hard working as an asset, does not mean it is important to our family.

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