Should we run our home and family more like a business? Weekly meetings? Family mission statements? A mommy friend recommend this very interesting article from the Wall Street Journal – Family, Inc. – which discusses business strategies that may work in the home setting. The essay was adapted from Mr. Feiler’s book, “The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More,” coming out later this month. This article really hit home now that I have completely merged work and home responsibilities by starting my own law practice. One morning I’m talking to a prospective client and the next I’m off to a mommy playdate. The self-discipline required to focus on one task and get that task completed, rather than have the day flow like my stream of consciousness, is MUCH more challenging than I imaged. It is a good challenge and I love it.
I read several of the business books mentioned in the article, such as Good to Great. I never imaged applying those principles to my home but it makes sense in many ways. Having a central, charismatic leader with a top-down approach doesn’t work in most start-ups so why would it work in my new family (ad)venture? Having all members of the team buy into the team’s mission statement is as important for a functional business as it is for the functional family. Weekly meeting and reviews should help employees and kids learn accountability.
The other day I was pondering ways to improve my relationship with my little guy (10 months old). The thought of improving my relationship with my husband popped into my mind. I briefly thought, “What does he have to do with it?” That should have been a red flag but it still took me awhile to accept the idea that a commitment to my baby was also a commitment to my husband. There is no “I” in TEAM. Just like any other startup, we need to get the right people on the bus and empower them to do what they do best. It’s also important to remember that a new baby is NEW and that it requires love, time and patience for the relationships to blossom into a full-fledged functioning family (your own Fortune 500 company).