Pick up any book on how to build a successful business and you will find a common thread running through all of them. That thread is made up of a vision for the future, a strategic mission statement to help you reach the vision, a set of guiding core values and a few attainable goals. Each of these things are needed if you want to start, grow and flourish as a company.
Now, if you were to walk into a bank tomorrow and apply for a small business loan to get your company going, you would be asked to present your business plan. The bank would want to know what you plan to do with the loan, how you will be profitable, should they give you the loan, and how you plan to repay the loan once you have been approved for it. A successful business is built on some very basic fundamentals. The same is true for our families.
I am convinced that if I had always approached my family with the same principles I approached work, I would have been more successful from the beginning. I don’t know why I never applied the principles of starting a company to my family. It wasn’t until I read The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family by Patrick Lencioni that it clicked for me. What I read challenged me to think about vision, mission and values within the context of my family. Honestly, the concept felt a little cold and sterile to me; but the more time I allowed the idea to marinate in my heart, the more enthusiastic and convinced I became about this approach.
Taking the time to formulate a plan to move forward from where we are to where we want to be doesn’t happen by accident; it happens by being intentional and deliberate. A clear plan will focus your energy toward those things you want your family to become. Proverbs 17:24 reminds us that “an intelligent person aims at wise action, but a fool starts off in many directions” (GNB). If you have no plan, you have no direction.
Aiming at wise action means we must have a target to shoot at, a goal to reach. Whether we are starting Business, Inc. or Family, Inc., we must have a purpose, priorities and a process. Otherwise, we may end up on an adventure much like Alice in wonderland:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
Having a purpose and plan for your family is essential to family success. Helen Keller was quoted as saying, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” With that in mind, do you have a vision for your family? If not, that’s awesome! You can start from scratch with these five building blocks.
5 Elements To Build a Successful Family
1. Firm Foundation
2. Compelling Vision
3. Strategic Mission
4. Core Values
5. Attainable Goals
In order to put these blocks together and begin building your family I have included a free download to a 34 page book I wrote entitled Family, Inc that will help you walk through each step of the building process. Think of the book as a set of blue prints you can use to guide you along the process.