Plenty has been written about the need for people to better balance their personal and work lives. Ironically, however, applying successful business strategies and tools at home may actually serve to benefit your personal relationships.
Take the act of planning, for instance. It’s something that translates well from business to personal life. Planning is all about setting up frameworks designed to keep must-dos (and stretch goals) moving along. Whether it’s a complex client project or a kid’s messy bedroom cleanup, a standard framework can make the process run smoothly.
This sounds very intuitive, right? Yet carrying best work practices over to personal life doesn’t always happen. When it does, though, it can be both business-changing and life-affirming.
The power of applying business strategies at home
When I joined our company, I attended one of our quarterly collaborative exchange events. There, a coach within our community shared a riveting story. They had been brought in as a last-ditch effort to save a family business from going under financially. Within a year, the company was back on track—but that’s not all. Under the direction provided by this coach, the business owners (brothers) began to transfer the tools, processes and models they learned from their company to their home.
This proved to be a watershed decision. You see, the brothers and their families had been feuding for many years, and it created a rift in their family relationships. After learning to effectively communicate
Not everything that works in your business will work with your marriage, partnerships, children or friendships. However, becoming disciplined around using business tools and frameworks on the home front may prevent you from just winging it.
Business strategies to use at home
Below are several practices I recommend considering for streamlining your personal experiences and relationships. Each one is a tried-and-true practice at both my workplace and within my personal life.
1. Define your family’s core values.
It’s commonplace for organizations to name and even advertise core values. It’s likely far rarer for this to happen in families. Yet, families can get the same benefits that come from identifying what matters to them as individuals and as a team.
Your core values don’t have to be complicated. They’re merely your personal ethics and beliefs, your focus and your “why.” What are you trying to accomplish as a family? What’s your greater purpose or passion? What matters to you as a broad-based “North Star?”
Simply talking about your family’s core values may be an illuminating exercise, getting everyone on the same page and allowing you to deepen your commitment to following through with those values. From there, you can engage in vision planning to determine how you’re going to make your values come alive via specific daily goals in family actions, words and behaviors.
2. Set up regular household or family meetings.
Once you’ve established your values and vision, set up regular checkpoint meetings. At our organization, we do quarterly leadership team sessions. During those meetings, we review and confirm our core values and set up 90-day rocks and one-year goals, paint a picture of what we want to be true to in three short years and set a 10-year target. The meetings, when applied to your personal life, should be routine and scheduled in advance, allowing everyone to stay on the same page together—united as a family toward the future you’ve envisioned.
You can schedule your meetings at whatever frequency works best for your family to keep circles connected. Just make sure you always have the same agenda or format to allow for a predictable flow and for everyone to come prepared to share and discuss openly. These meetings can also be a great way to make sure you’re on the same page with your partner or children.
How do you resolve issues? Aim to follow an “IDS” method of identifying, discussing and solving the most important and pressing issues. First, dig deep to identify the real issue. (Hint: It’s usually not the stated problem and you’ll need to dig to get to the root of the issue.) Next, speak openly to discuss and decide upon the best possible path forward—but avoid repetition or politicking your perspective. You’ll want to come from the perspective of pursuing the greater good of your family, first and foremost.
If the solutions require action, assign responsibilities. Total agreement among everyone isn’t always realistic (or possible), even between two adults. Sometimes, one of you may have to “disagree and commit” because the decision supports your values and vision, and ultimately the greater good of everyone involved.
3. Practice the art of ‘delegate and elevate.’
When you’re perpetually stressed, it may be difficult to give yourself fully to others or notice when they need your support. That’s why I love using our company’s “delegate and elevate” business strategy at home to get clear on where to spend my time.
All you have to do is divide a big square into four quadrants named: “Love It/Great at It,” “Like It/Good at It,” “Don’t Like It/Good at It,” and “Don’t Like It/Not Good at It.” Anything on your to-do list that falls into either of the last two quadrants is ideal for delegating to someone inside (or outside) your home to free yourself to spend more time doing those things that you are great at and love.
For example, one of our family’s visions for this year was to improve my personal workspace at home. Problem is, I didn’t know where to begin to figure out the design, desk configurations, chairs, shelving, etc. Consequently, I outsourced the job to someone who was great at it and loved it. The result was that I was 100% relieved of that duty and allowed to focus instead on what I love, and I got the incredible outcome I wanted and needed.
It’s not a good idea to let work overtake your personal life. But don’t be afraid to allow work concepts to help you make your private moments as rewarding as possible by transferring the tools and practices that work for you as a professional into your personal life.
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