Running a happy, successful home can be compared to running a successful business. I do both. These are the key areas that cannot be neglected.
Know your mission. Companies have mission statements and it is important to know the mission statement for your family. My husband and I decided many years ago that there were certain values that we felt were important to instill in our children. It was important that they grew up happy and secure. We wanted them to know they were loved. We wanted them to value people, and to know the value of hard work. We jokingly referred to our desire for them to be polite and well-mannered, as making them good little citizens. This was our way of saying that they would be contributing members to society. So our mission statement was: We will make sure they are good people.
Make sure all the members of your family (the work force) know they are appreciated and important. This is important in all organizations. Members need to know that they are contributing and their contribution is valued. You should acknowledge them as important to the family’s success and happiness.
Have good support systems in place. In any business, it is necessary to have consultants, suppliers and assistants, and know when and where to go for outside advice and help. In a family, your support system consists of physicians, teachers, coaches, and all the other people you and your
family interact with on a regular basis. Make sure they are doing the job they should, i.e., that they add value to the organization.
Organization is key. A well-run family life is like a well-run business. You must have good organizational systems in place. You need to know where people need to be, at what time, and how they will accomplish their goals.
An atmosphere of trust and safety is necessary in any organization that wants to achieve positive results. Your children and the parent or parents need to know that there is honesty and integrity throughout the family.
Any organization requires rules, and consequences for failure to follow the rules should be consistent and fair. Guidelines and expectations need to be clear, and good/successful behavior should be expected and rewarded. Respect for all members of the organization is important and non-negotiable. If there are problems, a good parent/manager needs to intervene and help those involved, work it out in a calm and logical manner.
Education should be valued. Any organization should encourage growth and learning, and will accordingly benefit from all members understanding the value of education. The members will likewise benefit from learning to help themselves and others.
The family, like any organization, needs to meet often to discuss concerns and challenges. This can often be done over dinner, which incidentally is an excellent time to bond and learn what each member (division) is working on. Sharing what the divisions are working on helps the members to get to know each other and can lead to communication that can be supportive and helpful.
Good health is another key and the prescription is no secret: good nutrition, exercise, proper amounts of sleep, and not too much junk food. Just as sloppy habits lead to underperformance, strong health habits lead to strong performance.
Perhaps most importantly, a family must have time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Just as companies plan outings or parties, a family needs to plan time together as a unit. Vacations or outings can help members find ways of bonding, sharing and building a common legacy.