Every great businessperson has certain traits or techniques that make them successful — most successful people are also great moms and dads. How do they do this? They make sure they carry those traits home with them.
Actor Michael J. Fox said, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” How you “work” with your family is just as important if not more important than your business life. Here are a few areas where business principles can be woven in to your family life and will make you a champion at home, too:
If your biggest client was to walk in to your office and you begin going through your mail, they wouldn’t be your client for long. How many times have you walked in from a long day at work, put your things down and started looking through the paper or the day’s mail without acknowledging your family? If you wouldn’t do it at work, don’t make it a habit at home. Make sure when you arrive home you greet your family like you would a client — it will make a big difference.
In my entrepreneur organization, not only did we focus on business goals, but we also took time to put together “Family Goals and Planning.” This would include what we wanted to accomplish on a personal level — it could be attending more of your kid’s events, financial planning, home projects, vacations, and even relationships with friends and family that may need attention. Like with any business goal, we review on a regular basis and adjust when necessary.
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When I started my company in 2007, my wife and I started a standing lunch “date” every Friday. We both bring our calendars, and it gives us a chance to discuss the week ahead and plan everything from vacations to dentist appointments to kid’s activities. As with a good business meeting, we make sure we stay focused, and this time together pretty much ensures that we never look at each other and say, “You never told me about this.” Ever been there?
Communication and feedback
Any efficient and successful organization will do surveys on a frequent basis and tweak its goals and business plans. When was the last time you took time to survey your family? We try to include our kids in most important family decisions and get feedback. This could be vacations, sports activities, the weekend ahead or even meals. Our family loves the movies and we have “Tuesday movie night” every week. We take turns choosing the movie we want to see — the kids love when it’s their turn to pick. We have found that if we get feedback and everyone is in agreement, there is little to complain about down the road … just like a happy client or customer.
Phones and computers
I am at the kitchen table with my laptop as I write this article. No family is perfect, but we are getting better about putting our phones and devices away at dinner, family gatherings, and when we are visiting family and friends. Just as with that annoying cellphone ring during a business meeting, it is nice to “unplug” and not have that distraction when you are spending time with the people most important to you.
Zig Ziglar said, “I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.”
Take these tips to heart, and while you’re climbing the corporate ladder, you will also ensure that your family is not left behind.
Ben Hanback is senior vice president of Regions Insurance Group.
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