Successful families, like successful teams, operate according to a game plan.
We all know the frustration of sitting in the stands at a rugby or soccer match or sitting on the couch shouting at our favourite team because they’re playing like idiots who don’t seem to have a game plan. Their opponents are making fools of them and we’re in pain as we watch them fluffing opportunities because they just don’t seem to know what to do when they get the ball.
Families are like sports teams in that they also require a game plan if they want to succeed in life. We all know that no team wins a match because they just ran onto the field to see what happens and did what ever seemed best at any particular moment.
Unfortunately, too many families don’t realise the importance of working as a team and according to a well conceived game plan.
Does your family have a game plan? What happens when one of the children gets sick? Is it just a case of doing what ever seems to be a good idea at the time or do you have a clear plan of who does what in such circumstances?
In order to execute a good game plan, a mother and father must work together. They must communicate with one another and discuss the game plan BEFORE they get into the situation that calls for the game plan to be carried out.
One of the most important things successful families do is talk – to one another. Families which share their views and feelings about life and other things get an understanding of how other members of the team feel and are then better able to support them when support is needed.
If we don’t make time to talk, we’ll never find time to do so. A key time for the family to talk is at the supper table. Breakfast is rushed and lunch is often eaten out the home, so supper is probably the only meal when all of the family members are back home. Grab this time with both hands … It’s gold!
Another time to talk to your children is when you and them do something together. The activity is irrelevant and the more mindless it is (like washing dishes) the better the opportunity for you and them to talk. You will be amazed at what you will learn about them and their friends just by listening and chatting every now and then.
Another important factor for a game plan to be successful is that there must be a high level of trust between the team members. When members of the family genuinely trust one another, they are more inclined to be there for one another. Trust is earned and not handed out free. Trust is built by engaging in predictable behaviour.
In February 2008, a Cathay Pacific pilot was fired and his co pilot suspended for doing a “wheels up” low-level pass over the airport runway after taking delivery of a new 777-300ER Boeing with over 60 people on board. The airline probably believed that no passenger would want to fly with an airline whose pilots demonstrated unpredictable behaviour.
The same applies to you and your family members. If you engage in unpredictable behaviour, don’t expect your family to trust you just because of who you are. Show that you will do the right thing when required by doing the right thing. That will earn you trust. Your kids might also consider you boring but who wants to fly with a pilot who’s rated as “exciting”?
Be a trustworthy leader of your family and you will build a successful family. If you apply the same principles in the workplace, you will also build a productive and happy team. Isn’t that a bonus?