You are a successful leader. You lead at your place of business. You may even have started the business in the first place. But sometimes it feels as if none of that matters when it’s time to head home to your family after work.
At work, you get respect. People know the results you deliver and they turn to you for guidance and advice. But at home no one seems to care what you think.
You may have your own office at work, a space you can call your own. You may even have a secretary or at least an assistant of some sort who helps you get things done. But at home, it feels more like an episode of Survivor where the best you can hope for is not to get voted off before the weekend.
And, truth be told, your odds aren’t looking that good.
I’ve Been Where You Are
I was a successful entrepreneur and CEO of the business I co-founded when I felt like you feel now. I loved being at work—and dreaded going home.
I had spoken professionally for over twenty-five years, giving thousands of speeches to over 1 million people in forty-eight states. I’d even introduced the President and First lady of the United States on national television. But I’d be speechless when faced with family struggles at home.
I vividly recall the many times I left my office as the CEO of my company arrived at my house feeling like an entry-level employee. I could make hundreds of decisions all day at work, but I would struggle to make just ten at home that I thought were any good.
I lacked confidence and clarity when it came to building a family I could be proud of. Everything felt unpredictable and risky because I recognized what was at stake long-term in a family was worth more than anything I had accomplished in my business.
But then everything changed. You can read my post on how it happened here, but I discovered a new perspective I had never heard before: I began to think of my family as a business.
Now I look forward to coming home every night, I hate being away for long, and our family is thriving in ways we never dreamed possible.
I tell people that I am the CEO of the most valuable business in the world—my family.
7 Things Businesses and Families Have in Common
As a business leader struggling to be a better parent, there is good news for you. You’re not as far as you may have thought from building a family you can be proud of.
Business leaders like you can leverage your success at work to win at home.
Here are a few things I’ve discovered that businesses and families have in common.
- Both need intentional people development. Businesses depend on growing people. So do families. The good news is you know how to develop people in your business already.
- Both have stakeholders who must buy-in to the vision. Admittedly, kids can be a tougher crowd than employees, but you’ve got a lot more ways to invest in relationships with your family.
- Both succeed best when focused on a shared vision. Try succeeding at work when everyone is doing his or her own thing. Not happening. Why would we think that approach would work at home? Our family even developed our own motto to keep us focused.
- Both produce growth in pursuit of profit. If your business isn’t growing, it’s dying. And the bottom line is, well, the bottom line. It’s no different in the family. It has to grow to stay alive as it pursues the bottom line—a stronger, happier, healthier family.
- Both rise and fall on effective leadership. It took me awhile to realize I could make a difference at home by doing the same thing I did at work – step up and lead. When I didn’t lead, my family suffered for it.
- Both require systems to function at their best. You use systems to succeed at work every day. Why not apply the expertise you already have to develop better systems for your family?
- Both require communication protocols. My wife and I have developed many such protocols to govern scheduling, meetings, conflict resolution, use of technology—the list goes on. You would never try to run a business without clearly communicated protocols and procedures in place. Why would you think a family could succeed without them?
Question: What do you make of my thinking of my family as a business? What other similarities do you see between a family and a business? You can share your thoughts by clicking here.