The ‘Business’ of Family

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I stood in the kitchen with a screaming baby and wondered for the hundredth time where the handbook was to help me be as successful at being a mother as I was at running a business. The recurring thought of ‘How could I run three successful businesses and not manage to be able to run my household?’ pained me every day. I can build famous brands and yet I felt was going to fail at the single most important brand of all… Family!

I remember being in the depths of despair and making a conscious decision to create the handbook myself, I wanted to see if the system that I build businesses with could work when running a household.

 

I started to think about what traits had enabled me to lead a team, retain staff and inspire the clients to stay and grow with the business. I quickly started to apply the same methods in the household.

 

With each year came new challenges as my children grew and their needs began to change. The overlap between running a business and running a home became more and more apparent as we all shaped our lives.

 

My realisation through this time was that there are always four things which largely cross-over with running a business and your family home:

 

1. Having a ‘can-do’ attitude

 

‘I Can’ has always been my personal mantra and applies to how I have run any business. Having a can-do attitude and entrepreneurial spirit can overcome any task no matter how big or small, simple or challenging. This same positive mind-set is what we run our household by. When our son has found something “too tricky” we would encourage him to take the steps to make it possible to recognise that at some point soon he’ll find it ‘easy’ just as he has overcome all ‘tricky’ obstacles previously and to notice the joy that he gets from the outcome. Like any journey the process can be a difficult one. To provide an environment that is both challenging, as well as supportive is one of the main ingredients to watching your team in the workplace and your children at home grow.

 

2. Working as a team to win

 

Knowing the game everyone is playing is critical to building a successful business; crafting the rules of the game with the key members of the team and determining everyone’s role on the playing field is critical to winning the game.

 

When running a household the key to winning the game is to ensure everyone knows the rules of play. From the youngest to the oldest, including any adults who are responsible for looking after the kids, all are committed to playing the game and achieving the same pre-determined outcomes within the boundaries set. The game of winning is about learning new skills, setting goals, hitting targets and being acknowledged for a job well done. This acknowledgement and encouragement is critical for development and self-esteem whilst also allowing everyone to fail without judgement.

 

3. Setting the boundaries & allowing people to shine

 

I believe that you can create a team culture within any business where people are given freedom to choose. It’s important to set boundaries for what is possible, establish what is right and wrong for the business ethos and to work within a framework of the business culture. The same applies with family. When the kids are aware of the rhythm of routine they can be given freedom of choice. They are aware of the rights and wrongs and given free reign to grow and experiment, knowing that they are being supported in a structured environment that enables optimal growth.

 

4. How to listen and be heard

 

Being able to engage with our children in a positive way whilst being clear on what we want enables us to connect with them through positive commands, whilst avoiding negative ones. I often catch myself in old habits of using negative commands such as ‘don’t’ or ‘can’t’ only to repeat the phrase more positively. Allowing the children to speak and acknowledge their feelings and emotions is much more effective than interjecting with negative comments or just nodding without actually listening. This empowers them to be their own person, have confidence to share and ultimately learn from their own journey. They will ask you for help if they want it, most of the time they just want to talk! Children are no different to the adults who surround you every day both at work and at home.

 

My biggest awareness is that every day presents itself with new lessons. Allowing yourself to be positive with your actions, free with your choices, structured with rules and flexible within boundaries; knowing what your strengths are and allow others to support your weaknesses and utilising your words to have a positive impact on family. We are all learning and the biggest freedom of all is being fearless to take action and willing to make mistakes – only then can we all truly learn and grow!

 

• Linzi Boyd is the author of Brand Famous: How To Get Everyone Talking About Your Business, published by Capstone (2014)

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