I’m as surprised as you are that I’ve just finished a book with the phrase, ‘A Leadership Fable,’ in the title. Combine my eerily Office-esque experience in corporate America with my disappointing reading years ago of the inane Who Moved My Cheese? (a super-selling, little business book which urges readers to move at the speed of change, even the kind of change which is dictated by invisible, out-of-touch boss-men and which makes no earthly sense when it comes to actually getting the job done), and what you’ve got in me is a girl who’s skeptical of all things business-motivational, especially the ones that involve Post-its and whiteboards.
But even as I trudged through the 168-page “fable” section of Patrick Lencioni’s The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable…about restoring sanity to the most important organization in your life (the title alone was a workout), I have to admit, it kind of won me over. I would have preferred a pamphlet outlining the key points, but this parenting parable of harried marrieds Jude and Theresa was, if long, definitely reminiscent of our family’s frantic day-to-day existence. Thankfully, Theresa had a professional corporate management guru in Jude, who could walk her through the cheesy goo of core values, rallying cries, and defining objectives that would ultimately remodel their family landscape.
Essentially, the book’s springboard is Jude’s exasperated exclamation: “If my clients ran their companies the way we run this family, they’d be out of business!” Ultimately, the couple boils down a strategic plan to get organized and focus on what really matters, guided by the answers to these three questions:
- What makes our family unique? This could be humor, interests, work ethic, sports focus—anything that characterizes the family as it currently is, with a sprinkle of what it wants to be.
- What is our family’s most important priority—or rallying cry—right now? This is essentially a specific goal that will be attainable in the next 2-6 months—applying to college, getting a new job, or getting the car in the garage are some examples.
- How will we use these answers and keep them alive? This question asks the family leaders/parents to make a day and time commitment during which they will regularly review the family’s progress in achieving the stated goal.
There’s a lot more detail in the book, but the plan is presented in nutshell form at Lencioni’s website, tablegroup.com. It’s worth checking out. There’s also an article there with more detailed information about how to answer the questions for your particular family. Or, if you’re a Doverite, you can pick up the book at the Dover Public Library (I found it in the yellow section to the left of Large Print—seriously!).
Skeptical as I am, I’m going to test-drive the approach around my home. I’ll report back about how it goes…just give me 2-6 months.