Monday, August 17, 2009
The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family
I happened to be browsing the shelves of our library when this book caught my eye. I thought it looked interesting - do you know a family which isn't frantic? - and picked it up.
The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family is a great book for any family which feels overwhelmed to read. Patrick Lencioni writes in a very readable fashion - it doesn't take much time and it sticks with you.
The book is in the form of a fable, following a frantic family who decides to adapt some business principles to their family life. It goes quickly through the business principles, and follows the couple who decide they need to make it simpler and easier for families to follow.
They come up with three big questions for families to answer.
First: What makes our family unique?
Second: What is your family's top priority - rallying cry - right now?
Third: How do you talk about and use the answers to these questions?
The whole process to answer these questions shouldn't take more than an hour. To prepare for the process, you should probably read this book, or at least the last few chapters of the book to get context for the questions and come up with ways that your family can answer the questions. But reading the last few chapters and reviewing some real life examples shouldn't take more than a few hours at most if you're a slow reader.
Call it an investment in your family. In the book, Lencioni calls it context. A framework from which your family can operate and make decisions. It's easier to say no to things when you know what the top priority is for your family in the next few months. It's easier to know what to say yes to when you have that same knowledge.
The genius of this book is not only answering the first two questions, but the inclusion of the third. It's too easy to set aside something we've worked on in the bustle of day-to-day life. The answer to the third question gives accountability to actually take action on the top priority - and an easy way to measure areas which are going well, and those which need work. I love his idea of using colors to mark progress in accomplishing the top priority.
And when there's purpose to life, then life becomes more meaningful and deliberate than what's the next urgent thing which needs my attention? And that makes all the difference.