In The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family, Pat Lencioni turns his sights on the most important organization in our lives—the family. As a husband and the father of four young boys, Pat realized the discrepancy between the time and energy his clients put into running their organizations and the reactive way most people run their personal lives. Having experienced the stress of a frantic family firsthand, he and his wife began applying some of the tools he uses with Fortune 500 companies at home, and with surprising results.
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There is plenty a family can do to drastically reduce unwanted chaos and live with greater context, clarity and purpose. In fact, there are three basic questions that every family needs to answer.
WHAT MAKES YOUR FAMILY UNIQUE?
The answer to this question should be two or three sentences that describe how your family is different from any other family in the world. If you don’t know what differentiates your family from others, you won’t have a basis for making decisions, and you’ll try to be all things to all people.
WHAT IS YOUR TOP PRIORITY—RALLYING CRY—RIGHT NOW?
Rallying Cry: The rallying cry is a single, agreed-upon top priority for your family over the next two to six months. Without a top priority, everything becomes important and you end up reacting to whatever issues seem urgent that day. Defining Objectives: Defining objectives are the basic categories of things you’ll have to do to achieve your rallying cry. Without identifying those categories, you’ll be left with nothing but a general statement—and no context for getting it done. Standard Objectives: Standard objectives are simply those regular, perennial responsibilities that a family must pay attention to in order to keep its head above water. By acknowledging these ongoing responsibilities, families will avoid being distracted from what really matters.
HOW DO YOU TALK ABOUT AND USE THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS?
The most important thing a family has to do to keep its context alive is discuss it in regular meetings. If you answer the first two questions but don’t use those answers in daily, weekly and monthly decision-making, it will yield limited benefits. It can also be helpful to “score” your progress as demonstrated with the green, yellow, and red color key.