When was the last time you went on a date with your spouse?  Let’s define date: scheduled time spent together without interruptions. Could this be at home?  Possibly. Could it be a walk down the street or a walk to a nearby park with a blanket and some goodies?  Yes.  Does it require a certain amount of money? No. Does it even require a babysitter?  Not necessarily.  What it does require is planning, intentionality and commitment to prioritizing your relationship. Ready?  Good!

Last night a friend dropped off a book in my mailbox. She knows my role at RDS and thought perhaps this book would strike my fancy. I quickly opened its pages, and after about 4 hours of reading, I am finished!  I must share its contents with you. The author is one of my favorites; he writes leadership books on organization health. Perhaps you will recognize a few of his titles which I have read and perhaps you have, too: The AdvantageDeath by MeetingThe Ideal Team Player. Drum roll…the one I just finished reading: The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family by Patrick Lencioni. It is a leadership fable about restoring sanity to the most important organization in your life, your family. The author’s purpose in writing the book is to help you run your family with “more clarity, context and purposefulness” by generating three questions which you and your spouse answer. To learn more about this system, visit his website at www.thefranticfamily.com. Your family does not need to be in frantic mode to benefit! In fact, just tuck this idea or book to the side and revisit it when your children start to get involved in activities.

His system is not complicated. That is the beauty of it; it simplifies and brings clarity to your family’s values and goals.  In short, here are Lencioni’s key points, but I would encourage you to visit his website and also purchase the book.  No margin for it now?  No problem. Set yourself a goal.

  1. Define what makes your family unique. (Write 2-3 sentences on your family core values).
  2. What is the most important priority in your family right now? (Write your rallying cry or goal).
  3. Define your objectives to get your family there. (Write 4-5 action items for #2)
  4. Define your regular responsibilities as a family (Write standard responsibilities of 4-5 items, such as finances, faith, health, marriage. How do you maintain accountability and assessment of these 4?
    Once discussed and decided, write out your answers on a whiteboard and evaluate them during your weekly 10 minute meeting.  That’s it!

    I’ll end where I started: date night. How about arranging some time to discuss this idea? What if it were to help you be the best CEO (Dad) and COO (Mom) of your family?  Would a small investment of time/money be worth it? Purchase book:  $10.52. Read it:  4 hours.  Activate the assignment:  1 hour.  Maintain: 10 minutes per week.

    Happy date night – with or without this idea!