by Nathaniel A. Turner
If you are going to be part of a successful family you owe it to yourself and your family to have a mission statement. After all, when you say “I do” and when you decide that you are ready to hear the “pitter patter of little feet”, you are setting your sails for life’s two most important and challenging missions.
“Happily ever after” is a destination that requires proper planning and execution.
Many of the problems family’s face today occur because there are no formal directions to determine who the family is, who the family will become and how the family will be remembered. Yet, we are surprised when we don’t get our “happily ever after”. “Happily ever after” is a destination that requires proper planning and execution. Proper planning and execution begin with a family mission statement.
Religious Saying is Not a Mission Statement
Full disclosure, I was raised in a Christian household and I was married in an A.M.E. Church. Neither of these two highlights qualify as a family mission statement. Too often, we mistakenly believe that our religious pronouncements and the location where we “joined hands” is a family mission statement. Add a few religious sayings like “hold on to God’s unchanging hand” and “put your faith in the Lord” and the error in our thinking is magnified.
We can be the most fervent Believers, but without proper planning and execution and a plan of action that has quantitative and qualitative measurements, we are just another family on the brink of disaster. The family that fails to plan, plans to fail!
All Great Businesses Have a Mission Statement
Whether you recognize it or not, your family is a business. And no, I’m not talking about being nosy. Although, being nosy has become a gargantuan industry (see TMZ, People Magazine, reality TV, etc.) Instead, what I’m talking about is business – a going concern. An enterprise that has an altruistic motive combined with financial realities.
Transcendent, long-lasting businesses, before they ever considered profit, began with a desire, a goal to do something noble. Look at the world’s most successful companies today and you will find an altruistic commonality. Apple and Google don’t exist merely to make money, they exist to improve the world and the quality of life.
Why does your family exist? What plans does your family have to improve the world?
If Google and Apple have mission statements, shouldn’t your family? Successful families, like the great companies, don’t take the importance of a mission statement for granted.
A Successful Mission is Quantifiable
An objective of your family mission statement, just as it is with any great business, is to report a profit (operate in the black) and increase shareholder wealth. In short, a successful family doesn’t spend more than it earns and it always endeavors to increase the family’s value – net worth. And if for some reason, I have not made this plain and simple enough, I will say it another way, a successful family does not indebt themselves purchasing depreciable items (i.e. cars, clothes, jewelry) nor refuse to save anything for a rainy day.
The success of any business is always quantifiable. And like all businesses, your family’s success is measurable. Like Apple and Google your family has an income statement and a balance sheet. Whether your family is quantifiably successful can be partially answered by examining the family income statement and family balance sheet.
Remember profit and black are good; loss and red are bad.
On A Mission
For those families who have a mission statement already, congratulations. For those families without a mission statement, it is time to develop one immediately.
If you don’t know how or where to start, I’ll share that the next time. In the meantime, if you can’t wait and are eager to get started organizing and managing your family like great businesses and successful families do, feel free to contact me.
BMWK – does your family have a mission statement? What are some of the elements of a good mission statement?
Nathaniel A. Turner, J.D. blogs at The Raising Supaman Project, a dad blog for children of all ages. Nate shares thought-provoking, educational and entertaining ways to raise children who will maximize their God-given ability and encourages children of all ages to become great adults. Connect with Nate on Twitter: @Supamans_Dad;