Last Monday I posted about creating a corporate culture for our family. I spent some time defining what a corporate culture is and I went through some of the benefits and how you might talk about and implement this in your home. In this post and the next, I will go into detail about how you can discover and define the different components that make up a corporate culture.
Let’s talk first about values. Values are the things that we hold most dear, that we treasure the most. In our home, values tend to be the mindsets, habits, and behaviors that we protect at all cost. In order to establish your set of values, think about the qualities that you want your family to aspire to. These might include things like respect, wisdom, love, generosity, persistence, excellence, fun, and others. Let your entire family participate in the discussion on family values. Begin with a set of questions like:
What makes it fun to be home?
What do others in the family do for you that you appreciate the most?
How do you want others outside of the family to think of you?
What things make you proud to be a member of this family?
Describe what would make things perfect in our family.
You might come up with a list of other questions as your family discusses this important topic. I recommend starting here because having the values defined really gives you a point of reference for working through the other components of a corporate culture.
As for attitudes, these can overlap with the values somewhat. Attitudes will encompass how we respond to others, what our general outlook on life is, and how we relate to adversity. Having these on a list gives us an important point of reference for correcting any disrespectful behavior. Your questions that will discover the important attitudes for your family might be:
When bad things happen, how should I respond?
What words do I use to show I have a good attitude?
Describe what a bad attitude looks like.
When things are going my way, what does a good attitude look like?
How do you feel when you talk to someone with a bad attitude?
Again, you might uncover additional questions as your family discusses attitudes. It is up to you as parents to guide the session and ensure that everyone participates. There are no right or wrong answers; all we want to do is create a predictable, comfortable culture in our home.
As for how to actually conduct these sessions, I highly recommend you do it as a family. This conveys the message that this is a very important activity. Have some fun with this and write their responses down. If possible, capture the responses on a whiteboard, chalkboard, or flip chart for everyone to see. Make sure everyone agrees with everything on the list, then come up with these one or two word phrases that describe the things that you hear. Make sure that all of your responses are consistent and do not contradict others on the list.
Another tip that you might consider is capturing these discussions on video. The words and interactions will be precious to you later on in life. You might also find that items on these lists overlap. If so, then you might want to get those that appear on multiple lists onto just one of your lists for clarity sake. Finally, I think the most important tip is to set the ground rules that everyone’s opinion counts. Just because someone says something contradictory to the way the rest of the family responds doesn’t mean that they’re wrong – they just see things differently.
This is an important bonding time with your family. Enjoy it and have fun!
Application Question – Would you feel comfortable talking through this with your family? What approaches can you take to undo some of the bad culture that might already be in place? Your comments are welcome below.