I love a good management book. Maybe it’s the thought that with each page I might find magic solutions to my ineffectiveness and ignorance. That’s yet to happen but still I’ve been helped by much of what I’ve read, including works by Patrick Lencioni recently recommended to me by David Snyder and Ralph Cunnington.
Partick Lencioni is a team work expert and writes books for business leaders but in an intriguing departure he’s also written a book for parents. “3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family” seeks to apply what he’s learnt from managing teams to home life and it starts with the premise that if businesses were run in the way many of our family lives are run they would quickly go bust. Lack of focus, unclear goals, disconnected thoughtless activity pulling in multiple directions marks much of our family life and we’re the worse for it according to Lencioni. Helpfully appreciating that the complexities of business administration don’t easily scan onto family life the book homes in on 3 questions to answer:
- What is unique about your family? What are the strengths and weaknesses you have, what do you like/dislike, what are your values and priorities?
- What is your family’s top priority right now? This isn’t a for all time priority but a 2-6month priority, what is it that you’re aiming to achieve and how are you going to go about doing it?
- How will you keep these answers alive? What will you do to remember these answers and let them shape what you do? He recommends meetings!
Lencioni isn’t writing just for Christians, nor is the book an expressly Christian book although Lencioni himself is a Roman Catholic and is very open about his faith in his writing but still I’m convinced the book would be really helpful for any busy family in church, and here’s why…
Not only does Lencioni’s plan help you get organised (which is a big help in any family) but also he helpfully steers us away from just copying each other and doing what other families do in the absence of a thoughtful plan of our own. Mindless comparison has been around forever but social media has given us a window into each other’s lives which strengthens that curse; they seem to be having such a good time in Spain on holiday, we should go there, their house looks beautiful we should make ours like that etc, etc. Lencioni doesn’t put it like this but his first big question is founded on the truth that God has uniquely made us with particular strengths and weaknesses, characters and opportunities and as a family reflecting on those and coming up with a plan to be the most god honouring, effective, and purposeful as we can be is what we’re called to do. Of course in a church family we hope that each home is God facing and gospel centred; committed to reading the scriptures, praying and saying sorry, yet still within that there is great variety and we should live that out to his glory.