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The Secret to Working Together as a Family

Controlling adults is a strategy that often pays off in the short-term and alwaysbackfires in the long-term.

We have two adult children living and working with us on a daily basis.

I’ve found four words that have helped me work closely with other adults, whether it be my wife, my kids or my friends, without compromising the relationships.

Those four magic words are… low control, high accountability.

Almost no one is naturally good at creating a low control, high accountability culture. This is a skill that must be learned.

Some people are wired to create a high control culture where things get done, but over time relationships begin to wear out under the suffocation.

Others create a low control culture where productivity sinks over time. Selfish adults take advantage of the situation and anyone with self-discipline feels a growing resentment.

But if you want any chance of having a healthy culture as your kids move into adulthood you must learn the skill of low control, high accountability.

Creating this culture is why families that work together must have regular meetings. 

It’s fashionable to poke fun at meetings as a waste of time and they often are, but, if led well, they are the best way to ensure high accountability.

While your kids are still young, get in the habit of having a weekly meeting with your spouse where you agree to get things done. Then resist the urge to constantly remind each other of your agreements. Treat one another like adults. No micromanagement. No nagging. Just wait a week. The weekly meeting is coming.

At the next meeting hold one another accountable. If things don’t get done, take time to talk about why. Discuss how fulfilling commitment is helping the family, and have the courage to talk about how failing commitments is hurting the family. 

Apologize and forgive. Help one another create systems to increase productivity. Then try again, and hold each other accountable again and again. Don’t neglect accountability even if it’s hard to face the facts. Even if failure is repeated. Your ability to work as a family team in the long-term is likely hanging in the balance. You must learn this skill!

This is the hard work of creating a team culture where adults can thrive.

When your kids come of age you’ll be ready to bring them into a culture where the groundwork is laid, where work is productive and relationships are healthy at the same time.

History has taught us that families that learn how to work together across generations change the world.


This entry is a part of Jeremy’s Journal, a newsletter Jeremy sends out every Wednesday morning to encourage you on your parenting journey. You can sign up to get them every Wednesday here.

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