Using Business Tools in the Home

So we’ve noticed that a lot of times when people embrace building a multi generational team on mission, they begin to bring home a lot of traditional business tools. And so, I want to go back and forth with Jeff and talk about what are some tools that maybe you learned in business or trying to do things productively outside of the home that you brought into the home. And a lot of this is because people oftentimes really want to create a separation. Sometimes that’s really healthy between their work life and their home life. But one of the things we’re really encouraging guys to do is make your house a productive center of missional activity. And to do that, you need to begin to bring some of these productivity tools into the home. And so I’m going to start with the first one.

The first one, one of my favorites is whiteboards. So we got whiteboards all over the house. We’ve got systems on whiteboards in different places in the house. When we have family meetings, we use whiteboards. And so, this is one of the things that I just started to embrace. There’s probably at least 20 whiteboards in our house? And so, this one comes with a dad joke. If you start putting whiteboards all over the house and your kids start wondering like, “Oh my gosh, why does dad love whiteboards so much?” You say, “Because I think they’re remarkable.” And that will make them grown and love your whiteboards. But Jeff, what’s your first one?

That’s good. That’s good. No, I agree. And I think this is so important. And the one thing I would say too is why this is important is like there’s not much difference at the level of organizational, right? Like a healthy business is a healthy organization and a healthy family as a healthy organization. And so, there’s a lot of things that are parallel. Mine’s really simple going back to almost 1990s business, but email, right? I think one of us… The thing that’s been really helpful to me and Alyssa is we use email for a lot of our communication. Of course, you can do texts at some level, and of course you can do face to face. But I list specifically with our conflict styles and specifically with our communication styles, we’ve noticed that doing more serious type things on email, for example, the way that usually plays out is Alyssa has to process and think on something for awhile. And she doesn’t like doing those in the middle of a conversation like I do. So she’ll email that to me and know that she’ll usually have a day or two for me to read it and see it and kind of give her some space and distance from it while she’s still processing. It’s just this perfect little separation.

And then we also use it for a lot of practical stuff for to do’s. I kind of use my email as my to do list. So I tell her like, “Hey, if you want anything done in there, you got to put it in there. Right? If you want me to pay someone back on Venmo, because I do all the Venmo’s. If you want me to do this, you want to pick this up at Home Depot. Like it’s got to go on email.” And that’s just a weird one, but it’s really, really worked for us. That’s one I’d say.

I love that one. Yeah. April and I email each other all the time because we batch, oftentimes we’re sitting right next to each other, emailing each other for the same reason. Because we’re trying to batch our to do lists to become more productive. And so, we’ve done that a lot.

Okay. The third one is this one we just started the last few weeks and this is maybe for older families. And that is that we’ve set all of our kids, Amie and April, up on Slack. So if you guys use Slack, we use that a ton at work. We use it for family teams. And so, we created an entire Slack. We geeked out on it and it’s all based around Star Trek. So every single one of the channels is based on a different room in the Enterprise. And we’re all different characters. We’re all in there planning things and talking about where we’re going. That’s the transporter room or vacations things are the holodeck. Anything that’s really central to the house is on the bridge. And I get to be Jean Luc Picard, but with hair. So that’s awesome. That’s what we kind of have fun with. But we’ve just been getting really into that and it’s been a super fun way for us to be interacting, telling jokes, sharing things with each other much more realtime on something like Slack.

Yeah. Slack set itself up really, really well to be like a short burst kind of active live communication tool while also being able to do the heavy lifting of like management. So I love Slack as well. Another one I would say is quarterly planning or yearly planning. You’ve heard us talk about the yearly summits, but I think treat your home like a business treats their schedule. So that we kind of do the week with that. And then we, I would say where we kind of like look through the week, whether it’s a Monday meeting or Sunday meeting. And then same thing with quarterly. We really look back on goals and kind of how we’ve assessed and how we’ve kind of looked through of what we want to accomplish, what we want to do, assess what our word for the year is and how that’s been going and all these different things. So that’s only three or four times a year.

And then we also do that with the kids, right? This family scouting report, if you guys don’t know what that is, go to familyteams.com/scoutingreport, but something like that as well. We would revisit that quarterly and stuff like that. So I think kind of some type of quarterly, a little bit more all hands on deck, half day type, summit type thing, is really, really helpful.

Very cool. Yeah. And so, the last one is Google calendar. So it took me like two years at least to get April to get on Google calendar. She loves paper calendars and I think those are really good for the home. And by the way, some of these it’s okay to resist some of these, but there comes a certain point where it becomes not worth it. Like in other words, the complexity of all the family stuff requires upgrading your toolset. Don’t just upgrade your tool set because you want to have sophisticated tools in the home, upgrade your tool set because things are too complex and you need a more complex or more fully featured tool for that problem.

And so, really this year we got to a place where there was just no way we’re going to make it without being synced up on Google calendar. So April made the switch. It’s been awesome. And we invite each other to events. We’re both showing up on time to things. We know where each other are at and it’s actually been helping us out a lot. So that was a tough transition for her. I’ve been on there for a long time, but that really helped our family. So those are some ideas for you guys. Again, bring some of these tools into the home. Make sure that you sync up and talk about which ones you’re ready for. Don’t just do it to do it. But sometimes you do need to level up your tools because you’re trying to accomplish a bigger mission or trying to coordinate a lot of people or a lot of complexity.

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