What is the Best Way to Set Family Goals?

My wife and I have been setting family goals since the day we were married...literally! After our wedding ceremony we were sitting on a plane, which was delayed, headed to our honeymoon and my wife turned to me and said, "Let's plan out our first five years, including what we will name our kids". She had a huge smile on her face, and being a newlywed I knew I couldn't tell her, "No, let's just relax". So we started planning and goal setting. Little did I know that over the next seventeen years she would be the driving force behind our major family goals. Since that day in the airplane we have used many methods for setting family goals. Most recently we've been using Patrick Lencioni's book The 3 Big Questions For a Frantic Family to help us set one short term goal for our family over a specific period of time. We really enjoy this method and have used it to help us prepare for Sarah (my wife) to be a stay home mom, to pay off student loan debt, and for me to change careers. In his book, Lencioni has you work through a Frantic Family Model which asks you three very important questions:

  1. What makes your family unique?
  2. What is your top priority - rallying cry - right now?
  3. How do you talk about and use the answers to these questions?

We have loved using this method of setting family goals because it requires us to boil down everything we want to achieve to one top priority over the next two to six months. We've discovered if we are focused on too many family goals we tend to react to whatever issues present themselves each day. Covey referred to this as focusing on the "tyranny of the urgent". There is tremendous power in being laser focused on one priority for a specific period of time. It helps guide your decisions and brings unity to your entire family around your goal.

We've used the Frantic Family Model multiple times throughout a year. Each time we achieve our goal we go through the questions again and set a new goal for us all to be focused on together. I don't know if there is any one perfect way to set family goals, but I do know that whatever method you choose your goals need to be SMART Goals and that you need to have a commitment from everyone in the family to be accountable to them.

Make it a great day!

Coach Dan