Every three years Quakerdale enters a strategic planning process. For us the planning has been happening for months, but the actual sessions start next month. In these meetings our board and some staff will be talking about important topics like:
- Mission, vision and values of Quakerdale
- Trends in our culture
- Things that make Quakerdale remarkable or set us apart
- Opportunities and threats to consider
- New ideas to start
- Old things to end
Thinking about this caused me to think about family (strategic) planning. Early before our marriage we had exciting planning discussions when we talked about our hopes and dreams. We reflected on our past and talked about where we wanted to go. We talked about things happening in our culture and what we thought about them. We talked about who we were and what made “us” remarkable as individuals and as a team. It was just two of us and things were much more simple… and overwhelming too!
No, we didn’t call it family strategic planning or anything like that… we were just surveying where we were and where we’d been as we embarked on this huge journey together called marriage. Things were new. We didn’t know each other as well as we do after 26 years of marriage. We had big ideas, few resources and plenty of question marks! We were talking about life together – forever. We were being strategic and it was exciting. The world was a wide open place and we were ready to experience it – together.
But why do so many couples fail to do what viable organizations and companies do and think like we did before we got married after we get married? Why do we plan at the beginning and then just let life sweep us up? Except for some major purchases like a home, job changes or major health challenges through the years couples don’t talk and plan like we did at the beginning and it certainly isn’t done in an organized disciplined way?
“Honey, lets talk about the future on June 10th… OK? And then three years out lets plan to do it again”
I encourage you and your spouse (and you could invite the kids if you want) to take a day and consider these same questions Quakerdale planning strategically about for your marriage or family:
- What is our family Mission, Vision and Values
- (why do we stick together, what is important to us, how do we choose to interact within and outside our family)
- What trends in our culture impact our family and how can we respond
- (Post Christian culture, healthcare, technology, Sexually charged culture, economy/job availability)
- Things, traditions, or characteristics that make our family remarkable or set us apart
- (truth telling, hobbies, no phones during meals, individualistic, accepting, hard working, tight knit)
- What types of opportunities and threats are we moving toward
- (internet, social media, financial, maturing children, Older age, college debt)
- New ideas to start
- (Church/community involvement, go back to school, new traditions, exercise, travel, mission/service plans, eating habits, etc.)
- Old things to end
- (A job, feeling helpless, wasting time watching TV, spending money on ___? ___)
These questions are pertinent at all ages and phases of life.
I wonder what it would take for couples (no matter if they have 3 months, 3 years or 30 years of history together to consider doing some healthy reflection on where they are, who they are and where they want to go the next two or three years… What if couples and families were more strategic and planned regularly?
I encourage you to be strategic as a couple and a family and see what happens! Don’t wait for outside persons, or a crisis to sweep you up and control your future.
John Maxwell, a world recognized speaker, teacher and training leadership has a great training on intentional living. Maxwell does personal planning each year for himself. It is hard to grow and plan as a family if you are not growing and planning as an individual!
Next we will talk a little about action planning and how Quakerdale takes big strategic issues and begins to break them down into small steps. If you and your spouse or your family has ever done a family planning session together we would enjoy hearing what you did and how it went. Please share in the comments or send us an email!
The Quakerdale Team