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Also, you can print lots of free, full-color literature to help you get started in the classroom. Have some fun. Are you up for a vocabulary challenge? Play Rewordo and Difficult Hangman. Be aware: they're not easy. So his lecture was helpful. And I thought it was very interesting. Is that really it? It was really just an expression. I hope you told them that I was out of town and that my calendar was double-booked. And they were completely understanding. Theresa continued.
In fact, it makes no sense at all. We like the idea that we can just live our home lives by the seats of our pants, without any real cost. And no one gets fired for doing a lousy job. He moved quickly to clarify. But I appreciate the clarification. The most organized people I know get by with a computer and a whiteboard with a calendar on it, but that hardly constitutes a purposeful approach to domestic management. Theresa was going to drive the conversation. We use mostly the same approach for all our clients.
We would usually begin by asking them about the reason the company was initially started. The core purpose. Or is it pretty much the same from one family to another? It might be a little overkill to actually spell it out. What do you think? Theresa and Jude read it a few times and decided that their purpose statement was a good one. Just ten minutes later they were back at the table ready to compare notes. Theresa asked Jude to go first. What did you come up with?
I also have humility. You always deflect attention away from yourself. Maybe to a fault, but I love it anyway. Can you give me an example from the business world? But especially when it comes to values. See, one of their values is humor. They just try to make it fun, for passengers and employees alike.
Jude continued his story. Why not try to keep her as a customer? Jude pressed on. I also have self-control, compassion, and respect. Theresa laughed. For the next few minutes the leaders of the Cousins family refined their list and settled on passion, humility, and compassion. Theresa typed those words immediately beneath the Core Purpose statement they had settled on earlier. Can we pick this up tomorrow night? We have back-to-school night. Which reminds me that I have to get another babysitter. Theresa found another Diet Coke in the back of the fridge and went back to the kitchen table.
It was time to take on strategy. I wonder how late she was up. When he came home sweaty from his three-mile workout, he found out. But we have a date tonight after back-to-school night, right? By the time evening rolled around, Theresa was feeling the effects of having burned the midnight oil, but she was glad to be going out on a date with her husband, even if it was just back-to-school night at St. Because they had three girls at St. After an hour of presentations and conversations, they headed for Starbucks. On the way, Theresa shared some news about one of their daughters that concerned her.
Schroeder said that Emily was crying at lunch yesterday. Schroeder said it was the third time. She really wants to play with Hailey. That kind of stuff stinks. Do you? Who makes these rules? Do these people think their daughters are going to play on the Olympic team? Do they think soccer is going to be their life? But then again, who are we to judge? When we were kids, you could do both. After a full thirty seconds of silence, she finally spoke.
Lord of the Flies
Somewhere slower. Somewhere simpler. This is not how I envisioned life. Is this how you thought it would be? I guess not. While standing in line, Theresa shifted gears and attempted to set the stage for the meeting they had gone there to have. Or at least what I think they are. As always, the temperature inside the place was freezing. Realizing the limited time they had, Jude got things moving.
Theresa sensed that he was skeptical. What is the larger reason? But everyone wants that? I mean, we always said we wanted to find every way possible to give our kids 94 Lencioni. How would your sister feel about hearing this? To be purposeful about it all. We deal with it at work too. Other people work parttime because they need more income so they go on really nice vacations. No need to get excited. Every decision is like reinventing the wheel. Should 96 Lencioni.
Should we move into a bigger house? Teach the kids to ski? Talk to them about sex?
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Adopt a baby? Buy organic groceries? Let Sophia watch SpongeBob? And for a split second it looked like she was about to cry. Theresa cleared her throat. She was one of the best players in the Pony League last year. These are just little girls after all. Between Bible study and carpool 99 Lencioni.
Which I love. Theresa hesitated. We can have this one done in two days. At home. Playing games. Watching movies. Just being together. Somehow now it seems like a pipe dream. If we can just find a way to stop reacting to every request to join a committee or have someone over for a sleepover or to sign up for every sport that the neighbors sign up for or go on vacation to the same places that everyone else goes to.
Getting home. Jude thought out loud. Jude usually tried to use humor in these situations to avoid an emotional conversation. Jude had no choice now. Really, I do. She three-hole punched it, slipped it into a binder, and put a cover page on it with the same name. With a sense of satisfaction, relief, and exhaustion, she put the binder on the shelf above her desk in the kitchen and went to bed. The next few days were particularly busy, with Jude out of town one night and the girls starting to bring home more homework than they were used to. The weekend was filled with one of the first soccer tournaments of the year, which meant four games spread across two fields in different parts of town.
The next week was no calmer, and it included appointments with the allergy doctor as well as a baby shower for a friend. Theresa was always amazed at how just two Lencioni. Soon enough, Theresa was back in the survival groove, trying to stay ahead of the daily schedule and get a little free time to watch an hour of TV with Jude. At times she would try to convince herself that she had overreacted, that the life she was living was inevitable, and that she could manage getting by like this for another ten or fifteen years.
But every night she went to bed with a subtle but undeniable sense that she was failing, that there was a good chance she would never put her plan to work, and that moving was looking better and better. Deciding that a good way to increase her chances would be to share it with others, she invited a handful of friends for lunch later in the week to learn her new system.
Of course, she had to invite Kelly Horan and Alison Marsh, given their initial conversations. With her youngest child in high school, Jan had recently returned to work as a behavioral therapist in the school system. The meeting would not be a disappointment. At least not initially. Though she knew each of the women fairly well and was comfortable with them on an individual basis, Theresa was surprised to find herself somewhat nervous now that she was actually speaking to them as a group.
Luckily, she found that her attack of nerves dissipated quickly. She then told them about the lecture that Rob had delivered, and her subsequent conversations with Jude. Finally, she presented the six elements of organizational clarity, followed by a brief overview of the first draft of the Cousins Family Plan. There were plenty of questions and comments and enthusiastic laughter about the frantic states of their respective families. And it was clear that each of them would have different answers for the questions Theresa put before them.
After a little more than an hour, the eclectic collection of moms left the Cousins house excited about discussing the ideas with their husbands and putting them to work in their homes. Or so Theresa thought. One morning, as she fed Michael while Jude ate cereal, Theresa vented to her husband. This takes awhile. Remember when Nora Galvez tried to get us to go Lencioni.
Give them time. Jude got up to clean the mess, without missing a beat. Besides, he was doing his best not to get peaches on his slacks. Trying to understand the difference between strategy and values and goals and purpose and profit and whatever. Diving back into this stuff after being out of it for a while is a little intimidating. Maybe it needs to be simpler. Which is more often than not. And since they pay us plenty of money, they have an incentive to figure it out.
Jude continued. Normally Jude would have encouraged her to go to bed and get some rest, but he knew she needed to work this out. It was a good decision on his part. I need to talk to you. It was I think I figured it out. Come on. Looking at the computer screen, she began. Is it values or strategy or core purpose? Any of them.
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But you know, a group of executives might have the time and the energy to split those hairs. But for most families, just knowing what makes them unique is enough. They just need to get some messy clarity out there and use it. And all they need to do is answer two questions. But before he could, Theresa cut him off. You know businesses better than I do. But I think I know families better.
But there is one thing that still bothers me a little. Or maybe I should have Rob do it. You can explain it to me. How long will it take? Twenty, tops. What would we have to do to make this a reality? Maybe measure exactly how much time we need to spend together? Jude shook his head. What would the other defining objectives be? We probably need to do a little less with other families, and more with just the six of us. Not just the kids, but you and me too. Theresa got up to attend to the coffee. I think that may be the key to all of this, giving a little context to the hundreds of things we need to do.
You really are much smarter than you look. Theresa winced. You want me to cut back my travel. I need to start being more discerning when it comes to getting on planes. I just have to do it. Usually when I bring that up it turns into an argument.
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Now that we have this goal of increasing family time, I realize that I have no choice. Suddenly Theresa had an inspiration. And I think that being a good mom is more important for the next few years. I can always be on the board when the kids are older. If we can find ways to cut back on extracurriculars, do a little less socializing with other families, stop watching so much TV, make our family vacations a priority, and cut back on your travel a little, I can honestly say that it would make a big difference.
But no. We might not have to move. Theresa ignored his comment. We have one last step. The defining objectives might include redesigning the company logo, producing new television commercials, changing the Web site, hiring a new PR firm, that kind of stuff. What about the stuff they have to do just to stay in business? Like sales? The stuff that is always important. Revenue, expenses, widget manufacturing, employee morale, customer satisfaction.
Whatever was key to running their business last year and the year before that, as well as this year, next year, and the year after that. Theresa stood to get more coffee. Theresa took a breath. What else? Church, Bible study, nightly prayers as a family. I think there are probably a few more.
The kids need to be doing well in school and learning at the right pace. We need to spend time together more regularly, going on dates, hanging out, playing kissy face. Jude nodded. Jude smiled. It should be simple. The point is not to have a plan with a thousand different to-do items. They just need a clear overall priority to give them context, and then the basic building blocks of that priority. And how do we avoid letting it collect dust in a folder somewhere?
Then something dawned on him. It is the basis for almost every conversation they have. And then they look at the standard stuff in the lower row, like revenue, expenses, customer satisfaction, etcetera. Are there some sort of metrics that they look at? Our clients use the colors. And they like it. For one, that would be a waste of precious time. Second, it would be boring. Executives are paid the big bucks for using their judgment in most cases. Gradually the confusion faded. Just that you were right. But I really wish I could start testing this stuff and putting it into practice right now.
Her phone rang, and she looked to see who it was. The caller I. Theresa clicked on her cell phone. Theresa released just enough pressure from the brake under her right foot to allow her van to roll forward until it made contact with the Suburban in front of her. I just hit the car in front of me.
Gotta go. In fact, she was smiling as though she were anticipating the embarrassment of the driver behind her. Theresa stepped out of her minivan. Two minutes later, both women were back in their cars. As unremarkable as the fender bump had been, it generated some attention from the largely unoccupied moms sitting in their vehicles nearby. Now, Theresa knew Mrs. But as sweet as the Lencioni. So Theresa put her cell phone in her purse in the hopes of concealing any evidence of her crime. Hourigan knew the first names of most of the parents in her school, but liked to refer to them more formally when students were around.
Hourigan gave Theresa a mock scowl. I might have to keep you in detention. Jude and I will be there. After the cell phone infraction, she felt compelled to please Mrs. Did I just say that? Hourigan was hugging her through the window. Do you know how happy I am and how glad I am that I saw you today? Inside, she was screaming noooooo!!! She decided that having the kids around might diminish the magnitude of his reaction.
After telling him about the happenings of the day and the seemingly inconsequential fender bender in the school parking lot, she went for it. What is it? Perhaps her frightening intro had lulled him into a temporary state of relief. In a matter of seconds, however, he came to. Jude took a breath. Just call her tomorrow and tell her you made a mistake. Jude, you should have seen how happy she was.
And without another word she left the room. Jude started collecting dishes and scooping out ice cream for the girls, and even a little for Michael. Before he had set the last of the desserts down, Theresa returned, looking decidedly more peaceful than she had just ten minutes ago. Noticing the change, Jude had to ask. What did she say? In fact, she put me in charge of helping her recruit someone, which I gladly agreed to do.
She then went into her bedroom and sprawled out on the floor. When Jude came home from work, she handed it to him for his review before saying hello. He was surprised by the brevity of the document, as well as its clarity. When Jude came into the kitchen after reading the short document, he had hoped to make some sort of joke. You did a great job, Theresa.
What is the most important priority in our lives right now? Between now and Christmas, the Cousins family will take steps to spend more peaceful, alone time together as a family. How will we keep these things alive? It will be a different world. I just want to have a say in the craziness.
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Instead, she would take it upon herself to teach them and their husbands, one by one. She started with the family she thought would be easiest: Rob and Linda Groninger. Fortunately, she proved right. Sitting down at the Groninger kitchen table one evening while their girls were doing homework in another part of the house, Theresa began by admitting that she was a little nervous because Rob knew the fundamentals behind her theories better than she did. But he set her straight. And besides, you need to be able to do this with confidence and conviction.
But it turned out to be exactly what Theresa needed to hear. What our families lack more than anything else is context. One by one, Theresa explained the meaning behind the questions. Then she took them through the strategy exercise, something that Rob was particularly impressed with.
Free Thought Lives
Theresa pretended to be incredulous. This is all me, baby. Whenever they got bogged down, Theresa would say, Lencioni. Just get it going in the right direction. We are a family that values candor and humor and forgiveness. Our extended family is our primary set of friends. Linda had a question. Is the public service part a value or a strategy? Theresa pushed on to the second question. A small company in a crisis will have a very short-term rallying cry. A government agency or a university will almost always have a longer one.
Somewhere in between is usually right, and I think for a family two to six months sounds about right. In just five minutes, Linda suggested a rallying cry. So I think the rallying cry should be something shorter, maybe one of the first big steps in the process. There are financial factors. Will we have to move out? What can we really afford? The other kind of goals—what do you call them? Once we get that done, we can move on to the next phase. She then took the Groningers through the quick process of identifying their standard objectives, which turned out to be very similar to those of the Cousins.
Finances, Family extended , Faith, Fidelity marriage , and Feducation. Rob really wanted to make them all start with the same letter. Finally, Theresa asked question number three. How often are you going to talk about your progress? And just like that, less than ninety minutes after arriving, Theresa was walking out the door with her first counseling session done. Sadly, her next one would not be so easy.
She and Jude had known them for a number of years, and had even vacationed with them once in Oregon. Scott and Jude golfed occasionally, and were certainly friends, if not close ones. Theresa thought that their closeness would make Scott more open to her ideas than a less familiar husband. And being a little inconsiderate, too. You can sit here for the next. Besides, you can TiVo the baseball game and watch it later tonight. Concerned about holding his attention, Theresa went fast. Alison did. What family are you part of, Scott?
We are totally frantic. Do you remember last weekend? Do you really believe that, Scott? Alison hesitated, took a breath, and smiled. Alison continued. Like you do at work. Our practice is completely screwed up. She regrouped. We wait for a patient to complain before coming up with a plan. I barely have enough time to see my regular patients, let alone get more of them. Her husband had always been a tender and loving soulmate before he had left for the wars but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable.
She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love. When one ailment or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. Not Yun Ok. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. She was desperate. As Yun Ok approached the hermit's hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: "I hear you.
What's your problem? His back still to her, he said, "Ah yes, it's often that way when soldiers return from the war. What do you expect me to do about it? Come back then. There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger. He turned his back. As you can see, I'm very busy. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger?
The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away. The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave.
She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue. She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast. So it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger thank goodness for that! Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger's head poking out of its cave.
Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty. After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away again, thank goodness!
Another month went by. Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat. Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: "Oh, my tiger, may I please have just one of your whiskers?
She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time. The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. She ran to the hermit's hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: "I have it! I have the tiger's whisker! With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant.
Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly? Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. She knew what she could do. The hedgehogs It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold. The hedgehogs, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions.
After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.
Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive. The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities.
The fence There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down.
He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.
The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret later. Your influence on the universe I read the first chapter of "A Brief History Of Time" when Dad was still alive, and I got incredibly heavy boots about how relatively insignificant life is, and how, compared to the universe and compared to time, it didn't even matter if I existed at all. When Dad was tucking me in that night and we were talking about the book, I asked if he could think of a solution to that problem.
Affronted, the factory owner demands an itemised version. The sovereign had dinner and went to bed. Wishing to show their generosity, they placed a huge goatskin bottle before his door and agreed to fill it up with milk for the royal breakfast. The villagers all had to milk their goats and then each of them had to tip his bucket into the container. Given its great size, each of them said to himself that he might just as well dilute his milk with a good quantity of water without anyone noticing. To the extent that, in the morning, such a thin liquid was poured out for the king and his court that it had no taste than the taste of meanness and greed.
One frog was fat and the other skinny. One day, while searching for food, they inadvertently jumped into a vat of milk. They couldn't get out, as the sides were too slippery, so they were just swimming around. The fat frog said to the skinny frog, "Brother frog, there's no use paddling any longer.
We're just going to drown, so we might as well give up. Somebody will get us out. After a while, the fat frog said, "Brother frog, there's no use. I'm becoming very tired now. I'm just going to stop paddling and drown. It's Sunday and nobody's working.