Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday: Mom or Dad as CEO

I receive weekly "MBA Monday" emails from a website I love called DailyLit. Usually the posts are confusing and hard to understand so I just delete them. But this week's really struck me with its description of What a CEO Does.

I asked a very experienced VC who had been in the business around 25 years, "what exactly does a CEO do?"
He answered without thinking:
A CEO does only three things. Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders. Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.
I asked, "Is that it?"He replied that the CEO should delegate all other tasks to his or her team.
I’ve thought about that advice so often over the years. I evaluate CEOs on these three metrics all the time. I’ve learned that great CEOs can and often will do a lot more than these three things. And that is OK.
But I have also learned that if you cannot do these three things well, you will not be a great CEO.
I've read in numerous books and articles that running a family is a lot like running a business. So when I read that, I thought, I bet that's a lot like what it takes to be a great mom.

A mom needs to decide (with her husband) on a vision for their family. As a mom, I'll need to decide what our family stands for and the kind of people we hope to be. I hope my future husband and I can stay focused on our vision for the family, keeping our "eyes on the prize" of producing happy, healthy, holy adults - and not get frustrated when a badly-behaved 5-year-old or angsty teenager makes that vision seem impossibly far away. We'll have to keep the whole family oriented toward that vision and faithful to our strategy for achieving it - just like a CEO would do.

While parents don't get to seek out "the very best talent" for their families, they do get the privilege of nurturing the "talent" God gave them into the very best it can be. After all, God picked these people out for the family; I don't think you can get a better recruiter. As a parent, I hope I can support, respect and nourish my kids into fulfilling the utmost of their God-given abilities and help them grow into genuinely good human beings. Then I can sit back, relax and let them loose on society. :)

And finally, "make sure there is enough cash in the bank." This might just be the roughest part of a parent's day-to-day practical life: budgeting, planning and saving to provide for the things children need, some things they want and a few unexpected emergencies. I read a fascinating blog post about financial awareness last week that inspired me. Even though having kids is still pretty far off on my horizon, I'd like to start planning and preparing now so I won't have any huge financial worries when that time comes. Oh, and I'd love to ace that portion of the pre-Cana test.

Besides that, I loved the part about delegating. I suspect that delegating is going to be one of the best parts of being a mom. As my high school friend Teresa's mom used to say, "Why do you think I had all these kids? So I would never have to clean the house or do laundry again." Kidding, of course, but "many hands make light work" and even a very little kid can do a lot to help out.

Have you ever heard this idea of a parent being like the CEO of a family business? What else does a mom need to do besides the stuff on this list?

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