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管理

家庭经营之道

Laura Vanderkam 2013年03月20日

其实家庭也是一个组织,家庭成员也跟工作团队一样,只不过大家都是一个姓。因此,经营公司的某些理念也可以用来经营家庭生活。只要目标明确,肯动脑筋,愿意采取行动,善于经营,人人都可以拥有更幸福的家庭生活。

    如果你的工作日安排包括接连不断的会议,那么你最不想做的事情,就是在周末安排再安排一个会议,对吧?

    但是布鲁斯•费勒说,如果这是你和家人召开的会议,结果却可能让你感到惊讶。他是新书《幸福家庭的秘诀》(The Secrets of Happy Families)的作者,这本书提倡采用商业领域以研究为基础的最佳方法,用于管理不同人士(他们恰巧和你有同样的姓氏)构成的另一个复杂组织。

    费勒在电话采访中称:“我认为,过去一代人的家庭出现了两个巨大的变化:首先,女性已经进入职场,这是个争论不休的热门话题,”巧合的是,他在家乡佐治亚州萨凡纳说这番话的时候,正好待在他童年的卧室里。“但是另一个变化也很重要,却几乎从来没有人讨论过:男性进入了家庭领域。无论从哪方面来看,他们都比父辈更多地参与到了养育子女的活动中。”

    他说,这些现代的父母精通商业事务,“受够了家庭辅导行业提出让人厌倦的相同意见”。相反,“他们在尽量发挥自己作为职场父母的作用,而他们对结果更感兴趣”。谈到对人的管理,他们会说,“明白告诉我该怎么做。”

    这是过去几十年来各个组织一直研究的问题——他们的预算远远高于家庭辅导顾问的费用。费勒表示,具有讽刺意味的是,其中最好的理念会让职场中大多数人感到惊讶。

1. 召开员工会议

    如果广开言路,你的孩子会为家庭生活提出新的想法吗?他们会告诉你怎样做最好、怎样做不好吗?费勒指出:“一切都不再是自上而下。企业不再是自上而下的组织,政府不再是自上而下的机构。必须让最好的想法脱颖而出。必须听取父母和子女的想法,然后进行讨论。”大家的目标是什么?“能够随时做出改变。”

    召开简短的日常会议是讨论这些问题的最好时机。的确,许多企业员工患上了会议疲劳症,但是“在职场中,你可能每天开10次会议,而在家庭中,绝对不会开会。其实,20分钟的会议可以带来巨大的变化”。

    路易莎•罗杰斯是路易莎罗杰斯通信公司(Louisa Rogers Communications)的老板,她确立了每周三上午7点至8点和丈夫召开每周会议的传统,他们会利用这个指定的时间来讨论那些通常会导致抱怨和唠叨的婚姻问题,包括:财务、家务活、日程、假期、待办事项等等。她说:“如果出现任何破坏感情的问题,我们都会‘放在一边’——就像商务会议中‘暂停’浏览图标页面一样——我们知道需要先单独交流感情问题,然后再来处理业务问题。接下来,我们会在下周的商务会议上重新讨论原来的问题。我们知道,举行每周商务会议会释放我们生活中的很多压力,我们学会了如何区分战略问题和情感问题。”

    If your workday schedule includes meeting after meeting, the last thing you want to schedule on your weekend is another get-together with an agenda, right?

    If it's a meeting with your family, you might be surprised by the results, says Bruce Feiler, author of the new book The Secrets of Happy Families, which advocates using research-based best practices from the business world for running another complicated organization of diverse people (who just happen to share your last name).

    "I think that the two big changes in the family in the last generation are, first, that women have gone into the workplace, and that has been discussed endlessly," says Feiler in a telephone interview from -- appropriately enough -- his childhood bedroom, where he was staying while speaking in his hometown of Savannah, Ga. "But the other change is just as significant and is almost never discussed: Men have been flooding into the home space. They're much more involved in parenting by every measure than their fathers were."

    Such modern parents, well-versed in business, "are fed up with the same tired advice from the family improvement industry," he says. Instead, "they are trying to negotiate their own roles as working parents, and they're much more interested in results." When it comes to managing people, they say, "Tell me what works."

    That's a question organizations have been studying -- with much bigger budgets than family counselors have -- for decades. Ironically, some of the best ideas, Feiler suggests, are the ones that inspire the most eye-rolling at work.

1. Start a staff meeting

    Can your children suggest new ideas for family life in a context where they'll be heard? Can they tell you what's working and what isn't? "Nothing is top-down anymore. Business is not top-down anymore, government is not top-down anymore," notes Feiler. "You have to let the best ideas win. You have to take ideas from parents, from children, and then discuss it." The goal? "To be able to change in real time."

    A short, regular meeting is a perfect occasion for such debates. Yes, many corporate warriors suffer from meeting fatigue, but "in the workplace, you might have 10 meetings in a day, whereas in a family you have absolutely no meetings. One 20-minute meeting can make a massive difference."

    Louisa Rogers, owner of Louisa Rogers Communications, instituted a weekly meeting on Wednesday mornings from 7-8 a.m. with her husband so they'd have a designated time for discussing those marital issues that often lead to complaints and nagging: finances, house stuff, calendar, vacations, to-do items, etc. "If any issue got emotionally sticky, we'd put it aside" -- like the "parking lot" flip chart page during a business meeting -- "knowing we'd need to have a separate conversation first about the emotions before we could deal with the 'business' part. Then we would revisit the original issue at the following week's business meeting. Knowing we'd have this weekly business meeting took a lot of stress out of our lives, and we learned how to separate tactical issues from emotional ones."

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