We own a family business and the lines between business and family often become blurred.
It’s not always easy to remember which hat we are wearing at work; father/employer, hatchery assistant/wife, farm hand/son.
We have had a few trying days transitioning from work life to home and vice versa. There have been silent dinners and tensions that leaned toward dividing. Communication as a father or mother is much different than communication to an employee. Did you know that family members are much more familiar with it each other? What I mean by that is that we know each other better than anyone else and that lends to a familiarity. Familiarity leads to contempt.
We’ve seen this in our business. We wanted to build an amazing business but we were tearing our relationships apart. What a sad indictment. We were headed toward success in one direction and failure in another. Something had to change. Quickly.
We learned that the lines were being blurred because:
1. It’s too easy to allow reactions to flare out of control just because we can. Dangerous. We needed disciple and respect. It amazed us how disrespectful we had become to the people we really should be showing the most respect.
2. What happens in Vegas wasn’t staying in Vegas. In other words, we were taking what happened at home or at work to work or home with us. Work pressure or home pressure does not and can not belong in the other environment. This is hard to control when you live and work together 24/7. We had to have a clear plan for both.
3. Just because you have authority in one area does not mean you can use it where ever you please. I am mom at home but at work but, currently, I am under my stepson’s farmer manager authority. My husband is general manager at work but at home with adult children, he must be a father who respects their right to make their own life decisions.
4. Mistakes do not cross over either. Forgiveness must be offered quickly both at home and work. Mistakes made in our personal life do not necessarily effect our abilities to do a task well at work. Believe me! My family is much better at keeping things organised at work than they are at home. LOL. Motivation and priorities can be the same. The other side of the coin is that the leniency expected at home can not be tolerated at work. The cost may be too great.
5. We didn’t take necessary breaks from each other. I need Dee-time. It’s a must for me to keep my focus. I have to have time away so that I can assess quietly and honestly what I need to work on, refresh and then get back to building both family and business.
The simplest solution we found was to recognise the many hats we wear. Sometimes we have to take one hat off and put on the other. When we forget, the other family member will remind us, gently-now that we are learning, that we are wearing the wrong hat and a wardrobe change maybe in order. It’s quirky but it works for us. We have to be quick to recognise the error and adjust. It’s taken some time but I think we are pretty much on track. The lines are less blurry and we are building both a strong business and a strong family. However, I am looking forward to the day that I can retire…;-) for different reasons than family dynamics.