While motherhood is the career I have always coveted, my career was management. I find I use the concepts from my business world and my mothering interchangeably. It’s a process of incorporating communication, organization and everyday ideas into life. It’s the balance of a community and watching personal growth. The Family ROI takes all this and creates a simple step-by-step guide to realizing your best family.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a creative look at the family and applying time-tested business techniques to the family unit. After all, my family is very similar to the businesses I have worked within…we identify with who we are, we set goals and we work diligently to see that the daily operations run smoothly. It’s effective management on the homefront.
In The Family ROI Experience: A Step-by-Step Guide to Realizing Your Best Family, co-authors Barbara Fagan-Smith and Lesli Gee ask readers to apply time-tested business techniques to their family unit. The new book is modeled after their work with Family ROI, a nonprofit organization they founded, which hosts weekend retreats to teach guests how to use strategic planning tools, culture building practices, and communication strategies to realize and achieve the goals they have for their families.
Fagan-Smith and Gee conducted their first Family ROI retreat in 2005. In 2007, the New Zealand Families Commission adopted the program and, today, the New Zealand Foundation for Child and Family Health and Development shares it with families throughout the country.
The book has a unique core. Users employ a “journey map” en route to strengthening their family. This “journey map” has four stops to center on:
- Communication: Families learn strategies to communicate clearly and compassionately with one another. Once they have developed these foundational tools, they can move on to other stops along the map.
- Culture: Family members discover who they are collectively as a family – including their core values, traditions, and daily agreements.
- Mission: Families explore where they are headed and the steps necessary to make their vision a reality.
- Practices: Families examine and improve their day-to-day tasks.
The book is not only a step-by-step guide but also a work book. There are family activities all members can do together (I use to call this Team Building) as well as stories from real people who have completed the process.
I really enjoyed the chapter on Communication. There’s a great chart on page 33 that dissects the art of communication. It uses two animals a Jackal and a Giraffe. The chart summarizes and explains the Compassionate Communication Circle. It is basic and I loved that because I think sometimes we tend to complicate the way we communicate, especially with our loved ones.
This book is a must-read. I learned so much and slowly we are implementing it into the dynamics of our family.
About the Authors
Barbara Fagan-Smith and Lesli Gee both hold executive positions at ROI Communication, a management consulting firm in San Francisco that challenges business leaders to better articulate their vision, improve corporate communication, and shape lasting company culture. In 2011, ROI Communication was named one of the “Top Businesses in America” by DiversityBusiness.com and has been recognized as one of the top 25 women-owned businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past five years. Working Mother named it one of the country’s “Best Small Companies” in 2007.
Fagan-Smith is the CEO of ROI Communication and on the executive board of the International Association of Business Communicators. The San Jose/Silicon Valley Business Journal named her one of Silicon Valley’s 100 Most Influential Women in 2011. In 2008, Fagan-Smith was selected as a winner of the Enterprising Women of the Year Awards, an annual tribute to North America’s top women entrepreneurs. She’s married with two children.
Gee is a senior vice president at ROI Communication, where she has designed and facilitated change and communication strategies for managers and employees around the world. She is married with three children.
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