There are many stepfamilies in our circle. We know them from school, work, church and even in our individual extended families. We are good families. We navigate through the land mines of step hood with the grace of a ballerina. Things blow up, but they don't destroy us. We are good. But how do you go from Good to Great? How do you go to the next level, where things aren't just maintaining, but thriving and moving and growing...
We are studying the book "Good to Great" in my professional circles and I have learned that some of the same principles that apply to moving businesses in this direction can apply to the complex "business" of stepfamilies.
One of the methodologies they cover is the Level 5 Leadership concept. Level 5 leaders (in our case John and I) have to be humble on a personal level but possess a great drive and desire to succeed. The success is not viewed as personal(he and I ), but corporate (family). Level 5 leaders are not "rock star" or celebrity leaders, whereas the boat will fall apart after they are off the scene. They empower others to lead and to grow. They are diligent and hardworking and lead by example by being in the trenches rather than barking from the balcony. I am seeing the importance of this now as my children are living on their own. They haven't fallen apart because they aren't with me. They are thriving. They are doing what I taught and trained them to do.
Another important concept is to "confront the brutal facts, yet remain in faith. " GREAT companies (families) have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of their current reality, whatever they might be, yet maintain unwavering faith that they can and will prevail in the end regardless of difficulties. So, if you have a child that is slothful or talks back to much, don't ignore it, act like it will change on its own or they'll "grow out of it". Instead, deal with it head on. Discipline, show, teach, and structure remaining positive that with work they will develop the character that you are trying to grow in them.
The last one that I'll mention is The hedgehog concept. You need to identify three things to make a transition from good to GREAT.
1. What are we deeply passionate about? God, Family, People and relationships
2. What can we be the best in the world at? Drama, Performing Arts, Writing, Art, Dance
3. What drives our economic engine (what can make money)? Diligence, administration, unique talents, unique makeup
I did this with the Superfamily, before really knowing what it was. I begin to "market" us if you will. We were not just the Jamersons, or just the Andersons or the Stephens'. We are a new entity alltogether- The Superfamily which is comprised of many parts. We are gifted in performing, cultural, musical and dramatic arts. So, I begin nuturing creativity by developing a newsletter, buying instruments, going to auditions, and seeking opportunities for us to shine as a SUPERFAMILY. As a result, we have been interviewed by people in NYC and as far as Austria. We have this blog. We take a yearly trip inviting extended family and friends to go with us. That's just collectively-individually we have people studying ministry, ballet, communications, engineering, equestrian, vocal music, instrumental and theater.
Please know John and I have to refocus often. What are we about? Who are we about? Then, we kindly delete the rest. Its easy to get sidetracked from each other, family, our vision and your goals if you lose sight of what they are. You will allow the silliest things to get in the way. Just this past week, I was talking to two ladies and I made a comment about my family that drew the most stanky look from one of them as she glanced knowlingly at the other one. I know where it comes from-they have a difference in view and that's ok. But I let it bother me for awhile, before I started to look at what I'm about, refocused and let it go. I finally determined that they have bigger problems if at their age they aren't ladylike enough to use more discretion and courtesy when in disagreement. So, I could effectively delete that whole issue and moved on.
So, anyway- everyday we are growing, deleting and developing and gaining momentum. But its a PROCESS, not a date on a calendar. I know people may think I am over the top and unorthodox. Good. Most people that are just Good are pretty status quo, normal and fall in line with whatever the comfortable thing is. That is not our goal-our goal is GREAT.