“How do you talk about and use the answers to these questions?”

So last week I began a five-part series on Patrick Lencioni’s book, The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family.

First, we looked at Question #1: What makes your family unique?

Second, we looked at Question #2: What is your family’s top priority–rallying cry–right now?

Now we come to Question #3 which is “How do you talk about and use the answers to these questions?”

This is an important question, because let’s be honest with ourselves. How many times have we had great intentions about trying something new in our family lives? Only to feel overwhelmed by the process of actually starting something new. All of us should be raising our hands. So if we are going to go through the hard work of answering the first two questions, then we need to figure out how we are going to talk about and use these answers. Lencioni writes:

“One of the most common mistakes people make when they do strategic planning or personal development plans is that they neatly produce a handsome document and bind it for posterity. (pp. 196).

So in order to answer Question #3 and get this process underway in a successful way, Lencioni recommends two things:

  1. Meetings: “The most important thing a family has to do to keep its context alive is discuss it in regular meetings.” (pp. 196) Lencioni recommends 10 minutes for a meeting, unless something really needs to be worked on–then maybe 15-20. He also has some helpful recommendations on how to run the meeting and how to make it best work for your family.
  2. Visibility: “Keeping your family plan visible is also critical. That means you need to find the best way to capture the information, and then find the right place in your home to display it.” (pp. 197)

So here is how Heather and I went about answering this question.

Step #1: Write down your vision/mission statement somewhere. Heather and I wrote ours down on a blank piece of paper that we stored in the book. Over the next few weeks after developing the statement we would revisit the statement just to familiarize ourselves with it. We just wanted to make sure that the statement we came up with worked for our family.

Step #2: Take your statement that you have written down and come up with a creative way to display it. Though our original document still lives in the pages of the book, we have since come up with a creative art project that displays the essence of our statement. This project is about to be finished and will hang above our fireplace. When it is done, I will post a photo of it.

Though the statement was produced quickly, this art project has been a fun project that Heather and I have been working on for many many months with the help of one of our great friends, Michael Trozzo. If you are looking for some helpful recommendations on how to be creative with this step, then I recommend looking at Pinterest for some helpful and creatives ideas on how to display “family mission statements”.

Step #3: Pick a time to meet regularly. This is one of the most crucial steps, but it can be a difficult one to establish. If you don’t have something on the calendar and make it priority, it probably just won’t happen.

After Heather and I looked at our weekly schedule we determined that 6am on Monday morning is the best time for us to have our 10-15 minute meeting. We wanted Saturdays to be free for our family and Sunday as a time for church and Sabbath rest for us. So we figured Monday is the beginning of the week and a good time to get our “ducks in a row.” This is still a habit we are trying to build, so some weeks we are good at this and others we are not. But it’s a work in progress.


Here are a few tips I recommend

  • Like all the other questions…this should be fun.
  • Be creative. How can you best capture your family’s statement and rallying cry in visible ways?
  • Schedule meetings.
  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Be patient with yourself because you are building a habit and this takes time.

Very cool sidenote…

dawncarterI posted on Facebook a couple of months ago that Heather and I had used this book for our family mission statement and a few friends wanted me to post our statement. So I posted it. Well, a few weeks later I got this awesome art canvas in the mail. One of my good friends Dawn Carter took the statement and created a beautiful art piece for us to hang on our wall. We love it. Thanks Dawn.