One surefire way to learn what you need to work on

My kids have told me I talk to them like they are my clients. In the moment, I didn’t know how to take the comment. We all laughed, and I said, “this is how I talk to everyone.”

But they had me thinking and they are right. I have always said that motherhood and management are opposite sides of the same coin. The same things apply like positive reinforcement, incentives and rewards, goal setting, clear communication, providing challenges and showing you care.

So in hindsight, I am good with that comment. Though people do make fun of me when I reference the fact that we do family feedback and family goal setting – our version of a family performance review. Though we don’t necessarily call it that, in truth – that’s exactly what it is.


I have a habit of asking for feedback and encourage them to do the same. A few times a year, I throw a question out during a family dinner.


•    What do you want to focus on this year?
•    what’s important to you right now
•    What can I do to be a better parent or spouse?
•    What can we all do to be a better member of the household?
It filled me with pride to overhear my son say, “You know, one of my goals for this year is…”


This is a way of getting our minds thinking around our personal life like the way we think about our work life. And, really, the concepts are very similar. I’ve always said motherhood and management are not so different. (Although I think we might have less authority at home.)

What is most enlightening about the process is that what you think you need to work on is not necessarily what everyone else things you need to work on.

I told my family that my goal was to win less and not always having to be right. And they looked at me and said that is not a problem for us. I was sure it was annoying. There is a running joke in the house about the fact that mom’s always right. Apparently not, they said, “You can’t help it. If you’re always right, we don’t want you to start being wrong.”

So I asked, “Well, what should I be working on?” The answer surprised me. All they wanted was for me to slow down. And they literally meant – slow down! Even though 4’10” and a quarter, I walk really fast. And they say they always can’t keep up and they lose me in the crowd and that I just need to slow down and stay with them.

It hit me that what we think we need to work on is not necessarily what we need to work on. So, if you really want to know what you should be working on, ask. Ask the people around you that are impacted by your behavior and when you do, share what you learned!


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