It’s that time of year to fertilize the trees in my yard. A good gardener will remind you that if you want to have big, strong, healthy trees, you need to give them a little fertilizer at a couple points during the year.
Families are like a tree. They are a living, breathing, evolving being. If you want your family tree to be strong, to grow big, and to be able to withstand inclimate weather, you really need to be thinking about how to fertilize it a couple times a year.
Here are five ways to strengthen your family business tree:
Have a regularly scheduled informal meal
My dad, uncle, brother and I had dinner at the same Mexican food restaurant the family had been going to for over 30 years. Every other Wednesday night we would meet for dinner. What a great venue for laughing, visiting and catching up on each other’s lives.
When you make it a regular practice, it gives you the opportunity to have more continuity to your dialogue and perhaps go deeper in terms of learning about each other and helping one another.
Write a thank you card or any kind of card for that matter
I got a thoughtful, handwritten card from someone the other day. The gesture really moved me and gave me a greater appreciation for our relationship.
Take a few minutes and write someone a thank you card or send them a birthday card or just a “I was thinking of you” card. To me it says a lot when someone takes the time and energy to be that thoughtful and send you a card. It will deepen and strengthen your relationship.
Offer assistance to a family member
Reach out to someone in the family and offer to do something for them and see if they need some help. It could be a ride to the doctor, a chore around the house, or simply drop over for a visit. All of these things will demonstrate your commitment to the family and your willingness to give to others.
Make an introduction to expand the network of help
Successful people have big, strong networks of people with a variety of talents and expertise. Make sure and make your network available to your family. Introduce them to someone in your network who might be able to help them with what they’re dealing with.
Having the right network of caring people can make all the difference in navigating your way through life’s challenges.
Make a bi-weekly or monthly check-in call
I just got off the phone with my 93-year-old aunt. Sure she has kids of her own but it only takes me a few minutes to check in with her every now and then and see how she’s doing. I’m imagining it gets lonely when you get older. When you can check in with a family member, you are reminding them that they are still loved. If you’re smart you’ll get them talking about an old family story or two that you’ll want to learn about while you still can.
Follow a schedule
My wife reminded me that it was time to fertilize and plant. She knew because she puts it on her calendar. If you don’t put it on your calendar, it’s probably not going to happen. To create a big, strong family tree, put these things on your calendar. Follow through with them and you will have done your part to create something big, strong and healthy.
Please send me a note if you have other things that you do to strengthen your family tree and I’ll share them with the entire Family Business Performance Center community.
Play to your potential!
Pete Walsh offers family business consulting services, workshops, tools and resources as the founder of Family Business Performance Center. Subscribe to his newsletter or get in touch to get actionable insights to help your family business grow for generations to come.