The Jacobs Corporation
With an eight person household, managing schedules, keeping appointments, and anticipating each one’s needs is undoubtedly challenging. When you add a few balanced meals, homework, and fostering some sense of decency in the mix, that right there- is the chaos. This degree of responsibility has the potential to inundate normal human beings, but big families have an unspoken code used to combat this special kind of crazy. It’s the natural progression of survival that develops in the eyes of disarray and desperation. The large family way of life is called: “You better fend for yourself”.
Big family kids are accustomed to fending for themselves. These are the kids who set alarm clocks, then get up for school, independently. They don’t need prompting to remember their belongings, and they already know what homework really needs to be done. Big family kids remind big family parents to sign papers and add money to the lunch account. They also know where they have to be and when, because they’ve learned that no one (but them) cares if they miss their favorite activity. This is the large family way of life. Even my former baby, Dathan, who is ten years old, has been doing his own laundry for years now. He cooks on the stove, takes out the trash, and is a great babysitter during showers. Each kid, with the exception of my 18 month terror, is fairly responsible for themselves and an integral member of the team.
Although each family member knows his role and performs it rather well, the new school year always brings about a fresh feeling of chaos. In an attempt to re-focus our energy, I called a family meeting last week. In preparation, I created a Power Point to hone in some major points, and it was then that I realized that this team, Team Jacobs, is more like a Corporation.
A corporation is a group of people authorized to act as a single entity. It’s an organized body, with a functioning system, governed by pre-defined bylaws. A corporation balances gains and losses, holds members accountable, and sets goals for individuals, as well as for the entity. This is us, we are a corporation: The Jacobs Corporation.
During our first corporate meeting of the fiscal year, we identified wasteful practices (cell phone usage) and set expectations of performance (acceptable grades). We reviewed accountability (admitting mistakes) and agreed to weekly performance evaluations (private check-ins for personal development). We decided that we would have individual goals (like faster mile times), as well as some corporate visions (like vacationing together). Approaching this family meeting with a business perspective proved to be invaluable, instantly.
Sure, this organized chaos has been effective up until now. Our “you better fend for yourself” mentality has produced five semi-responsible and well-mannered sons (the jury is still out on the baby). However, going forward, I am raising my expectations with a business model/approach. So far this school year, we are: living by our online family calendar, using google docs for live editing purposes, and communicating through email for reliability. I’m really looking forward to transferring more of my career practices to my most important position: CEO of The Jacobs Corporation.