As a leadership coach, I usually write about topics that have a clear business focus. The thing is, leaders are people living full lives. Going along with that, they frequently seek coaching on issues that span professional and personal spheres. Here’s an issue many grapple with: “I run a tight ship at work. I know how to influence stakeholders, I can navigate anything, and I’m known for my ability to reliably create meaningful outcomes, but at home I’m spinning out of control. How can I run my personal life with as much skill and less drama?”
Here’s the thing: opportunities to lead are everywhere. My leadership tip on this one is simple: have a standing weekly meeting with your spouse or romantic partner. Now, obviously, this one thing isn’t going to solve every issue at home, but think about it. You and your partner are running a business together, the business of your life. So, why not be intentional about it and make a small investment in setting shared goals, planning for how those goals will be achieved, creating conditions for healthy teamwork, and checking in on how things are going on a regular basis? If this were “a real business,” you’d be doing all of that and more. (Right?)
My husband and I call this touchpoint our “executive meeting” and we use it to get on the same page about what we will accomplish in the week ahead; to revisit status on all the mind-numbing chores that go into running a household; to get the kind of actual work done that no one ever wants to do (e.g., filling out forms, reviewing documents, etc.); to talk about meeting our family obligations; and to talk about the big rocks we need to move in the week ahead at home and in our respective professional lives so that we know what to expect and we can balance the load as needed. It’s critical that we also use the time to plan for the fun things we want to do together.
We set this meeting for the latter half of the week. That helps us enter the weekend with a clear view of how our weekend time will be spent, what needs to get done, and the enjoyable things we can look forward to. With the meeting being the place where we work all of this out, we are both able to relax knowing that the stuff of life will be taken care of in a balanced way because we have set aside time and created a structure to consider the bigger picture together.
(1) Avoids the Slow Trickle of Death. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want every interaction with my husband to be about grocery shopping and fixing things. The weekly executive meeting serves as a container so you can take care of these things and your relationship can be bigger than a drawn-out conversation about who does what.
(2) Reduces resentment. Who wants to waste a weekend resenting their partner? Life is short. Put it on the agenda for your next meeting and forget about it.
(3) The meeting can be sort of like a date. We make the exec meeting itself a fun “date.” In our case, we choose to hold this meeting early Thursday mornings. We get up, get out the door, and meet in a cozy café buzzing with energy.
(4) Weekly Renewal. And the really cool thing is, handling our shared life together like this serves as a weekly renewal of our confidence in our ability to create reality together. If that isn’t a relationship and team builder, I don’t know what is.
Does this seem like a way to get on the same side of the table and create shared expectations with your partner? If it does, why not give it a try? I’d love to hear how it goes for you.