In the last 12 months I have been working with various members of Family Impact in Bulawayo to build a set of materials called Family In Business. I think it’s going to need a new title, but that’s it for now. And, it is kinda obvious really, it’s about families running businesses together. We have 6 modules, most of which I have facilitated and rewritten about 3 times each, and I really feel like we are getting there! We have been training predominantly chicken farmers at Higrow Business School in Bulawayo. This is a fantastic and fun opportunity, which will enable us to let this material go to the wider Turning Matabeleland Green farmers across Zimbabwe later in 2016.
The basic premise behind this series was to really think about how families in Zimbabwe run small businesses together. So it tackles things like: running your home verus your business. How to define roles in your business as a couple, and how that translates to your home. How to manage children, who you might “employ” in your business, and the ramifications that can have when everyone goes home at night. And for the most part, this is exactly what this training has done. But with one unusual development – Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence was not my main topic when I started to conceive this training and put it together, but it became a central theme. I realised that Emotional Intelligence in the people we are training, and in fact throughout most of Zimbabwe, is incredibly low. People are so unaware of how their emotions affect and drive decision making, how to manage that process, understand the deeper issues and then read those challenges in other people. In recent studies across the corporate world there is lot of information that points to CEOs with a high EQ are actually more likely to succeed than those with a high IQ and little social awareness (read one article here).
As we embark on finishing the development of this training series on Family In Business (ideas for a better title are very welcome), I am seeing again and again the importance to emphasise: you are the same person at home as at work. Therefore, things that stress you at work will come home, one way or another, and the same the other way around. In fact, it is possible that your work stress affects your family a whole lot more than you realise.
I am looking forward to sharing with you the final set of modules and training on this, for you to read through and test in your location. The thinking behind this training is not rocket science. It is just finding ways to articulate the incredible benefit of doing business as a family, of managing and growing your family and your money in ways that help your small business succeed, as well as the rest of life! So far with the 50 or so people who have gone through this training, the result has been overwhelming: “This training has helped me understand that I need to be as proactive in my family as my business. They are interrelated”.
So, what have I learnt? Well, people are not aware that family affects work. And they are not aware that the stronger the family relationships are at home, the better their business will do – whether they are employees, employers or owners. Strong families have an incredibly positive and proven impact on profitability. So. You want to make more money? Invest in family: both your own, and those of the people you employee.
You can find more of the Family Impact resources here and we encourage you to download them and use them for free!