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The Time I Brought Corporate Jargon Home for Dinner

Feb 25, 2016 | Business

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There was clearly a need to optimize our dinner conversations. My closest stakeholders needed an agenda adjustment to the talk driving our family meeting time. It first dawned on me we needed to deploy a scalable solution that would meet their unique needs. It had to adaptive, flexible, and efficient, with minimal need for change management.

Getting them aligned on our new dining model wasn’t easy—especially with my three-year old. There were plenty of false starts and not much dialogue at first. Our core competency had been talking about sports, weather, and general complaining about how the enterprise was being managed. 

There was a need to jumpstart basic banter to get their buy-in. We deployed a S.W.A.T. team to tackle diverse topics. Each of the team members dove into their own swim lanes to put some meat on the bone. One family associate suggested we develop a sustainable approach to curfew extensions; another proffered augmented allowances; and a senior member confidently declared she be empowered to not have to drink the kool-aid any more.

Most of the discussions were unprofitable and we weren’t able to move the needle much. Negotiations stalled and someone even suggested we open the kimono a little; that was inappropriate and the conversation stalled even more.

Then at some point, my spouse suggested we create a tiger team to tackle the issue head on given that it was now elevated as our family’s burning platform. Given that there were lots of moving parts (and minions moving them), there was little to report. Our core values could be a dinner discussion point, but we were still misaligned and that remained a point of contention.

We decided to make hay while the sun was shining by embracing an issue of strategic value: PTO.

That was a conversation starter, a brainstorming ice breaking idea, for sure. What would be the right venue? Could it be a best practice for the family? Were we thinking enough outside the box to tackle the timeliness of vacation? 

That idea got all the ducks in a row. We leveraged the collective insight from our own ecosystem; that pure innovation and full-service ideation had set the family free.

Eureka! Topical dinner alignment at last. We were over the wall. Even though our sidebars were initially futile, the commitment to drill down even deeper produced clear value.

Bottom line: The robust process was a win-win-win. 

Image Credit: Shutterstock


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