A personal note:

Facebook asks "What's on your mind?"

Here's what's on my mind during this holiday season:

Having been in an unequivocal support role in our extended family 'enterprise' for 47 years in a partnership with my gracious, very socially responsible, acutely intelligent wife who is CEO here are my unvarnished observations:

It takes a rare combination of vision, focus, energy, uncompromising strength of character and purpose in valuing, creating, developing and maintaing unity in a large, diverse, extended family.

It takes grace under pressure.

The capacity for empathy and compassion, a very strong loving, attentive, unconditionally accepting and firm guiding hand, a talent for collaborative team building, organizing, extraordinary skill in mediating and resolving conflicts, personal self discipline and a genuine comfort in your own 'skin' - simply put, grounded. Success in this 'enterprise' is an inside job. Everything we need we have and control - between our ears. It is not everyone's bag. There is no mention of math, science, language, history, the social sciences, the classical professions, commerce or a myriad of other areas of higher learning in these observations.

It is a lifelong marathon - certainly not a sprint. Above all it is about establishing a culture of ethical choice premised on 'we' vs. 'me'.

In the commercial world such enterprises are described as a having a collaborative team based environment with a client centric focus.
It's purpose in both worlds is simple - the empowerment of those we love in our family and those for whose growth and development we are responsible as well as those whom we serve in our commercial lives.

In the world of complex knowledge and information the relationship with those whom we seek to influence whether commercially or on a social level is most effectively achieved through genuine engagement - through values based leadership one-on-one and above all through lifetime high performance coaching and mentoring. I view family creation, building, growth, maintenance, retention and unity as just such a complex enterprise - hence the choice of CEO as the label I attach to this leadership role.

In my personal observations of almost 50 years I never cease to be amazed and impressed with my wife's unwavering belief in the purpose and value of the family unit and her display of the characteristics I have described - and of many others that I have not. She has been blessed with exraordinary role models along the way.

Effectiveness in this enterprise model is measured by the growth of others - through contributing to the greater good. Our own personal growth is simply a by - product.

It requires a tough balanced code of lifetime behaviour - including toughness of mind and gentleness of heart, unwavering purpose, focus, intellect, spirit, character, personal judgment and a positively optimistic view of the future.

Not unique, of course, but certainly uncommon, in my opinion, observation and experience.


Dan Zwicker.

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