4 Changes That Wrote My Wife’s Love Story (With Our Business)

Last week over a glass of wine with friends in Franklin, TN, my wife Christina just kind of blurted out… “I’m in love with our business again.” I just posted a recap from the recent Platform Conference on creating wow moments. Well, this statement from my wife was a real wow moment for me and I knew then that I had to capture the ‘why’ of the statement. Who knew then that this expression of love would become my ‘just a bit belated Valentines Day’ post?

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I love my wife. We work together in our various businesses. She is about the most capable, talented, passionate, genuine person I know in any business. We have worked together for over 10 years now. She is a tower of support to me. I am passionate about business and entrepreneurship and she has long ago learned how to be me my virtual sous-chef in the business, taking care of all the things that end up making me look good. The secret to my success? It’s all due to the support she gives me every day. I couldn’t do anything without her.

Imagine my surprise then when I heard her say that she was in love with her business again. AGAIN? What? That meant that she was NOT in love with the business at some point. I had no idea this had happened. I guess I had some clues, but I’m a guy, I think perhaps I was not as observant on this as I should have been.

I posed the question, “why are you now in love with your company again?” She gave me four quick answers that I want to share with you today.

  1. ORGANIZATION – We are so much more organized than we were two years ago.  Two years ago the grip of the recession was really tightening on us and the perfect world that we had created for ourselves in a growing business was ripped out from under us, slowly at first, but then faster than we thought we could keep up.  It was scary.  We had to let people go, then more people.  It was depressing.  A huge casualty in all this was the things worked before did not work as well after with less staff and less business velocity.  The business changed, but the organization of managing those things had not changed.  Now the business has changed, it is organized again, and to alter a phrase slightly … its partly how Tina got her groove back!
  2. DEFINED ROLES – We have been doing business coaching for the better part of two years now.  One of the first things we worked on was ‘functionality’ – who does what, and is the right person in the right seat.  We have removed the spaghetti mess of who reported to whom and defined clear roles and responsibilities.  This is guiding our hiring (which we are finally doing again), and our continued review of who is doing what in the group.  This step alone is probably responsible for more positive change than any other to date.
  3. GOOD CULTURE – We really identified in the past as a caring family company.  The cuts that we had to make to survive over the past few years had us feeling like this culture was shattered.  Were we fakes when we talked about family and relationship with staff and then had to painfully let so many go?  We both knew that in that instant we were devastating a family.  We have worked through that emotion and it is now driving us to reestablish that caring family culture. It is also pushing us to learn from that experience and making us plan to ensure that our culture never again comes in conflict with business reality.  We have become more responsive.
  4. FORWARD PLANNING / VISION – We grew fast.  We grew really fast.  As a result planning for us really meant keeping your head above water.  Next year was …. w a a a y …. down the road so why think too much on that.  Well that did not work out so well for us.  Now we are planning.  We have started with visioning exercises with our coaches to imagine a future for the company group that is aligned with our personal family vision.  Its our 2018 Vision. It is going to happen.

I was so completely impressed by the initial comment on loving her business again, and then the follow on answers she gave me.  I think I walked about with a goofy grin on my face the rest of the night.  My wife, my business partner, is fully engaged in our business again and she loves it.

Do any of you work with your partner in a small of family business?  Has your personal or business relationship with your spouse suffered as a result of challenges in the business?  Hopefully you were able to get the groove back as my wife Christina did.

I would love for you to take the time to share in a comment the challenges you faced as a couple in a business working together and how you were able to get past those.  If you are still in a challenging situation please share in a comment (you can do so anonymously) and let me see if I can offer any help.  We are all in this together.

Oh, and happy belated Valentines Day to my beautiful bride!

I live in the Cayman Islands and I'm married to Christina. We have two incredible children, Ryan, attending Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and Taylor, attending Trinity College School, in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. I own several businesses in Cayman. My list of 'pasts' include past chairman of the Cayman Islands Special Economic Zone Authority, past president of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, and past president of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce.

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