The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family – Part 1

Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni

I’m a big fan of NY Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni. I’ve heard him speak at conferences on several occasions and have read all his books on business leadership.

I’m an even bigger fan now that he’s written a very compelling leadership book for families.  Yes, you heard right…families!

The book is called The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity to the Most Important Organization in Your Life.

Here’s Pat in his own words:

What is the most important organization in our lives? The companies where we work? The schools where our children learn? The churches where we worship? As important as all of these are, none compares to our families. It is the single most relevant, impactful and precious institution in society, and yet, as an organization it is largely ignored.

What I mean is that compared to the other organizations in our lives, we spend almost no time doing any formal planning or strategizing about how to run our families. Even those of us who take part in strategic planning at work or school or church somehow feel content to live our home lives in a reactive, unplanned way. Exceptions to this include our finances, where we spend time thinking about savings and investments and budgets. But when it comes to the management of our daily lives and activities and priorities, we tend to wing it, reacting to issues and problems as they come up without any context or plan. And the cost of winging it is huge. Chaos, stress, regret, missed opportunities, frayed relationships. All of these are byproducts of lives lived without context and clarity.

Does that mean that families should, or can, completely eliminate stress and chaos from their lives? Absolutely not. Even if it were possible and it isn’t part of the fun of living in a family is the joy of the unknown. To run a family like a well-oiled machine would be to drain the passion and adventure out of it all. But there is plenty a family can do to drastically reduce unwanted chaos and live with greater context, clarity and purpose. In fact, there are three basic questions that every family needs to answer.

The first question he says families need to answer is this:  “What makes your family unique.” I’ll explain what he means in my next post.


  1. […] more tips on how families can make major change and handle competing priorities, check out my review of Pat Lencioni’s book The Three Big Questions for a Frantic […]

  2. […] but over the last few weeks we have begun to take stock of where we’re at, and we set some seasonal goals – things we want to see happen over the next few months – and action […]

  3. […] might also like: How one man found his higher calling What’s the state of your union? The three big questions for a frantic family  Subscribe to the Life Compass […]

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