The Balanced Scorecard of a Successful Family



The old saying goes, “What gets measured gets done.” I recently read an article explaining how essential it is for successful businesses to develop a scorecard, indicators letting them know if they’re winning or not. Typically a business will choose one main scorecard- finances. But, the authors encouraged a more balanced scorecard focusing on different parts of the company. Also, these scorecards should be linked to the company’s vision and strategy.

When it comes to your family- are you winning? What scorecard would you use to determine if your family was winning or not? The first things that come to my mind are my children’s behavior, then maybe the state of my marriage, followed by the overall sanity level of our life at the time.

There are three issues with this family scorecard. First, as parents we control only part of our children’s behavior. There comes a point when our children have to determine their behavior on their own. Second, these indicators are vague. And third, this family scorecard is lagging behind how things are actually going. Understanding that a child is having trouble with his/her behavior does not help a parent succeed in anyway in creating successful behavior.

How to create an effective scorecard

1. Determine what you’re trying to create

What vision do you have for your family? So often a family’s biggest dream is surviving another week. I think we can dream bigger. How do you want to develop yourself and your children for success? When your children are grown, what words would you hope they use to describe growing up with you as their parent? If you need help in developing a family vision, check out this blog post.

2. What activities or strategies will you use to bring that vision to life

Once you determine what you hope your family will become, what activities do you need to create to make that vision a reality? Sit down and think through your schedule, is there anything getting in the way of your family vision? In business, if any activity is deemed unnecessary or doesn’t contribute to accomplishing your main goals, then those activities should be stopped or defunded immediately. If your family was doing to develop into your vision, what two or three things should you start doing immediately?

3. Use vision-oriented activity as your measurement

Once you determine two or three activities your family should start doing in order to bring your family vision to life, use these as your scorecard. Allow these activities to define if your family is doing well, or not. The biggest win for this activity is giving parents a mental framework to discuss success as a family. Right now, if someone asks how your family is doing, like me, your mind might go to how crazy your week’s schedule is and to what extent your kids are driving you crazy. With these new measures in place, we can now determine our family’s success by these vision-oriented activities.

Scorecard ideas

Below are a few examples of potential scorecard ideas, along with new questions you could ask to determine the success of each scorecard. Of course the possibilities are endless. Maybe you have an idea that’s helped your family you could share in the comments below.

We want our family to have fun together!
How much fun did our family have this week?
What did we do fun as a family this week?
Looking ahead, what could we do that’s fun this week?
Determine what’s “fun” and make sure to do this each week?

We want to develop our children spiritually! 
How many spiritual conversations did we initiate with our children?
How are we modeling to our children that God is a part of our life?
How often are we discussing the Bible and reading it to them?
Looking ahead, what can we do this week to put our faith in practice with our children?
Determine what activities will encourage your children’s spirituality and work on that each week.

We want our children to develop themselves as individuals!
How have I encouraged my child’s individuality this week?
What gifts do I see in my children?
How can I help my children develop the gifts I see in them?
How often do I criticize my children?

I want my children to grow up in a household with a healthy marriage!
What activities help me feel connected to my spouse?
What can I do to show love to my spouse this week?
What fun things can my spouse and I do together coming up?
How can I make time and prioritize connecting with my spouse?
Am I setting a side time to “date” my spouse?

We want our children to develop themselves mentally!
How am I encouraging my children to think?
How am I modeling an environment of learning in our household? (How often do my children see me on my cell phone?)
What kinds of questions do I ask my child?
Am I present in helping them with schoolwork?

Notice, all of the questions are about present or future  behavior, not about the past. 

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Kaplan, R. & Norton, D. (1996). Linking the balanced scorecard to strategy. California management review. 39 (1).