• Jerry Phillips

Family Dynamics, Business Dynamics

We were fortunate to have my son and daughter in law bring our grandson to Austin this past week. With the strain of the pandemic and being in a virtual lockdown over the past seven months, we haven’t been able to see them as much as we’d like. Our grandson turned one in September. Our daughter in law celebrated her 30th birthday this weekend. We were thrilled to have her spend it with us as a family.

My grandchildren had never spent time together. Our oldest turned two in May and our youngest was born in May. I was fascinated by the reaction of my granddaughter meeting her cousin for the first time. Granted, they have seen each other via video, but never in person. Ellie loves her cousin Colton! She simply could not get enough of him, and vice versa. There were lots of hugs and kisses. She was constantly helping him do things…mostly what she wanted him to do, but not in a mean-spirited sense. She is a sweet little girl who cares that everyone is happy. She says hello to all her neighbors and tells the workers building things in her neighborhood that they are doing a good job and they are important.

All of this made me think about group dynamics, and the challenges we are facing with separation. How does a two-year-old become so invested in someone she has never met in person before, like her cousin? You can say it’s about family, but I believe it’s about an orientation to be interested in others. How does she care so much about people in her neighborhood that she has never met? Again, she is interested in them. It’s easy to be cynical and think she just hasn’t been burnt enough, and maybe that has some truth. But maybe we all should be more childlike in that we care about others. Think about the people you work with. Who cares about you and wants you to be happy? Who do you care about and who do you want to be happy? If you don’t have a relationship where you care about others, can they care about you?

I’ve mellowed since becoming a grandfather. Seeing my two oldest grandchildren together, made me optimistic about the future of our world, even in the craziest of times. We need to think about how we develop the future and create a succession plan for those that follow us. This is as true in business as it is in our personal lives.

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