"The factory of the future will have only two employees: a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment."
Prof. Warren Bennis

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Good afternoon. We have enjoyed a long weekend here on the west coast, celebrating BC day yesterday. I hope your weekend was as good as mine was.

I've been wondering this weekend about family. I am admittedly attracted to the notion, common in gay and lesbian circles, of "family of choice." The notion, born out of necessity where so many young men and women are shunned by their birth family, they create a new family of choice.

There is something unconscious that happens with birth family. We fall into the traps of complexity where a glance, or a word carries with it so much meaning that no one else understands. To find oneself at dinner with the in-laws for example, is to often find oneself scratching one's head in wonder as the conversation digresses into argument or silence. A complex trap has been sprung, and because you're not the child of the house, you've been blind sided by it.

Of course, this raises the important question, asked only half facetiously, do you want your organization to be like a family? Do you really want your organization to have the same kind of complex traps that a birth family inherently does?

I wonder if there is something though to the notion of a family of choice as a model for a close knit organization or team. For example, the word 'choice' denotes that all participants have a choice about staying or leaving. The word 'family' denotes commitment, honesty and safety. When I find myself, safe, committed and in an honest environment, my productivity increases. And if I no longer feel that security or commitment, I can leave, knowing that I have made a difference. Of course, perhaps we might just suggest that family is family and organizations are organizations, and we would be wise not to confuse the two!

I hope that this week finds you safe and loved within the bonds of a healthy family, either your family of origin, or your family of choice. And that your work in that family is productive for all concerned.