The Four G’s: A Tool for Family Meetings, Too

Authored by Coach Polly Shyka

Small Bites are short, informational articles with practical ideas about stress reduction, improved communication, and farm and family well-being. They are written by coaches from UMaine Extension’s Farm Coaching team. Farm Coaches are available at no cost to work remotely with farmers and farm teams.

In a previous “Small Bites” article, we introduced the Four Gs activity as a way to take the temperature of a team and discover key “Gives, Gains, Groans, and Guidelines” important to progressing toward a shared goal.

You might want to try this out at your next family meeting, as well. Maybe the goal you are working toward is a harmonious weekend. Or a clean house. Or making Nana her birthday cards and gifts. Kids of all ages love markers and a large sheet of paper. Draw the grid then take turns telling  your Four G’s to the designated note taker. When everyone takes turns contributing, you have the chance to slow things down with questions, reflections and appreciations for each participant. You can also build connections on your “family team” by linking different people’s contributions to others’. “Looks like a few of us have the same groans going on! Sally and Abby share a give. That is really cool.”

For extra entertainment and humor, try illustrating some of the contributions as the grids get populated. Nothing wrong with a little fun.

Reach out today if your farm team could use some new tools for communication and planning. The Farm Coaching program is a free service supported by a grant that works with farms state-wide from Northeast Extension Risk Management Education.