Trade secrets for working couples
Some couples find working together a challenge because differences in beliefs, values and upbringing may often get in the way of a harmonious relationship at work.
But there are also many who see the opportunity of working with their spouses as a big advantage.
Marketing consultants, authors, entrepreneurs and educators Josiah Go and Chiqui Escareal-Go are living proof that it can work.
The couple works as top executives of Waters Philippines and Mansmith and Fielders Inc. among others. Last year, they established a social enterprise known as Day 8 Business Academy Inc. as part of their advocacy to help owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) reach their full potentials.
Day 8 symbolizes a new day or new beginning for prosperity for struggling entrepreneurs. Thus, the academy offers short courses on varied topics that would benefit entrepreneurs in learning the ropes of managing a business.
Josiah says they put up Day 8 because “we have been very successful with our training programs particularly Mansmith’s ‘Marketing Rescue’ sessions, wherein for the last six years, we’ve been mentoring entrepreneurs on a quarterly basis. So we decided why don’t we help SMEs on a more regular basis.”
Direct to the point
Classes usually last for only three hours, direct to the point and are given by the experts in the business industry.
One of the courses conducted by the couple is the “Entrepreneurs’ Guide to Married Couples Working Together,” which Inquirer Sunday Biz attended recently.
The course stresses the importance of how having a balance of work and relationship can lead to a happier and meaningful life.
Josiah and Chiqui emphasize at the start of the session that they don’t intend to brag when they share their personal and business trials and achievements, but rather “we want our stories to be learning experiences for you to learn a lot from.”
In many instances, where participants ask for advice on how to hurdle obstacles in both business and family life, the couple would reply, “Ganyan din kami nung umpisa” (We were also like that when we started)or “Nangyari rin sa amin yan”(That also happened to us) – clear proof that they, too, are not spared from the many challenges most entrepreneurs had to go through and that like them they can also rise above all those challenges.
Interesting points are discussed in the “4 Paths to a Harmonious Relationship at Work and at Home” – Shared Responsibility, entails knowing the roles of the husband and the wife from the very beginning.
In the first 10 years of their married life, Josiah takes the role of the provider while Chiqui stays home to take care of the kids.
In Shared Power, Chiqui relates that after 10 years of devoting her time to the home and the kids, she decided to join Josiah’s company. She says that “she understood her husband better when we worked together, which eventually made our relationship even better.” In 2004, Chiqui became the head of Mansmith while Josiah is the CEO of Waters Philippines. They continue their involvement in advocacies armed with their complementary expertise: He on strategizing and organizing, while she on operations task.
Learning to work with and not for your spouse is the key to achieve success in this path.
Third is Common Vision, which deals on happiness as being the priority both in their work and personal lives. By hiring professional general managers, the couple is able to do what they love doing best – teaching.
Also part of their common vision is allowing their kids to find their own space and to never impose on them.
“Let them explore different skills to broaden their minds. Let them follow their hearts and pursue their passions,” the couple says.
True enough, they are proud and supportive parents to their four children who are now carving a name in their own field of interests: eldest Chase, a computer Science graduate of De La Salle University is pursuing a career in fashion design; Chase’s twin brother Juju is a UP Fine Arts graduate and now studying to be a teacher; only daughter Tricia, is an Ateneo De Manila University graduate of Info Design and is also a model, blogger and photographer; and the youngest Calel is an HRM student of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.
The last path is Common Joys, where the couple shares their passion for advocacies, travel and lifelong learning. After taking advanced marketing studies in MIT Sloan, London Business School, Wharton and Kellog, Josiah is taking MA Religious Studies at Maryhill School of Theology; Chiqui also went to Harvard, Kellogg, Burke, Columbia/China Europe International Business School and University of California Berkeley, and now teaches at Ateneo de Manila Loyola School while doing her thesis for MA in English language and teaching Literature, both in Ateneo.
They emphasize that harmony is possible at home and in the workplace, and the importance of loving everything you do and leaving the rest to God. They advised, “should there be conflict between business and relationship, it is best to always save the relationship.”
The importance of transparency, trust and respect, communication, conflict resolution and teamwork are explained in “Routes to Working Together.”
The last part of the seminar tackles the “5 Tasks” and “5 Treasures” that make up for a meaningful and happy life, and which is thoroughly explained in the book “The WE Entrepreneur” written by Josiah and Chiqui. The five tasks refer to the business side and centers on having a vision-mission, while the five treasures, which begin in belief in God, refer to the personal life side. In the book it says that all components on both sides need to be strengthened individually and collectively to provide wholeness to an entrepreneur.
Asked what advice to give couples who are planning to work together or are already working together, Josiah says: “Have a common understanding and common rules of engagement on how to work together. And to always work as partners – not to work for but to work with one’s spouse.”
For more information visit www.day8.org.
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