The Corporate Family® Approach Works!

The Corporate Family® Approach Works!

What do Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Mark Wahlberg have in common? Many people might assume very little—other than both being U.S. citizens.  And that would seem sensible given that they both live and work in completely separate environments.  Yet interestingly enough, 2018 revealed that they both share a common bond: the belief in the importance of “family.”

After the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh, Sotomayor revealed to David Axelrod that Justice Kavanaugh would be welcomed into the Supreme Court in a way that is different than some organizations: “When you’re charged with working together for most of the remainder of your life, you have to create a relationship.  The nine of us are now a family and we’re a family with each of us our own burdens and our own obligations to others, but this is our work family, and it’s just as important as our personal family” (see Peter LeBlanc’s November 17, 2018 piece at

As for Mark Wahlberg, his commitment to family has been played out in real life, on television, and in movies. The show Wahlburgers revolves around the Wahlberg family-owned restaurant in Boston, and he routinely shares how important his Family of Origin and Family of Procreation are to him (for instance, see the December 14, 2013 article entitled “Mark Wahlberg on Family, Faith, and the Importance of Legos” at  In an interview about his 2018 movie, Instant Family, Wahlberg shared these insights: “In a time where families are being pulled apart, it’s nice to know that there are people out there that are helping people and trying to connect with people and inviting people and making sure that they feel included in this big kind of extended family(find more details in “A Day in the Life of Mark Wahlberg” at

Both Justice Sotomayor and Mark Wahlberg speak to the difficulties all families share, especially in the 21st century.  There are forces at work that can pull any family apart, including the Corporate Family®.  It takes intentional effort to create cohesion and the essential connections for optimal performance, no matter what type of family unit. While all family members can participate in the unifying process, at LEADon®, we believe that it is the role of leaders—the “parents” of an organization—to not only build and develop the family but also to continually strive to keep it united.

The team at LEADon® has spent the last two decades implementing the Corporate Family® approach in national and global organizations. This unique “family systems” method can be found in Corporate Family Matters:  Creating and Developing Organizational Dynasties (this book by Wilke & Wilke, 2010 can be found at’s proprietary approach is also detailed in The Psychologist-Manager Journal’s article, “The Corporate Family Model of Leadership Development” (Wilke, Wilke, & Viglione, June 15, 2015).  Like Justice Sotomayor, we believe every business is a family—and just as important as your personal family. After all, most of us spend more of our waking hours during each week with our Corporate Family® than we do with other family members.

Even though many business leaders may believe in the concept of Corporate Family®, they often feel challenged when it comes to unifying diverse family members while trying to meet day-to-day needs and their professional objectives.   How can such connections occur when there are so many other demands on leaders? Here are a few recommendations we’d like to suggest:


  1. Spend time reading Corporate Family Matters: Building and Developing Organizational Dynasties.  Have your leadership team do the same, working through each chapter together (there are helpful questions to encourage great conversations at the end of every chapter).
  2. Begin to calendar regular Corporate Family® Depending on the size and availability of your human talent, this could be weekly, monthly, or quarterly.  Make sure to have at least one rapport-building activity during that meeting so your family members can get to know each other better and develop more rapport.
  3. Calendar fun Corporate Family® events throughout the year. Make certain everyone is included, and also be sure this is simply a time to enjoy and/or celebrate Corporate Family® victories together.
  4. Develop a “Corporate Family® Covenant” for your organization (review Chapter 10 of Corporate Family Matters to see how easy this process is). Share your covenant with all family members so that everyone will be able to meet your organization’s expectations.

You, your colleagues, and talent are truly one big extended family. That’s why the Corporate Family® approach works—in any size and type of business. Whether a burger joint or the highest court in the United States, productivity and profitability will improve with unified family members striving to help one another as they meet and exceed goals. And even though every family will have its share of challenging times, more success and satisfaction will be experienced as you implement this innovative Corporate Family® approach.