4 Tips to Successfully Run Your Funeral Home With Your Spouse

Posted June 14, 2017

4 min read

If you work with your spouse, one thing is sure to happen: you’re going to see their strengths and capabilities up-close, shares Margie Blanchard, Ph.D, an accomplished management consultant and trainer, a best-selling author, entrepreneur, and a motivational speaker. 

We spoke with Blanchard about the approaches she uses to thrive while working with a spouse. As Co-owner of The Ken Blanchard Companies®, she has worked alongside her husband, Ken Blanchard, for nearly 40 years—something many funeral directors can relate to. Here are her tips for working with your partner or spouse.

1: Define Your Purpose for Working Together

To start, Blanchard says it’s important to come together, share, and define why you want to be in this profession together. “One of the things that people sometimes forget is why are they doing this in the first place. What’s their vision for working together or starting a company together? Or, what is the vision if one spouse has run into some success and needs some additional help?” she says.

“One of the biggest things that you need to remember is the ‘why.’”

2: Know Your Shared Expectations & Vision for Your Funeral Home

“[If] somebody has found a successful business, that’s a miracle in itself,” points out Blanchard. “They found something that’s selling, that customers want, and they need help, and they’re considering getting their spouse involved because they need that help,” she adds.

In this kind of scenario, always start by looking at how you both get along, in general, and dig deeper to see the real motivation, expectations, and vision with a spouse becoming involved. 

When inevitable stress hits, re-visiting the vision and your “why” can help the relationship you have with your partner and it can help the business. “If we could remember the why—that it was going to help us not only as a couple, but also as a business, to be more helpful to our clients—then we could excuse a lot of mistakes and really put some stressful times into perspective.”

3: Share Your Strengths

While every business partnership will have a different “why,” Blanchard says that working together with a spouse is best supported when you also take time to talk about your personal strengths.   

Avoid misunderstanding each other by communicating your individual strengths and what you believe you do not do well. “One of the things that Ken and I have done is take the time to write down what our strengths were in terms of what we were the most interested in, and what we were the least interested in. We also wrote down what neither one of us was good at, that we didn’t want to, or couldn’t, do well.” This process helped cut down on assumptions, second-guessing, and it encouraged a mutual admiration while working together. 

4: Clarify roles & responsibilities

“Clarify your different strengths, and clarify the responsibilities and roles that go with it,” adds Blanchard. “I have a very firm belief that we’re each doing the best we can at all times given our level of awareness, which is really about having grace. If I make a mistake, it wasn’t because I intended to make a mistake, it was because I wasn’t as aware as I may be now.” Just as you would take the steps to do this with your employees, don’t neglect doing this with your spouse or partner, either.

A version of this post originally appeared on aileron.org

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