Every summer the extended Schwab family gets together for a weekend of swimming, fishing, games and most importantly a barbeque contest. Looking back at the weekend, I can’t help but find some very important business and leadership lessons in the Schwab Family Picnic or SFP as it is known in the family.

Balance Tradition with Innovation.

Family reunions are nostalgic. What started as a picnic on a Saturday more than 30 years ago evolved into a 3-day camping trip and now is four days of air-conditioned, cabin living. The barbeque contest has expanded to incorporate more food groups by adding a side dish contest and a dessert contest. How can you maintain the traditional elements that make your organization, product or service great while modernizing, improving, and expanding?

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Relish Competition. 

The highlight of SFP is the barbeque contest. All I can say is that the Schwabs are very competitive when it comes to their barbeque and we all eat well on Saturday. There is so much variety – from the traditional Texas barbeque brisket, sausage and chicken to steak, fish, and kabobs. With competition comes awards and bragging rights. It’s not uncommon to hear a Schwab refer to himself throughout the year as the “three-time BBQ champion.” Competition breeds excellence. Who is your competition? How might you change your perspective with regard to the competition?

Choose Your Legacy.

If the barbeque contest is the adult favorite event, the water balloon fight is the kid’s favorite. Imagine 20-30 kids running around launching and lobbing water balloons at each other and adults. That fifteen minutes of fun is always followed by the obligatory picking up balloon fragments. Cleaning up after oneself is clearly a value that the Schwabs bestow on their children. How do you want people to remember you? What kind of legacy do you want to leave through your business, with your team or in your family?  If you don’t know, I encourage you to schedule some time this week to imagine and design your legacy.