Every year, like many companies, our organization conducts an employee opinion survey. This year, I volunteered to lead a working team on Work Life Balance, an area that frequently receives a lot of attention.
We found that Work Life Balance is very much a personal choice. What it meant to me was different than what it meant to others on the team. Having a flexible work environment helps, of course, but then it’s up to the employee to determine how to best balance the demands of home and work and set reasonable expectations for both.
But what about when life or work is not reasonable? There are times when the demands of one or the other become overwhelming. Though the individual has ultimate responsibility for his or her life choices, as leaders we have the opportunity to help guide and support them through those choices. By helping our team members navigate the rough spots, we can help them get back to a place of balance, which can improve productivity.
As leaders, how can we help?
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about using interim goals and aligned incentives to achieve success. While I still believe that works, sometimes you have to just go big.
Not long after I wrote that post, I went for a bike ride and then immediately went for a run. It was my first run in 5 years and first bike ride in 10. I still have no idea what go into me.
When I got home, I felt really good. Like I could do it again. My husband was looking at me a little funny when I asked him, “When is your next race? I’m going to do it too.” He thought I was crazy and wanted to know what I had done with his wife.
It’s indian summer…the sun still high in the early evening as I watch my five year old line up to putt. We’re out playing miniature golf after a long week at work and school. Kindergarten can be rough.
They grow up so fast, children. I love to watch my son when we’re together, knowing that he won’t be this little for long. Today, he is joyous. He had a great day at school after weeks of rough ones, struggling to adjust to new rules, teachers, and classmates. His smile and adorable dimples, rarely seen after school lately, are out on display and I think – this is perfect.
This morning, a newsletter was waiting in my inbox from AITS (Accelerating IT Success). I’ve been waiting for it for a few weeks now and couldn’t wait to race downstairs and check my inbox. There is was – my first published article!
I’ve been writing for years, primarily to document the milestones and mayhem that is our family life. Most of my friends and family are far from where we live. Blogging has provided me with an opportunity to share our successes and challenges, photos and more with people that are important to me and my family, but may not be close enough to participate in our lives directly. I never thought of myself as a writer. I had a problem – engage people in our lives that are not physically nearby – and found a solution to that problem. That’s all it was for a long time.
One night last year, my husband and I were talking and he looked at me a little funny. When I asked what he was thinking, he said “You’re a writer.” I immediately rejected the notion – it didn’t fit with how I saw myself. Storyteller? Maybe. I’ve jokingly been called “Backstory” for years, because I have a story for EVERYTHING. He pointed to the half dozen books on the shelf – all of my blog entries and photographs, printed and bound like scrapbooks of our life. “Okay. Maybe I am a writer.”
That’s how it all began. A lot has happened since then, but today, more than any other, I feel like a writer.
I spent the weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway watching motorcycle racing. Talking to the racers, I was struck by the similarities between the racing circuit and project management.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. When it comes to racing, doing things well can make the difference between a spectacular finish and a spectacular crash. The process racers go through to be competitive provides insight that can be leveraged by new project managers as they mature in the role.