Keep Work & Life Separate? A CEO’s Counterpoint

Earlier this month, Amy Bermar shared her “Three Biggest Mistakes Running a Business.” In the post, she cited the value of not doing it all and separating work from life. She heard back from a CEO we know, who offered his take on these points.

1. I believe that the amount and success of separation of work and life is a function of the nature of your business.

a. Our global business demands that we work on customer timeframes.

b. The mission critical nature of our equipment to our customers creates inherent expectations about response.

c. The nature of the job function (global sales and global service) imposes certain work characteristics.

d. People that need complete separation and don’t have the ability to intermix work and life need to find jobs and companies that fit their preferences. Lots of jobs allow for clocking in and clocking out. Other jobs require that we find time for recreation around and within the work schedule. Life stage should match work type.

e. Good companies and good leaders know how to help employees find roles that fit.

2. With respect to ‘do it all’ or focus, I feel different. We must leverage everyone in our organizations, and setting a critical few mentality slows and impairs growth in my experience.

a. Great leaders accomplish more than weak leaders.

i. Great leaders do great work breakdowns (better planning) with aligned activities in each function.

ii. Great leaders segment the work for their reports.

iii. Great leaders give lots of specific focused projects to each of their direct reports.

b. Turnarounds require that lots of things get fixed simultaneously.

i. Triage strategies are great ways to set the work plan and help to bring order to chaos.

ii. Slowing down the process of fixes leads to greater casualties.

iii. People need to find work that suits them. Emergency room work is not for everybody and it does tend to lead to burnout. Only very mature people and well balanced can spend their entire careers in emergency environments. It requires confidence and calm amid the chaos.

c. Great project management allows lots of projects, sub-projects, and tasks to get done well and quickly in a synchronized fashion.

By: A CEO We Know