There are times in business and in our personal lives that call out to us to rock the boat, to make a mess. These are the times when the only sane thing to do is to be the child yelling “The Emperor has no clothes!” And when that time comes, you will surely recognize it. Because whatever “it” is will be in direct conflict with one of your core values or one of the core values of your organization. Perhaps you will be asked to perform an unethical act, to lie – even though it may just be a white lie, or to fudge the numbers. When that time comes what will you do? Will you stay in your comfort zone and go along with the crowd?
I challenge you to rock the boat! Take a stand. Speak your truth in a loud voice. Show up powerfully and demonstrate that your values matter. By standing in your power, you are creating an example for others. You create the space and an environment for others to rock the boat as well. However, when and if you choose to rock the boat – and I sincerely hope you do – be very clear about why you are doing so and what core value you are honoring.
And after you have made a mess, you must be prepared to clean it up, i.e. take responsibility for your impact. No one respects critics that do not offer solutions. For example, if you are drawing attention to a major deficiency in your organization, be prepared to provide suggestions for how to fix it. Better yet, lead the task force to implement the recommended changes across the organization. Do not be ruled by fear. You may be thinking, “If I rock the boat, I may lose my job.” If you entertain discouraging thoughts, then ask yourself how long you really want to be in a job where you are asked to repeatedly act against your core values. Then go out there and rock the boat!
Work Life Presence
“Aaaaaagh, help!” my client Jill pleaded with me over the phone. Jill is the Founder and CEO of a 12 year-old rapidly growing middle market service business in the Rocky Mountains. “No matter how much I try, I never seem to be on top of all the commitments I make for myself, professionally, socially, with my family, in the community! Most days I leave the office feeling frustrated at what I was not able to accomplish even though my hours are longer than they have ever been! Outside of work, I seem to be less able to see my friends as much as I would like and to maintain some semblance of health and fitness!”
Does Jill’s predicament sound familiar? In today’s overly-committed, connected and always available world, most busy executives feel stretched beyond capacity, particularly during the summer when we do not have school to occupy our children. When I heard Jill complain about her lack of work life balance, I asked her to describe the times in the midst of her busy schedule when she did not feel out of balance. Jill paused a moment before answering. As often happens with executive coaching sessions, I learned something new and insightful from Jill’s thoughtful response.
“Hmmm… I guess the times I feel most in balance are when I am compartmentalizing, i.e. when I am focusing on only the task at hand in the moment.” I suggested that in so many words she was defining being present. She agreed with me that, yes, for her focusing on just one task at a time, giving no thought or attention to what had transpired before or what would be happening an hour, a day, a week or month from the current moment was the definition of presence. I congratulated her on defining a new solution to the perennial challenge of work life balance, Work Life Presence. So, take a tip from Jill – the next time you are feeling frustrated about your lack of work life balance, take a few deep breaths and begin to focus on the just one task – the current task – at a time. You will be practicing Work Life Presence!
Have you recently been promoted to CEO of your organization? If so, what are your priorities for your first 90 days? What is your leadership stake? What is your commitment to your organization’s values and vision? How will you manage your board? How will you integrate with your senior team? Through my First-time CEO Springboard Coaching Program, I will help you achieve clarity regarding these questions and more. Please contact me for details.
Peter Feer, CPCC, ACC