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The Good Life

The Good Life

It’s a balmy 87 degree day in Western Pennsylvania.

My children are doing cannonballs in a neighborhood pool.

I’m chatting joyfully with an executive halfway across the world in Brazil. 

It feels really good.

For the past 20 years, my summers were filled with airports and sweat. Not the good kind.

Sweating results. Sweating bills. Sweating emails. 

As a (recovering) people pleaser, I want to say yes. All the time. To all the things. 

For too many of us, living in the narrow space of sustainable work + life harmony still involves trade offs. You can have everything, but not everything all at once.  

If you’ve ever read one of my books, or attended one of my workshops, then you may have heard me say something like this, “The space between work, and life, is so narrow, that if your work brings out the best of you, the life outside work should be getting something even better than the best.”

My work is about creating better lives for professionals.  Because everybody deserves a chance to live the good life. 

If your work isn’t causing you to live a better life and make a better contribution to society, then you might be doing it wrong. There, I’ve said it. When the space between life and work gets too narrow, we all feel the squeeze. Todays workforce won’t settle for a poor work experience, bad management style, or lackluster leadership. Todays top employees want life and work to coexist in harmony. So, I’m leveraging everything I’ve learned, tested, and experienced to help increase the good.  

Here’s the formula for spreading more of the good: 

(Organizations) Do Good. (Managers) Be Good.(Employees) Feel Good.  

Strength to Do Good.  There are two ways for organizations to catch the momentum and build on strength to do good. First - establish or operationalize the values that are significant to the organization.  This should be reflected in the policies and practices, the meetings and expectations, the communications, and the community. I help leaders by doing an audit of the values and test theory of how they lay against the operational culture.  If they don’t line up, I can provide some insight and suggestions on how to begin shaping the culture to reflect the values.  The second way is through the usage of Clifton Strengthsfinder — a tool that supports the reality that people do better when they are doing more of what they are best at!

TRY THIS: Write down the values that your organization publicly acknowledges. Define each value in a succinct line. Acknowledge the 3 to 5 behaviors that demonstrate the value. Does the organization demonstrate these values, or are they more aspirational? 

Behaviors to Be Good.  For managers, being good at managing starts with cultivating a strong understanding of people! Measurements matter too - if you can measure it, you can manage it, and if you can manage it, you can master it! But….since few organizations come out and say outright that people are just a means to an end, it’s safe to assume that there is some guiding vision or mission that managers must follow in bringing out the best in their people.  It requires understanding.   For managers, a quick way to better understand the people they work with is through the DISC assessment - which provides a snapshot on an individual’s observable dominance, influencing, steadiness, and consistency. The particular assessment that I use exclusively also provides a score for the adapted style.  The value of the natural style vs the adapted style is valuable for managers here because there is an energy differential in play. 

When we are constantly adapting to accomplish a task outside of our strengths, we may be very good at it, but never excellent. When we do not renew our strength and continue to overuse or exert in adaptation, we are more prone to error, fatigue, burnout, and well, responding like an asshole. So, in educating managers on best practices for human-centered leadership, using the DISC as a baseline, and integrating the org mission and vision, I help managers stand under their people to get the best outcomes.  That’s real understanding. 

Pro-Tip: If you’re using assessments in your business, realize that not all assessments are equal and lose viability when not debriefed properly. Be discerning in how you acquire assessments and what you do with the results. 

Tools to Feel Good.  When employees trust their leadership, are aware of and target their strengths to tasks, and renew their strength and focus after they do the hard yet necessary things that are part of their reality, they feel better. I coach employees in time management, conflict resolution, network building, strengths and DISC, and goal setting.  By providing an opportunity to not only be that best version of self at work, but also to set up systems to protect that, I believe and have experienced the reality that a better version comes home and impacts the entire community with an even more positive result. 

When the space between work and life is narrow, balance is impossible. I want to encourage you to be brave enough to lead, in the narrow spaces.

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