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  • Olga C. Piehler -

On Work-Life Balance

"Words Matter" Kim Scott - Radical Candor - How to be a kickass boss without losing your humanity.

I came across an article by Ryan Holmes CEO at Hootsuite providing guidance to those struggling with work-life balance and giving compelling reasoning behind the idea of “career intervals.” The article brought me back to Kim Scott’s chapter on Talent Management in her book Radical Candor- How to be a kickass boss without losing your humanity. I will get there in a second but first - Words matter - as I get older, I have found that the term "work-life" introduces a dichotomy in our very being - like a split personality (our work versus our life) and then we follow up by "balance" as to stopping the "battle" with "compromise" - A whole argument on whether "compromise" is an effective negotiation strategy can be inserted here ... and as each one of our kids can tell us after a "sharing - compromise" situation, leaves the battling parties feeling like they had to "lose" something to "keep" something - no winning feeling at all.

I am JUST me - when I feel like I am "winning" a wholehearted version of me shows up for "work" and shows up for "life" whatever that may look like at that particular time or season in my life.

Back to Kim Scott and her perspective on Talent Management - In this chapter, Kim describes how most companies create their performance potential matrix for succession planning. She explores the need to shift from a traditional “Talent Management” mindset to a “Growth Management” mindset and argues that “WORDS MATTER”

This is her reasoning:

Talent Management is based on the classification of employees as high potentials – she challenges this by arguing that asking whether or not a person possesses high or low potential infers judgement. “Potential” doesn’t seem like the right word – do we really believe that there is such a thing as a low potential human being?

As a solution, she proposes that our focus as we look at our team members is to know what growth trajectory each person is in at a given time and how that matches with the needs and opportunities of the team. Always keeping in mind that what motivates people changes with time and stage/circumstance in life. Kim speaks of two types of employees – Rock stars and Superstars – and defends the need for BOTH types of employees to build a comprehensive and high performing team.

Superstars are in a STEEP GROWTH TRAJECTORY: Change agents, ambitious at work, want new opportunities. Need to be challenged and be given opportunities to grow constantly.

Rock Stars are in a GRADUAL GROWTH TRAJECTORY: Force for stability, ambitious outside of work or simply content with life, happy in current role. They have found their groove. They are the people we count on and rely on – attention to details, as well as important institutional knowledge.

As we build our teams and even create our matrix for succession planning and we focus on a “Growth Management” approach – we can ask ourselves questions like:

What growth trajectory does each person on my team want to be on RIGHT NOW?

Have I given everybody opportunities that are in line with what they really want?

What growth trajectory do my direct reports believe they are on? Do I agree? And if I don’t, why don’t I?

Growth trajectory has nothing to do with performance – it is simply a motivator. High performance is expected of both groups – Understanding their current growth trajectory however, can prevent us from overwhelming our Rock Stars or boring our Super Stars.

In my own personal life I am now switching from asking myself "Do I have work-life balance?" to "What growth trajectory am I in this season in my life?"

Wishing you all lots of WINNING FEELINGS in this journey we call life.


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