No one just wants a job any more, and we have moved beyond seeking work/life balance to seeking work/life integration.
Work/life balance pits work and life against each other. Work too much and you feel bad. To get back into balance we take a holiday or go to the gym. Then once back to the office, it starts all over again. Work/life balance becomes nothing more than tug-of-war of time and energy, an ongoing struggle. Inevitably, the ‘job’ becomes our identify, and we eventually realise we have lost touch with the things that bring real meaning and joy to our life. This starts a downward swing or puts us on a roundabout. We start losing interest in our job, we detach, eventually resign and find a new job. This time we are determined to ‘get the balance right’ only to find we are back on the ‘roundabout’. Even worse, we stay in the job which is now devoid of connection and engagement and we become nothing more than functioning robots and energy vampire.
Alternatively, like more and more people today, we might leave the ‘job’ and start a business based on the belief that if I work for myself, I will definitely be able to have the life of my dreams. Sometimes this works, but unless we have learnt how to achieve work/life integration we are back on the roundabout.
Work/life integration is about consciously seeking to align who we are, our vision for ourselves, what we love, what we need/want and what we are good at, with what we do. It aims to create more meaning, engagement, energy, fun and sustainability at work and in our personal lives. This is not new of course, it is the basis of all personal development and spiritual practices through-out history. It’s just that the more we evolve as humans, the more we seek greater levels of alignment driven from our personal values, beliefs, strengths, gifts, talents and vision for ourselves and our world. The difference is that today, these concepts no longer simply apply for the enlightened few.
The gap, is that whilst the concept sounds simple, the process of integrating and aligning work and life does not happen naturally for most. Every year, increasing numbers of staff and management attend a wide range of personal development programs, in search of greater energy, alignment and purpose. Yet, even after great investments of time and money, they are still unsure of how to join the dots when they walk back through the company door. In fact, many return to work after these courses and resign because they are unable to connect their ‘new visions and awareness about themselves and their lives’ to the ‘job’.
So as managers and leaders it is up to us to find ways to bring this inevitable evolution into business, and, as we are about to enter a new decade, what a great time to start!
To kick start this process, here are 14 fabulous questions to prompt further thought on the concept of work/life integration.
They aim to integrate the need to achieve organisational outcomes, with the desire to do good in the world – along with the desire of individuals to step into the best version of themselves and create a life and career they love. A lofty vision indeed, but one worth pursuing!
Reflecting on these questions should prompt you to new levels of thought, ideas and evolved new ways of managing and leading teams.
Questions related to the company
1. What is the vision and purpose of the company and how is this demonstrated on a daily basis?
2. What is most important for the company to achieve in the next one to three years?
Questions related to me and my role as a manager
3. What is the vision and purpose of my role?
4. What is my vision for myself personally and professionally?
5. What are my gifts, talents, loves, what do I really care about and what is most important to me in my life?
6. How do I connect 5 and 4, with 3, 2 and 1.
7. How do I demonstrate commitment to integrating my personal and work life on daily basis?
Questions related to my team
8. What is my vision for my team? How does my team contribute to the company vision?
9. What is most important for us to achieve in the coming year?
10. What is my vision for each and every role in my team?
11. How do I support my team, individually and collectively to identify their visions, gifts, talents, loves, what they really care about what is most important to them in life?
12. How do I support my team, individually and collectively, to align 11 with 10, 9, 8, 2 and 1?
13. How do I support each individual to take personal responsibility for the ongoing alignment, energy and contribution on a daily basis?
14. How do I monitor and support the ongoing engagement, energy and alignment of my team and myself for the benefit of the individual and the company?
In my experience these are great questions to work on individually and ultimately to workshop with your teams. It sparks self reflection, self awareness, new levels of connection and new ways to lead and manage to achieve individual, team, organisational and greater world outcomes. It also brings a fresh perspective to strategic planning and team development.
It could be a great way to kick off 2020 and if you need an experienced facilitator to help you out you know where you can find me. Enjoy.
Have a fabulous 2020!