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Achieving Balance – Interview with The American Management Association
AMA: Many CEO’s who are successful in business seem to have a personal life that is in disarray ‑‑ divorce, estranged children, or other issues. What advice do you have for future leaders on how to balance their family needs and the needs of their companies? It seems companies expect their promising leaders to be on 24/7.
JM: That’s a great question, and a tough one, but there is no doubt that there are plenty of people out there who probably sit there saying, “You know, my company doesn’t ask less from me. They ask more. My boss doesn’t ask less of me. They ask more every day. My family doesn’t ask less of me. They ask more.” So the pressure to operate successfully and the expectations from a lot of different groups, including our loved ones, our families, are off the charts. And there’s no question that we’re seeing the result of that in many individuals, and it’s not just CEO’s. It’s just people who are derailing from a personal standpoint, in terms of divorce and all kinds of challenges.
What I try to do in my work as a coach is get people to focus in on living the elements of character and going forth every day with what I call worth values. If you operate from the standpoint of worthy achievement, in that you’re not focused in on titles and money and houses and cars, but rather you’re focused on becoming the best that you can be every single day, sharpening your saw every day, and that worthy achievement is a great value to operate from.
Another factor is what I call affiliation, and that is relationships and “connectedness” with others. Steve Jobs is a great example of this. The late Steve Jobs, who was the world’s greatest technologist perhaps that we’ll ever see, took 41 years to recognize it’s about people and about talent. I would say to the younger talent that you should be proud of, in your organization, the databases that you’ve got, your technology, your marketing, as well as your products and services. Be proud of those. Every organization out there has got pride around all of their “differentiators”. The only real differentiator is people. So, it’s about relationships. It’s always going to be about relationships; it’s affiliation. We’ve got to go forward with that.
The third factor is something called altruism. What I mean by that is: It’s not about you; it’s about others, about impacting others every single day. It’s been my experience that if you can go forward with strong elements of character and you can operate with those three A’s: achievements, affiliation, altruism, then you’re going to find balance. I think if you come from the standpoint of a strong inner core of great character and great values, the probability that you’re going to work through all these challenges is much higher.