4 min read
I have three main goals in life, in this order:
- Be the best father I can be.
- Be a great husband.
- Inspire world-class marketing with my team (and for my company).
These worlds collide every day.
Earlier in the week, I was giving a presentation to some of our new starters, and I talked to them about Reward Gateway’s mission, and how important it was for purpose, mission and values alignment to keep us rowing in the same direction. The reason I spoke so passionately about it, is because it’s the same mindset that has helped me keep personal momentum against my life goals being a new father with a global leadership role.
By taking the time to figure out what my highest level goal, or mission is, and how the other goals in my life support it, decisions about where I need to be, and when, have become slightly easier to make and explain to all the people that I support.
For instance, I had a stacked calendar one Wednesday and was planning on driving into the office at 4:30 a.m. to kick-off early calls with the U.K., and then being in-person for some important U.S. team meetings. Then my wife got sick the night before. She encouraged me to go into the office as we were getting ready for bed, and I agreed.
But when I woke up and was putting my shoes on at the front door, I stopped.
I thought about my highest level goals, and realized I could still lead by example for my marketing team if I stayed home by using video conferencing, and being extra active on Slack instant messaging. But if I got in the car I would be failing as a husband and ultimately compromising on my ability to deliver against my mission of being the best father I can be. That day I made every call and was extremely productive, but was able to skip my commute and be home to occasionally get my wife water, pretzels, and ginger ale … you know the drill.
This simple example illustrates how this works for me.
Why it’s OK to not care about work-life balance
In a new world of work-life integration (we rarely use the term “work-life balance” at Reward Gateway), I’ve had to learn to juggle so much more than meetings, and I find this collision of my worlds happening more than it ever did before. But I love it.
You might be wondering what the difference is — don’t all companies want their employees to have a work-life balance? The truth is, technology has forced our society to have an “always-on” mentality, which can be hard to shut off when it comes to work, or communications. Think of how many news stories you scrolled through on your way to work, or during your lunch. But this accessibility also means that you can absorb information and connect with colleagues on your own time, which I’ve found to be amazing.
I work with a global team, managing team members and interacting with all our offices across seven countries and 10 or so different time zones. We stay connected via our messaging system on Slack and through our employee engagement platform, boom!. This helps me celebrate wins across the company and keep up to date on company news I might have missed while I was sleeping.
I have people on my team who are night owls, early birds and everything in between. And so they need to adjust to working with what’s right for them. What does that look like?
Our Head of Content Strategy, Chloe Deiulis, leaves work on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. sharp to get to her weekly spin class — I’ve had to push her out the door before while we’re wrapping up a meeting to make sure she gets in her tech-free time.
Rachel Weeks, our Head of U.S. Growth Marketing, has a longer commute into the office so she works from home two days a week. Often she adjusts her schedule to make sure she's able to make time for important life events, like her son's championship baseball game.
Flexible working isn’t just about working the hours you 'want' to work, it’s about being selfless and making work decisions based on the demands of your job and your life to best achieve your goals.
To make this work as a leader you need to help your team understand the demands their role at the company has, and then trust they will get their job done, on the schedule that makes sense for them and the people that rely on them. At Reward Gateway, I’ve seen firsthand how trust in leadership and open and honest communication with your workforce leads to higher engagement among employees.
And me? I block out time on my calendar between my U.S. workday and my Australian meetings. That appointment, the one marked “VIGGO ARIE” is the one I never miss.