Life Integration...

Life Integration...

BizNorth Admin

The topic of work-life balance has been a hot topic in my life since I commenced work. I truly think it has evolved from the baby boomers, who learnt their work ethic from their fathers (the builder generation). While I was learning to be a good wife by modelling my Mother, who had read the “Good Wife” book, my brothers were modelling our Dad. He worked hard for the money. The work week was five days of long hours and weekends would be sport or pub time. The world peace from World War II had many women not in the workforce so they made great homes and brought up great kids like us.

In the 1960’s women began to enter the workforce at first part time. Then with growing confidence and the enjoyment of more cash for the family they transitioned into full time. For some, that transition included further education and self-empowerment. As the women became more independent they did not just burn their bras (thanks Germaine Greer) they burnt the Good Wife book and they taught their daughters to get further education, speak up, question the status quo and even start businesses.

Welcome to the modern family life, which has sustained a paradigm shift that my parents would be unlikely to understand. Women are well educated and 46% of woman own their own business with one in four starting businesses and being in executive level positions. The family unit is less traditional than it’s ever been. Blended families are common and marriage not so common. Same gender marriage is topical and making its way throughout the world as equally as opposite gender.

So why is work-life balance so topical and why has it been so for at least thirty-five years?

I believe it has its roots in the days of industry were people did not see the sun enough and became ill from lack of Vitamin D. Yes, it’s happening now that the same lack of vitamin D is part of ill health as we stay indoors not just because of work but because we use technology for our lifestyle and in particular our entertainment. Work-life balance was about doing more than the 9 to 5 job, it was saying stop work go play have fun.

Today’s workforce does play often, seen in cafes and boutique pubs after work in the attempt to have some me time a little relax or reward after all our world does require self-indulgence. But often this leads to excess and ill health.

So back to our modern family with woman entering the workforce and the corporate world. She often takes on many roles, including Mother and she has a life partner as well. She might be studying and she may also be running some form of business. So, in all that she has contributed to the changing face of the modern family. Her partner is no longer the only one who brings in the money. She has never heard of the Good Wife book and she expects her partner to be as equally involved in their “partnership” or “marriage” and why not. After all both are responding to the demands of family, work and life.

So, technology in our lives has in some ways helped us but in some ways burdened us. Yes, we can work from various places and can work while we prepare a meal. We answer the phone while talking to friends and we can also read our handheld device as though it was a tabloid and its all quite acceptable. Technology has us on call and that creates more tasks and more to manage.

The men in our lives have been asked to change the way they are in the home. No longer do they do as my Dad did, sit down and have a meal served to them. They are to do their share of the tasks that remain, shop, collect kids, make food, do homework and clean. The list goes on as we have much to do and we want to do it all now.

Pressure on today’s people comes from the media, often it is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and websites that depict the perfection of work-life balance. This is a couple that workout, are buffed and dressed in designer label clothes. They know quality and they drink green juice. They have gorgeous children dressed to match and the family car that does not look like a bus. All without even raising a sweat. Oh, and when she is pregnant she looks perfect and bounces back into her pre-baby shape in a matter of days.

This all creates pressure and people say you should have work-life balance and I say bullshit!

Seriously being yourself and authentic are essential to your sanity (it takes work to invest into all that you think you should be). Yes, women are capable and they do a lot. So, do the men who are seriously trying to keep up with the women. It’s tough for them when their DNA is screaming Hey aren’t I the bread winner in this alpha male world, don’t I get to rest after my work day that is long.

I am not having a go at men or women what I am saying is that life is different to how it used to be and that work-life balance has no formula like it once did. What is work-life balance for you, it’s going to be different to me.

The problem that I see is that the pressure of balance and pleasing all and doing everything all at once is creating for both the Woman and the Man is GUILT. Yes, its guilt they feel bad that they haven’t done this or that. They are possibly doing to each other creating little guilt anchors that they each unknowingly press because we are living a different way than our fathers and mothers.

We are living an integrated life bringing in the needs of our families’ careers and friends in creative ways. There will be times where you need to lean in and do more. You might need to dig deep and find the courage to do what is most important at the time and then you will have times where it flows.

Life Integration is focusing on what is important to you determine your value hierarchy. List what is not negotiable. Find ways to combine (like walking meetings, inviting friends to an annual event) but be careful of the traditions that you have and may create to achieve the combining as they may become another task.

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Decoding the Silence

Decoding the Silence

BizNorth Admin

Recently we heard Associate Professor Ram Vemuri (Charles Darwin University) speaking in a radio interview about the sounds of silence in the workplace that indicates that there is much happening yet not said. Associate Professor Vemuri is researching the impact of workplace silence. We believe this is very much needed to uncover issues, challenge norms, and to have companies realise that they are not hearing what they need to hear. Part of it also is that the companies should be addressing issues more effectively than they have in the past.

Our workplaces are full of various ways that we behave, some of which is our adaption to the environment, by that I mean that we, like plants, adapt to the environment for survival. So, if the environment accepts and implements a code of silence then we will adapt even if we are uncomfortable about the flexibility that is needed.

A code of silence can be formed through the number of experiences that have met the expectations of our convincer strategy. Meaning that if we have heard it once, twice or thrice, it is likely that we will believe the behaviour of the past and will not trust in the future, especially if there is to be a “said” change.

Some people have a behavioural preference to silence. By not saying anything until they hit the point that they can no longer tolerate. This is like a volcano; the silence leads to high levels of stress as the fire of anger burns low and deep until the eruption. This behaviour style prefers sincere, collective and frequent personal communication which is not always achievable at the frequency that would best suit them.

Steadiness Behaviour is the most populated cohort of workplace behaviour for Australia. What does this mean? Well people with Steadiness Behaviour are predominately employed in government and in processing, social service type occupations. They prefer to work where the is financial security and safe strong policy so that they know where they are at and what they need to do at each given time.  A strong team player this behaviour type will not speak out for fear of creating conflict and so will sit back and take it until the volcano erupts. Sometimes Steadiness runs under the radar of observation and they blend in with the group so well that you may not see them. So, their silence is particularly telling if not recognised and acknowledge by an astute leader. Hesitation and indecision can be a fault, if overused, yet the warmth and inclusion of their behaviour can give a false sense of illusion of the truth.

What will have a Steadiness Behaviour preference remain silent is the fear, hostile attention and possible retribution that may come their way should they speak out. Organisations constantly get the HR process wrong and in doing so the Steadiness behaviour continues to withdraw because if they speak up they could be moved, or questioned and put on the spot.

Steadiness Behaviour brings a great deal to the business operation yet can be sitting in an uncomfortable situation for a very long time as they contemplate moving on and with all the options. Employees with a Steadiness Behaviour preference are strong and support team players who thrive on established processes in a stable, friendly environment. Revealing the symptoms and reasons for silence and promoting clear communication will contribute to an effective organisation where people can develop their potential and become part of its success.

If you want to know more about behaviour and how to lead, manage change and inspire, head over to our online store to book-in and join us for the Decoding Behaviour Workshop to be held Wednesday 7 June 2017.

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Decision Making

Decision Making

BizNorth Admin

How do you make decisions?

I find this a fascinating topic as I have observed my decision-making process. I have in the past suffered from Decision Fatigue the quality of my decisions deteriorating in the afternoon and with the volume of decisions that need to be made affecting my decision.

With many decisions to be made our ability to have consistency declines as the speed increases. Barack Obama reduced his decision-making process by wearing only two suit variations either blue or grey and he ate mainly the same foods each day, what he did was eliminate the number of decisions that he had to make each day so that he had the Decision Energy for his job.

When do you make decisions? Is it in the morning afternoon or do you make a splattering of decisions consistently throughout the day? Do you need to refer to someone for your decision making?

Some of use vary our decision-making technique between home and work, there may be more decisions to make at home than at work and vice versa, but never underestimate that the number of decisions that we make each day is of high volume, from the minute we awake will be hit the snooze button, a shower yes or no, what to wear and the list goes on.

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