Men are seldom asked how they balance being a father with their job as a CEO; women are always asked that question. It’s the way the world works and, maybe, a way of giving homage to mothers. They are, after all, pretty important people in everyone’s life. But being a business leader doesn’t mean you’re a slacker mom. Here are three simple rules to start finding some work/life balance.
1. Don’t try to balance every day. “On a given day, I’m great at one, good at another, and bad at another,” says Shelly Sun, CEO of Brightstar. “I balance over time.” One day, she may be a great CEO and not so good mom but the reverse is true other days. She travels but then takes time off from work to have time with her children.
2. Delegate. Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter, neither strives for daily balance nor does she “do it all.” Her engaging video on time management points out, she has assistants. If you try to do it all — which women are expected to do more than men — you can’t move forward. Your business can’t grow if you are doing everything, just as your children can’t grow if you don’t give them new responsibilities and greater freedom.
3. Make your own business family-friendly. Change the culture of the business world. Allow employees flex time, telecommuting, and a year off for parental leave without damaging their career prospects. After all, you hire the best you can find; spend time and money training them. They gain expertise and insight while on the job. Do you want to throw that all away because an employee wants to work from home three days a week or take a year off to care for her newborn?
Laurie Simon, founder of Ombrella Consulting and SBA National Woman in Business Award-winner, structured her IT firm to support women in technology. She saw they were leaving when they wanted a family or more time for non-work activities. She pays health benefits for part-time employees, allows telecommuting, and focuses on deliverables. But she had to become an advocate, selling her business model to customers who, happily, have realized that they are getting more bang for their IT buck.
Streamlining operations and re-focusing resources may be all that’s needed for your business as well as your life.