By Barry Maher
It’s been said a thousand times, but let me start out by saying it again. Cultivate your relationships with family and friends. James M. Citrin, co-author of Lessons from the Top, says, “True success is not a trade-off between one’s professional life and family life. Contrary to conventional wisdom . . . there is a causal relationship between a strong family life and the greatest levels of professional accomplishment.” And friendships in your business or your personal life don’t just happen. They need to be cultivated. Cultivate them.
Psychologists insist that if you want to pursue happiness, caring and loving relationships should be a priority. I think that means before money. Strong relationships also increase your resiliency: your ability to deal with adversity. In this country though, many of us have trouble accepting that. The myth of the rugged individual pulling himself up by his bootstraps is too strong.
Stand up. Reach down and grab your own bootstraps. Pull. See how far you get by yourself. It’s like trying to lift yourself up by the nose.
CEOs trying to create family-friendly companies are learning to practice what they preach. And not just to save their own families. Vance Brown, former CEO of Goldmine Software says, “I call it the balance effect. With employee capital our most important asset, we need employees to live balanced lives. To protect that capital—if for no other reason. But you can’t talk it and not live it. Employees see right through that. You’ve got to be the role model.”
As Vance and I talked, his two year old was drawing on the office white board. The real treat for the boy would come when he discovered that the drawing would print out. And that he could take it with him when he and Dad left for home in a few minutes.
Mike Goodrich, CEO of the engineering and construction firm BE&K, once had a client meeting run late. It was Halloween and Goodrich had promised to go trick or treating with one of his kids. He left the meeting. Not a bad standard to set for employees concerned about balancing their home and work life.