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Category: Family

Photo Credit: "Conversation" (CC BY 2.0) by Sharon Mollerus
Dealing with Different Decompression Times

Dealing with Different Decompression Times

I do not often post about other articles I come across online. I prefer to comment on them, and if I like them, I will post them to LinkedIn. However, when something speaks to me, or it is a topic that is under appreciated by the masses, I will take the time to write a short post. I came across one such article today. Ed Batista wrote a piece on Harvard Business Review talking about the conflicts that arise between couples when they get home from work. This is a topic that many people in leadership do not fully appreciate or acknowledge the toll it takes on families and relationships.

We work diligently in our careers and all too often take home the stress we experience during the day. While it is not fair to come home in this mindset, I believe we are human, and it is hard to shake off a rough day in the typical 30-minute commute home. By no means am I excusing the behaviors of people, but I am just as guilty as the next when bringing home a bad day from the office.

Below is my comment on the article. In addition to the recommendations provided by the author, a little early communication between partners can go a long way to disrupting the conflict cycle.

I think this is underappreciated and recognized condition for many people in the professional community. It is incredibly tough to shake off a rough day at the office when we walk through the door to our home.

My wife or I will typically call each other on our way home to give and receive brief rundowns of our respective days. It is also an opportunity for us to understand each other’s current state before walking in the door. This way, we help each other cool down when we get home even if it means just providing some quiet space.

Photo Credit: "Now" (CC BY 2.0) by new 1lluminati
Aligning Professional and Personal Roles to Core Values

Aligning Professional and Personal Roles to Core Values

Having a strong work-life role as part of our overall identity is healthy and normal for high-performing people.  However, it is easily taken too far.  People may become so emotionally connected to the business that it consumes their identity until “the company” represents a huge part of the individual.  On the other hand, having a weak work-life component of our identity leads to career stagnation, mediocrity, and disengagement.

When we permit our personal identities to be compromised by allowing the corporation to supplant our true selves, we are letting our family, team, and company down.  Our objectiveness and priority system is unbalanced, and that compromises our judgement.  This situation leads to burnout, frustration, and an ever escalating level of damaged relationships.

FYI: This post is not what I intended to write.  However, it is some honest thoughts, and I feel it might be worth sharing.  I hope you find some value in it.

This is avoidable by aligning our priorities and actions with our core values. This requires us to understand what matters the most to us as a person.  Frequently, it is our family. I have learned the importance of regularly looking at my obligations and roles through the lens of my core values. This approach allows for the separation of the corporation from the person. I am not advocating for the separate identities for work-life and home-life.  This would create an entirely different set of problems. I am a complete person that has multiple obligations and roles in life.  When integrated together through core values, I am a unified and authentic person. I would recommend that we look at where our efforts/resources are being directed while asking a couple of questions.

  • Do I understand the needs and expectations of my stakeholders? Even if I am sure, I will ask them again. This understanding must be comprehensive and include both internal and external such as family, friends, colleagues, business and community.
  • Are my actions and resource allocation (time, energy, mind share, and financial among other items) aligned with those needs and expectations?
  • Do I agree with the current alignment between my core values, conduct, the external expectations placed on me, my internal expectations for myself, and my allocation of resources? If not, what beliefs, actions, or assignments need to be modified to gain the required alignment?
  • If I feel my resource’s allocations, actions, and beliefs are aligned with my core values, do the desires of my stakeholder’s need to be modified? If so, what methods may I use to help them in recalibrating their expectations?
  • How often should I recheck my alignment with my stakeholders and core values?

The allocation of resources and assessment of our behavior moves as our life situations change. The aim is to keep the true priorities that are derived from our core values first in our personal and professional lives. When we have an agreement between our core values, behaviors, and stakeholders, we are free to experience higher levels of fulfillment, clearer judgement, and ultimately the success we seek.

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Stepping Away from the Digital Life

Stepping Away from the Digital Life

Keeping up with everything is a full-time job. It adds stress and anxiety inappropriately to our lives. Periodically, I have to step away and look at how I manage our digital life. Simplification is needed to save our sanity, relationships, and give us the freedom to focus on what matters. The goal is to focus on the content that is critical to my life and career. Social media has been pared back to the interaction channels that allow me to connect with those people whom I care the most about and not the ones that provide the maximum voice. I have generated a surprising amount of free time and feel less obligated to maintain these digital connections. It is funny and a little sad that my stress level is lower as I reduce more of my digital life. The freed time is spent interacting and socializing with friends and family.

I realize that a meaningful engagement with one person brings more good to the world than superficial interactions with a thousand.

  • Twitter account: closed.
  • Instagram account: closed.
  • Facebook account: on a serious diet
  • LinkedIn account: maintaining a profile but no longer as active on news, commenting, and discussion groups
  • WordPress/tumbler: cut way back on the number of blogs I follow, comments on, and engage.
  • News websites: avoiding
  • Industry websites: following only two

I am not saying that I am jumping off of the grid or that social media is a waste of time. I want to focus on the parts of the social network that add value to my life and others. Moreover, I want real value and not just the illusory experience of superficial social interactions. I may add some of these accounts back over time but will focus on deeper and more personal interactions versus increased reach and share the voice.

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The Upside of Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

The Upside of Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Increases in employee engagement and performance occur through the aligning of the organization’s culture and mission (Katzenbach, Steffen, & Kronley, 2012). This arrangement creates synergies that positively reinforce the firm’s cultural values, beliefs, and behaviors. A healthy high-performance culture leverages the tools and techniques brought about by the technology revolution to experience significantly higher levels of productivity but at the expense of employees work-life balance (Butts, Becker, & Boswell, 2015, p. 763). There is insufficient research that definitively demonstrates negative social, family, and health outcomes related to poor work-life balance (Beauregard & Henry, 2009). However, research does conclude that organizations experience higher levels of productivity when work-life balance is maintained, and employees experience improved levels of satisfaction and lower levels of stress (Beauregard & Henry, 2009). Organizations need to realize the potential upside to their business by ensuring their employees support a healthy work-life balance.

The executive leadership of many companies builds high-performance cultures that significantly value individual and group contributions. These companies focus on hiring the right individuals and expect well above-average levels of productivity and decision-making. Often, initiatives and projects have significant work expectations and demanding timelines. There exists unwillingness to allow for slack or adjustment in any externally communicated schedule because of competitive position or Wall Street reactions. This places a considerable burden on employees to perform while under higher levels of sustained stress. For shorter periods of time, employees can maintain at these output levels. However, over time, the poor work-life balance will lead to employee disengagement, burnout, and reduced productivity (Beauregard, 2014, p. 772).

If organizations fail to enact greater levels of work-life balance, employee burnout and disengagement will continue to increase.  

These realities spur increased employee turnover and institutional knowledge loss. Regrettable employee turnover, lost knowledge and relationship disruption leads to lower organizational productivity and innovation. These firms will create the loss of competitive and market positions they wish to avoid by failing to adopt greater levels of employees work-life balance.

When the leadership chooses greater flexibility in employee scheduling, work and project product deliverables, project assignments, restrictions on after-hours communication, and mandatory use of vacation time, the employees should experience improved levels of satisfaction and lower stress. By implementing the needed policy changes and appraisal process while maintaining the current expectations of productivity, a company will continue to meet the needs of its employees and core business aims. Remember, an engaged workforce lowers turnover, increases productivity, and encourages innovation to flourish.

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Back to School Night

Back to School Night

Google is taking over Macs in schools!  Chromebooks and Google Classroom seem to be making some serious inroads in the K-12 education.  For every Mac we saw tonight, I saw a technology cart full of Chromebooks.  It is fascinating to see the adoption of technology in the classroom. The students seem to love it and enjoy the content. Teachers were more dubious.  With all new technologies, some glitches were experienced and some people adapt to new technologies faster than others.

A couple of teachers seemed less than thrilled, but everyone else had positive comments as to the role of the new electronic tools. Many teachers prefer the Chromebooks to Macs for the students.  They commented on cost and the benefit of having one for every student.  In addition, they liked how students could start on an assignment at school and finish it at home.  They days of “I forgot my assignment at home” are gone since all the data is stored in the cloud.

It will be fascinating to see how the technology evolves over the next decade.

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Reduce Off-Hours Communication to Improve Work-Life Balance

Reduce Off-Hours Communication to Improve Work-Life Balance

Technology has brought about many changes in our world.  All-new industries were given birth or faded into history because of the information technology revolution.  However, the information technology revolution was not a panacea and did not resolve all the world’s problems.  It allowed businesses to become more efficient, improve operations and increase their competitive advantages (Porter & Millar, 1985).  However, the rise of mobile communications, email, text messaging, and web platforms has increased the intrusion of business-related matters into personal and family time (McShane & Glinow, 2014, p. 8).  It is becoming more commonplace for workers never to log off from work as the evening hours have become a new de-facto night shift (Butts, Becker, & Boswell, 2015, p. 763).  Furthermore, this new always-on work environment has altered the relationship between management and employees.

Employees may feel obligated to respond to peers and management regardless of the hour.  Management knowingly or unknowingly may be sending messages that establish these expectations with employees.  Additionally, management may mistakenly believe that employees will leave off-hour communications in their inbox until the following workday.

Management teams should discourage off-hours communications.  When this is impossible because of time zone differences or travel requirement, the utilization of a delayed send function is encouraged. At a minimum, all off-hour messages should clearly indicate whether the message needs a response before the next workday.  Again, the preference is not to send messages off-hours or use a delay send function since many employees will still check messages off-hours.

By taking these small steps, employers can help their teams improve work-life balance and lower employee stress levels without sacrificing productivity.  They might even find that employees are more efficient when they experience lower levels of stress.


Butts, M. M., Becker, W. J., & Boswell, W. R. (2015, June). Hot buttons and time sinks: The effects of electronic communication during nonwork time on emotions and work-nonwork conflict. Academy of Management Journal, 58(3), 763-788. doi:10.5465/amj.2014.0170

McShane, S. L., & Glinow, M. V. (2014). Organizational behavior (Third ed.) [Kindle].

Porter, M. E., & Millar, V. E. (1985, July 01). How information gives you competitive advantage. Retrieved from

Photo Credit: Kartha
A New Beginning

A New Beginning

This last week, we took our eldest daughter off to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. This marks a significant milestone for both her and us as parents. She has total control of her choices with little required input from her parents. She will need to make the right choices at the right times. We will have more complex finances to manage among a myriad of family dynamic realities of a physically separated household. She may no longer be living under our roof, but our hearts, support, and thoughts will always be with her.

Going out to college with her, we saw so many eager young faces that were followed by parents who had a mix of joy and concern across their faces. It was amazing to see and experience. The whole process of getting her set up and meeting her dorm mates was entertaining and exciting. She is lucky to have such good people in her dorm room. I know this will be a tremendous experience for her.

ERAU is so well-organized, and they made all aspects smooth and trouble-free. ERAU welcomed our family and helped in numerous ways. Leaving the campus, my wife and I commented about how great it would have been for us to attend this school when we were her age. I guess we have become the parents who get to live a little vicariously through their children…well at least in this aspect.

We have to let go a little and watch as she continues to grow into the wonderful person that she is and will become over the next few years. We will never be far away when needed, but struggle allows growth. It pertains to the both of us. As parents, we have to struggle to let go, and she has to struggle to develop her independence, will and character.

Life is interesting; life is challenging; life is beautiful.