Balance. It’s something that as adults we talk about all the time. How do we balance work life, home life, and everything in between? A few years ago, I heard some advice about balance that really resonated with me.
David Bednar, a former university president, and a global leader for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was once asked by a young man, how we should balance everything? His response… “I can give a simple answer to this question…you can’t. So don’t worry about it.”
...Wow. This was not the response I was expecting. What do you mean we can’t balance everything? But hasn’t that been our goal since we entered adulthood?
Bednar later described how balance is a false notion. Life is like juggling spinning plates. When we’re at work, we’re neglecting other areas of our lives by definition. “There is an optimum number of plates that each of us can spin.” The trick is to identify our priorities and try our best. Then be present at each moment. When at home, be home.
To me, that means, while at work we have to understand what’s most important in our business, then spin that plate at the right moment so it doesn’t fall and break. We can’t be wasting time spinning the wrong plate, working on a plate that doesn’t matter, or misaligning our efforts with our colleagues. In business, it’s critical we understand what the strategy is for our position, department, and organization as a whole, and then to stay up-to-date.
Here’s the sad part...and where the major disconnect in balance lies: Harvard Business Review published the results of a study that suggested:
“on average, 95% of a company’s employees are unaware of, or do not understand, its strategy. If the employees who are closest to customers and who operate processes that create value are unaware of the strategy, they surely cannot help the organization implement it effectively.”
We are dropping the plates!
So how do we fix it?
Listening to your company’s earnings calls is one way (need help learning how to listen to / decipher an earnings call - check out our free labs). I recently heard a client’s executives answering analyst questions and the COO responded that they were making a “significant shift to higher-margin…services”.
If you were an employee of this company, don’t you think it would be important to understand that shift and how we can be a part of its success? If we’re not paying attention, we could be dropping a critical plate.
If you want to continue developing your business acumen and learn how to get more out of those quarterly calls, join us every month as we dissect the latest calls from some of the largest and leading companies in their industries in our “How to listen to an earnings call” webinar series.
Ryan Hunt, Senior Consultant - Acumen Learning