Balance is learning to live without guilt.
Maybe it is the hopeless optimist in me, but I find the following idea incredibly compelling: “...it’s time to stop limiting our thinking and start believing that equality is possible if we ‘lean out’ and create the companies we want to work for, instead of waiting for the companies we work for to become what we want.”
This idea comes from a recent post in strategy + business by Susan Cramm, where she is referring mainly to gender equality at work. Her case study is Lori Patterson, founder of Pixo, who is a kind of antidote to Sheryl Sandberg and Sandberg’s idea of “leaning in.” I think any number of other, related notions could be substituted for equality here: balance, satisfaction, healthy workplaces, the life we want.
Patterson set out to build a company on the back of an operating model that aligned with her values. The result? A thriving technology consultancy where people work 40-hour weeks exceeding customer expectations. How well is it thriving? Pixo has a year-long backlog of clients waiting their turn to work with them.
Cramm’s point is clear: there are real challenges confronting anyone wishing to transform an entrenched culture, and her post makes the case for stepping away and launching one’s own business. That’s certainly one way to change the world.
Still, if entrepreneurialism isn’t in your blood, I’ve worked with plenty of teams to create micro-cultures inside larger organizations. We usually call them spheres of excellence. These efforts have demonstrated that it is possible to make choices that cut against the grain and have them be sustainable. It isn’t easy. It takes leadership, courage, and ongoing effort.
Contact me if you’d like to talk more about it.