The Flexibility Working Retreat group spent the day creating a vision of optimal flexibility in both corporations and universities and then we addressed the challenges for making that vision a reality. To learn more about the objectives for flexibility in higher education, check out my blogtalkradio interview with Claire Van Ummersen, VP at the American Council on Education.
Optimal Vision–Work, Systems and Careers Need to Transform to Match New Realities that Require “Flexibility” in It’s Broadest Definition
It is always rewarding and encouraging to sit in a meeting of respected professionals in your field and have them echo what you believe and have been doing with your work. Then it is even more rewarding to hear the same approach and understanding being embraced in a completely different industry. That was what happened today: Everyone agreed that work has changed radically, and it required flexibility in terms of how much work can reasonably be completed, who does work, where the work is done, and when the work happens.
Hello from Park City Utah, and the Alfred P. Sloan/AWLP Flexibility Retreat. My intention was to blog last night after the opening dinner meeting, but I failed to factor the two hour time difference into my plans. By the time we finished at 9:00 pm MT, it was 11:00 pm ET which is way past my bedtime. So today there will be two postings this morning and this evening. Start with my BlogTalkRadio interview with Kathie Lingle, Executive Director of Alliance for Work-Life Progress and host of the retreat (please forgive the couple first-timer technical glitches!).
Themes from the Opening Session
The group is primarily composed of corporate and university flexibiliy strategy leaders responsible for making flexibility a reality in their organizations. As someone whose primary area of expertise is corporate flexibility it was interesting to observe the common challenges to flexibility in higher education, but also distinct differences that emerged from the opening activities.
Today! I’m on the Radio! Tune in to Karen Salmansohn’s “Be Happy, Dammit” Show, Wed, September 12th from 8-9 am, hear me live on Lime channel 114, Sirius Satellite Radio. I will be joining a panel of experts to talk about women in the workplace. Along with me you will hear Marci Alboher, career columnist for the New York Times and author of “One Person/Multiple Careers;” Eve Tahmincioglu, Your Career columnist for MSNBC.com and author of “From the Sandbox to the Corner Office;” and Leslie Bennetts, author of “The Feminine Mistake.” Should be a great conversation—already the emails exchanging between us have been challenging and provocative!
I’m Live Blogging from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation/AWLP Working Retreat on Workplace Flexibility—Next Week 9/16, 9/17, 9/18!
Join me real-time as I share my experiences at this unprecedented national gathering of the top workplace flexibility experts in Park City, Utah sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Alliance of Work-Life Progress. This meeting will bring together professionals from the different sectors pursing workplace flexibility innovations: corporate leaders, higher education leaders and consultants like me who support the flexibility efforts of both the private sector and educational organizations.
The goal of this meeting is as follows:
“The objective of this get-together is for private sector employers and institutions of higher education to come together for the first time to share challenges and advances in their efforts to create optimally flexible work environments. This exchange is designed to help both sectors achieve faster progress, the proceedings of which will result in the publication of a “Flexibility Compendium.”’
Why Should Everyone Know and Care about This Meeting?
The “C-Suite” positions composing the most senior levels in organizations—CEO, CFO, CIO, and President—are beginning to discover work+life flexibility as a strategic business imperative. This linkage to broader organizational growth objectives will ultimately transform the way we work and live. Where’s the evidence?
First, I was interviewed for an article in this month’s CIO Magazine entitled, “The Extreme CIO: Taking the “Life” Out of Work-Life Balance.” The author, Matt Vilano, does a great job of analyzing the macro issues challenging the ability of individual CIOs to manage their work+life fit, such as technology and managing across multiple time zones. But he also pushes CIOs to rethink how they work in order to find a “fit” in the context of their jobs.
There’s no nirvana of “balance,” or a one-size-fits-all answer. The key is the realization that the job of a CIO has transformed so drastically that following the old rules isn’t going to work if you hope to have any kind of life. Check out my advice on how to work differently. So often it’s a personal work+life fit reevaluation on the part of an executive that results in broader organizational change.
Second piece of evidence: one of the corporate client projects on which we are working has a tremendous amount of CEO support. The CEO so eloquently articulated how critical flexibility is to his vision of future growth, in its broadest definition, that I was momentarily speechless. Flexibility is critical if organizations are going to innovatively deploy the best human capital to achieve their corporate objectives in a 24/7, high-tech, global work reality. And, this CEO got it.