Miss the closing session keynote?

Dr. Linda Duxbury showed data from Canada revealing that 20 years of talking about life-balance has led to … LESS balance. More work, more stress, less satisfaction, less productivity. At the same time, more technology means work is everywhere, all the time. For instance, some people waited to have children later – and now balance child care AND elder care. Add in economic stress and city managers are doing more, sleeping less, and lacking time to manage. How do we fix this daily nightmare? What do we need to know? Here are some of her thoughts:

1. Adjust expectations. It is unreasonable to expect all email to be read overnight.

2. Model better balance. As leaders, our staff watches us to learn what is expected.

3. Don’t do two things at once. Turn off your cell, bb or pda when in a meeting.

4. Don’t expect immediate responses, or people to be always available.

5. Managing your in box is not the same as managing your life.

6. Work-life conflict, especially over loading, is major predictor of absenteeism and illness. So we must pay attention to this.

7. If these issues are not addressed during time of boomer retirements, we will lose in the efforts to recruit new talent.  For the next 20 years, there will be only one next gen person available to replace two boomer.

8. Boomers are boiled frogs. Slowly, over time, water heated up around these ever more stressed hard workers. Work dominates their lives. The next gen says no, I will not live that way.

9. Boomers say “where is the work ethic of the next gen?” Their models were their WWII parents, and stay-at-home moms. The next gen had an entirely different experience : many of them saw their parents give their all to their work – and fail at family life. Often they say “Work broke my mom’s heart.”

10. Focus more on HR and managing human capital. Do more coaching, training. Move beyond just talking about balance. Suppprt employees. Change your org culture – overwork is the modern madness.

11. Say no – we cannot do everything. Set priorities and stick to them.


One Response to Miss the closing session keynote?

  1. rcarty says:

    That was a great presentation – I was sorry she had to cut it short. What struck me most was the complete validation (with data and humor!) of what ICMA has been working on since 2003 with the Next Generation Initiatives (icma.org/nextgen). Key point – there aren’t enough people available to fill all the vacating management positions, even if we tapped everyone in the pipeline. There are two boomers for every GenXer; and while cities and counties can hire fresh MPAs (or even undergraduates) to manage communities, there are risks. Without engaging in ICMA, state associations, and other professional networks they risk quick burnout and might leave the profession as quickly as they entered it. I learned in some conversations at the conference that this is happening already. When we recruit fresh talent and career changers, it’s vital we reach out to them and be their anchor in a stormy harbor.

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