Miss the closing session keynote?

September 16, 2009

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.


Time the Revelator

September 16, 2009



            RevelatorNoun – One who reveals, especially one who reveals divine will.


They say Time reveals all things.  Gillian Welch wrote a song called Time (the Revelator).  If you aren’t familiar with Welch you should check her out – she is in company with country/folk greats such as Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams.  I have no idea why Welch wrote the song, but to me it speaks to how Time is the great revealer of all things in life, especially who you are. Time will tell your story, and not only reveal that story to you, but to others.

As mentioned in my first post, I am unable to attend this year’s conference. I always enjoy the annual conference because it allows you an opportunity to learn more about current issues, new books,  management, but it also allows learning about oneself.  What did your time at the conference reveal about you to yourself and to others? Perhaps it taught you about a health care savings option that saves your organization dollars and keeps you from laying off an employee. Perhaps the Conference taught you that you really don’t understand Gen-X’ers and Y, but you’re willing to listen to what they bring to the table. Or, perhaps you discovered that you need more balance in your life…to spend that extra time with your spouse and kids rather than in the office. 

One of the “Ah Ha” moments I had in my life several years ago is that you can never go back – you have to make each day count.  It seems like a ridiculous light bulb moment because it is so obvious, and yet many of us punch our timecard without realizing that you’re punching the timecard of life.  I encourage you to make each day count – be better than the day before. LBJ use to ask his staff at the end of the day “What could we have done better?”  Decide to work each day at being a better spouse and parent, a better boss, a better son or daughter, take a class you’ve always wanted to like painting, guitar, or photography.  You hold the keys to what Time will reveal.

Go here to listen to Gillian Welch and David Rawlings perform the song:

Out of the office: How to Maintain Healthy Relationships

September 16, 2009

ICMA member Cynthia Seelhammer attended yesterday’s session entitled, “Maintaining the Health of Personal Relationships”, which featured Dr. Andreas Rapp of Austria. Formerly a city manager, he now does mediation work. One of his key points was that, too often, couples have many small issues that are not major, but over time, these small things grow to a heavy weight. He emphasized the importance of the dealing with these issues as they come up to minimize the possibility that they blow up later.

He also emphasized the need for home to be a safe haven.  As we all know, though, that doesn’t happen on it’s own. Creating a healthy home environment takes time, attention and planning and is well worth the effort!  Session leader Kathleen Mc Alpine assisted Dr. Rapp in collecting audience comments and ideas about problems and solutions.  One thing was evident to all of us: relationships are ongoing conversations.