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Small Business Digest


Work/Life Balance Is a Myth

Work/life balance is a big deal these days, but Paul Batz and Tim Schmidt don’t believe in it.

That balancing of work life and private life is the topic of discussion on TV, radio, in the office, and all over the Internet, but management consultants Batz and Schmidt don’t buy it – “mostly because the reference implies one is a sacrifice for the other.  Our lives are most satisfying when we blend together the most important elements of life.”

In their new book, What Really Works:  Blending the Seven F’s for the Life You Imagine, Batz and Schmidt identify the seven areas that employers and employees need to recognize and devote time to in order to be successful and satisfied in business and at home. 

“Over many years of executive coaching, I’ve learned the happiest, most successful leaders are those who have learned to blend their personal and professional lives – finding ways for their work life and home life to succeed together,” said Batz, who heads the leadership-consulting firm What Really Works.

 Through research, surveys and personal interviews, the authors share statistics, their own stories and anecdotes from around the world to offer insights into leading a more blended life by focusing on faith, family, finances, fitness, friends, fun and future.

Faith – Since the beginning of humankind, all cultures have included spirituality as one of the centerpieces of society.  How and what one observes is intensely personal, but it is often a source of great strength.  Faith influences individual and corporate values, and these in turn shape the overarching culture of family and the workplace.

Family – No matter one’s definition of family (some people consider close friends family), “family” ranked the No. 1 priority from all survey participants.  Sometimes maintaining a strong family bond takes extraordinary creativity because of the demand of work commitments, but there is always a way.  If the workplace credo is “family is important,” but the boss frowns at employees who leave early to volunteer at their children’s schools or leave early to see their children play ball or dance, integrity takes a beating.

Finances – Money is on everybody’s mind.  Leaders can help by modeling a healthy financial discussion at work, encouraging employees to improve their financial literacy at home as well as in the workplace.

Fitness – Fitness falls at the bottom of the satisfaction scale for most of the survey participants.  But without one’s health and physical fitness, all the other core areas can come tumbling down.  Businesses benefit from fit employees with lower health-insurance costs, fewer sick days and more creativity.  For many, the answer to better fitness is to get people working together, helping each other reduce calories, increase exercise, and create daily disciplines that help everybody take control of their lives and feel better about themselves.

Friends – Quality friendships have hugely declined.  Really good friends are important because they can often see things that a spouse or immediate family member doesn’t.  When strong, supportive friendships are present, good physical and mental health usually follow.  Facebook is quickly becoming the friendship connection of choice.  But face-to-face contact is still the most important for satisfaction.  Does the corporate culture at work encourage friendships at the office?

Fun – What one finds fun is entirely self-defined, but laughter and playfulness help create a healthy, relaxing atmosphere where people can do their best work.  Many find fun in blending family or friends in fitness activities, providing a double benefit. As an employer seeking to attract, retain, and develop high-performing talent – demonstrating a work environment where employees are having fun, is a tangible competitive advantage.

Future – Everybody looks forward to something – when people are hopeful and optimistic about their own future, they are better leaders.  And, when they invest themselves in building a hopeful future for others, they build strong followers.  Collectively, most respondents want to leave the world a better place by educating others, volunteering, teaching responsibility, seeing potential, and putting energy to charity.  These same values affect the mission and vision of any enterprise.  Many leaders believe more emphasis on the future would make their workplace more satisfying.
The book is a collection of contemporary wisdom that will help readers blend the Seven F’s in order to lead rewarding and satisfying lives with their families, co-workers, bosses and employees.

“The most basic truth is this,” Batz says: “We are 100% accountable for the mood that we bring into our work life, and the tone we bring home from the office.  By living with a broader expectation to blend our personal and professional lives, we measure our sense of satisfaction in a broader, healthier way – and that’s good for business.”

About The Authors

Paul Batz is a CEO-level executive coach and thought leader on executive-team development.  An expert at blending the personal and professional lives of leaders, Batz is an accomplished author and dynamic professional speaker.  He is the founder and president of What Really Works (, a leadership-consulting firm headquartered near Minneapolis.  Clients include General Mills, Regis, One West Bank, Medtronic and many mid-size regional growth companies.

Tim Schmidt is a senior executive with Thrivent Financial, headquartered in Minneapolis.  His experience includes more than 20 years of outstanding growth and profitability in financial-services management.  Schmidt has served on the board of directors of the GAMA International Association, and numerous charitable nonprofits.  His hobbies include writing and speaking.


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