When you are the decision-maker, you can organize work around your life, not the other way around.
There is no question that in our busy world, it is challenging to find time, resources and willingness to engage deeply with our families and our professions. Despite all the headway women have made, the traditional mom role often seems at odds with a high level career. However, women who have made it all the way to the top discover that there is more space up there. Raising a family and running a company have some obvious and not-so-obvious parallels. Surprisingly, these women have the flexibility to raise large families successfully so it is worth examining the way that career-oriented women have organized their time and developed their parenting philosophy.
1. Choose Your Own Clock. You make your own schedule and that doesn’t have to correspond with everyone else’s. So some moms took calls or meetings from 5am-7 with international partners so they could enjoy breakfast with their kids. Some bosses also schedule in a “flex” day so that anything unforeseen can get pushed to that space and if not then it’s room for some spontaneity with family.
2. Venture out of the Cubicle. With so many people working remotely, there are actually whole ventures like Power to Fly built on a mom-centric need for women to work from home, work part –time, or work on a contract basis.Collaboration is an important component and these moms utilize the latest technology to maintain ongoing communication with their team.
3. Concentrate; forget multi-tasking. Short, steady bursts of uninterrupted concentration on the task at hand seemed to be the key for most exec moms.They were highly productive, mindful and philosophically elastic when it came to prioritizing, setting goals and meeting them.
4. Know How to Delegate. When you are running a company, you hopefully have a team of experts around you to attend to secondary tasks. This can come in the form of a personal chef, an au pair, a grocery delivery service or a cleaning service.
5. Networking goes hand in hand with running a company, so for many of these women, applying their communication skills to their community is natural. Hooking up with local families is a big contributor to your family’s happiness. So planning a weekly activity at alternate households is automated and exponentially helps out each family.
6. Everyone Helps. The big kids help the little kids and the grown ups supervise, (see Delegating). A common theme among these working moms was fostering early independence and group effort.
7. Enjoy it. This is the part we are most likely to forget– the reflective part that makes all our activities worth doing. Tuning our awareness to what is in front of us, whether it is our children or our board meeting is the key to meaningful experience. For both moms and the people around them. When it comes to parenting, these moms are pretty hands-off in regard to social growth. They advise letting kids work out their own power dynamic and try to foster independence and interdependence at an early age. In communicating with their children, they emphasize problem-solving and active listening. These are invaluable tools at the board meeting too.
Women are making the workforce stronger all over the world, and a more self-governing approach to work is part of the exec mom program. Because it is women at the top who are implementing these new policies, many of these big companies are very attractive to women.
For more interesting criteria on best companies for moms to work for, take a look at this list: http://www.workingmother.com/best-companies/2014-working-mother-100-best-companies. It is possible to have fulfilling relationships with our families and drive a successfulbusiness, and more women are pulling it off all the time.
Women are both natural leaders and collaborators, since those skills originate with family. These attributes are innate in the sense that we’ve always been doing it. And now, thanks to these women’s strides, we are starting to see how family, community and business can be more intrinsically and philosophically linked into a healthy and prosperous circle.