Welcome    May 31, 2006

Developing People ... Inspiring Success
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Volume 3, Issue 5 May 2006 ISSN 1556-3820

"The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves."
- Ray Kroc (1902-1984)
founder of McDonald's Corporation

  Note From Regina

It is hard to believe that May is almost over and summer has finally arrived! If you haven't planned a vacation yet, be sure to read my feature article, Three Strategies for Putting Balance Back into Your Work-Life. I'd also love your feedback on your level of stress on the job so be sure to take this month's short poll.

Summer time is a great time to kick back, relax, and reflect. If you are looking for some food for thought, be sure to visit my blog where you can ponder the reasons why Pay Parity is still elusive for women executives. Or, read why Self Awareness is Key to Leadership Success and how it can benefit you!

Last month I told you that we would be launching a redesigned newsletter format and website. Well, here it is! I'd love your feedback on the newsletter look and content. In addition, I hope you will visit my website, where you will find more information about our consulting, executive coaching, and speaking services, as well as other resources, articles, and tools to help you be more successful.

Yours in success,

Regina Barr

  Feature Article

Three Strategies for Putting Balance Back into Your Work-Life

Has the pendulum swung too far in increasing productivity at the expense of employee work-life balance? In an article titled, Americans of All Stripes Are Sicker Than They Need to Be, Paul Krugman indicated that full-time American workers work, on average, about 46 weeks per year compared with 41 weeks for full-time British, French and German workers. One indication that this is taking a toll on American workers is that it appears that more employees are taking mental health days. According to a May 8th article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, more than one-third of U.S. workers say they played hooky from work over the past 12 months. Were you one of them?

One HR executive with an S&P 500 company that I spoke with said, "The gains in productivity of the past few years have been on the backs of our employees who are maxed out. As for myself, during the week I go to work and come home. If I'm lucky I have time to eat dinner, work out, shower and go to bed. I don't know where we're going to get the next round of productivity."

Need further proof? According to syndicated columnist and best-selling business author, Chuck Martin, less than 15 percent of more than 2,000 senior executives and managers thought that their lives were in balance. When asked why, many pointed to technology which has made it easier to stay connected to work.

To make matters worse, in a recent study by Randstad USA, 38% of employed U.S. adults indicated that they do not usually take lunch, 33% work overtime without additional compensation, and 31% say they work on Sundays.

What does all of this mean to you? In effect, you are now on call 24/7 including weekends, holidays, and vacations.

If moving abroad to work in Britain, France or Germany is not an option for you, then read on for some tips on how to stop this work-life balance madness.

  1. Establish and communicate boundaries for where, when and how you will work. Put it in writing, share it with your boss and staff, and more importantly, adhere to it. Make sure it is something you feel comfortable with. For example, one executive I know works from 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. She is available via cell phone during her commute (7:00 - 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 - 6:30 p.m.) She checks email remotely once during the evening after going home and her kids are in bed. Saturday is her family day and she doesn't do any work. She checks emails again on Sunday evening and takes time to plan and prepare for her work week while watching Grey's Anatomy. The key: figure out what will work for you!
  2. Control technology rather than let it control you. Blackberry, PDAs, cell phones, laptops, and remote access are tools to help you be successful, not control you. Most executives that I speak to reluctantly admit that no one has mandated that they be linked to the office 24 hours a day. Stop being a super-hero and limit your use/ abuse of technology. Try turning off your Blackberry or cell phone after leaving work or at least when you get home. Stop text messaging and checking emails during meetings - not only is it rude, but if you can't be fully present, then perhaps you don't belong in the meeting after all.
  3. Use technology to help you execute your business goals. Block time for projects, planning, and strategic activities or your day will be filled with the urgent and not the important. Block time on your calendar for coffee, lunch and other types of networking meetings as it is important to "see and be seen." Schedule specific times (preferably only two times per day) when you will review/ respond to email so that you aren't constantly interrupting your work flow every time a new email arrives. Use the task list and reminder features in your email or database management tool to schedule tasks to be completed on specific days. If you find that you are frequently interrupted during time you scheduled to work on projects, planning, and strategic activities, forward your phone to voicemail or even better, book a conference room or go some other place where you can work without interruption.

In a commencement address delivered to 2,700 Oklahoma State University Graduates, President George W. Bush gave this advice, "Harness the promise of technology without becoming slaves to technology." Now that's good advice.

Regina Barr is a management consultant and speaker. Her consulting firm, Red Ladder, Inc., helps organizations and their leaders develop their full potential through strategic project management, executive coaching and training. Regina also helps companies develop strategies to attract, develop and retain women leaders. For more information visit our website or our blog.

  Pass it on ...

If you find value in this newsletter,  I invite you to share it with someone you care about who could  benefit. Please forward in it's entirety. You may also publish or reprint this newsletter as long as it is accompanied by Regina Barr's byline and contact info (below the feature article). Please send us a link to the article when it's published.  

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About Red Ladder

Red Ladder provides people development services for individuals and organizations with a goal of developing people and inspiring success. Regina Barr, President of Red Ladder, Inc., holds a BBA, an MBA and an MA in human development. With over seventeen years in the financial services industry, She has a broad range of leadership experience in product, sales, and marketing. In addition, Regina has a special passion for helping companies attract, develop and retain women leaders.

in this issue ...

Today's poll ...
Compared with 2-3 years ago, on the job I feel ...

Take this simple poll and view others' feedback regarding this topic.

What's New ...

Regina Barr, CEO of Red Ladder, Inc., obtained her Certified Professional Values Analyst designation. This designation shows Regina's commitment to helping organizations develop their best asset - their people - through the use of assessment tools that focus on workplace motivators, personal interests, attitudes, and values.

We recently launched the newly re-designed Red Ladder website. Make sure to visit us online! 

Speaking Schedule ...

Interested in hearing Regina speak? Here are some of Regina's upcoming programs:

November 18, 2006
Banking and Finance Leading CEO & CIO Summit
Challenges Facing Women Banking Leaders
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

View 2006 schedule.

for information on how to register or if you are interested in having Regina speak to your organization.

Resources ...

Work-Life Balance: A Case Study of Social Responsibility or Competitive Advantage? This case study provides an in-depth look at work-life balance programs in the United States and corresponding programs in the European Union.

Seeking Joy: The Real Truth About Work/Life Balance - Women Corporate Executives Speak Out - Author Rhonda Harper talked to more than 30 senior Women Corporate Executives who share their perspectives, insights, ideas, and advice on work/life balance in this book. Also included is a Plan for Joy and Balance workbook for the reader. 
Work-Life Balance Assessment Tool - The Standards of Excellence in Work-Life Balance Index is a free assessment tool that can help your organization assess its strengths and weaknesses in the area of work/life, compare that assessment to your peers, and use the results to plan future strategies. It also allows your organization to set goals for work/life excellence, while at the same time maintaining and strengthening its business objectives.

What Our Clients are Saying ...

"Your presentation was phenomenal and completely exceeded my expectations. You took a topic - etiquette - and made it so much more ... Professional ROI. You certainly have a talent for connecting with people and bringing a large group of women together. Thank you again for such a memorable event."

-Susan Elling,
Business Analyst,
Deloitte Consulting LLP

Copyright 2006 Regina Barr, Red Ladder, Inc. All rights reserved.
www.redladder.com | info@redladder.com | 651-453-1007 | Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076