When someone loses balance, work quality and impact suffers

What do you do when you realise that someone has been all consumed by their work? They may not see it as a problem at all. Their focus may still be on their role, they may think that their work is still exceptional, they may believe that their social life is ‘normal’, and yet they are in serious danger of crumbling…

Having graduated in psychology, Deidre joined a blue chip company as a graduate trainee subsequently specialising in marketing. Becoming frustrated at the sluggish pace with which her career was taking off, she joined another organisation and soon found herself travelling all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa, acting as a brand advisor for a number of subsidiaries. With the appointment of a new Marketing Director, she soon became their trusted assistant, and the pressure began to build up even more. On one of her trips, she found herself sitting next to a clinical psychologist, they talked at length, and that was how she was referred to me.

Deidre’s career had taken over her life completely, all balance was excluded, and she’d fallen into the trap that so many people discover where it appears as though they are rewarded for the quantity of work they do rather than the quality. Ironically, the more time they commit, the less time they have for quality thinking, and soon their work begins to suffer.

We set about a number of changes – aimed at helping Deidre to focus her effort more on quality and to pace herself rather than being in a constant reactive rush all the time. At first, the focus was on internal efforts – developing the calibre of work that she was engaged on and finding ways of contributing more strategically to the long-term growth of the firm. She increased her delegation skills so that, while she continued to travel as much, and as far afield, she was empowering her local agents more and bringing home fewer substantial follow-up tasks.

Her boss saw the more strategic approach emerging, and passed a number of industry-wide speaking engagements to her. We worked on the style of these presentations, moving her away from thinly disguised advertorials for the business, to well-informed opinion based presentations, focused on the industry, on its impact, and on the relationship with government policies.

We combined work on the style of her presentations with an unbundling of counter-productive thoughts that she had about her impact on others.

Fairly soon she was invited to sit on a couple of Government panels. It was through one of these that she met her first long-term partner and a new dimension to her life has begun to unfold.

The abstract above illustrates typical situations that arise in the course of my work with leaders – it should go without saying that permission to quote has been given, names have been changed, and a few details tweaked to preserve confidentiality.

I am happy to comment, or deliver keynote sessions, on any of the topics that I post about.
For media and speaking enquiries, please call me, Graham Wilson, on 07785 222380.

Best wishes

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