Flexibility Get Traction in the “C-Suite”

The “C-Suite” positions composing the most senior levels in organizations—CEO, CFO, CIO, and President—are beginning to discover work+life flexibility as a strategic business imperative. This linkage to broader organizational growth objectives will ultimately transform the way we work and live. Where’s the evidence?

First, I was interviewed for an article in this month’s CIO Magazine entitled, “The Extreme CIO: Taking the “Life” Out of Work-Life Balance.” The author, Matt Vilano, does a great job of analyzing the macro issues challenging the ability of individual CIOs to manage their work+life fit, such as technology and managing across multiple time zones. But he also pushes CIOs to rethink how they work in order to find a “fit” in the context of their jobs.

There’s no nirvana of “balance,” or a one-size-fits-all answer. The key is the realization that the job of a CIO has transformed so drastically that following the old rules isn’t going to work if you hope to have any kind of life. Check out my advice on how to work differently. So often it’s a personal work+life fit reevaluation on the part of an executive that results in broader organizational change.

Second piece of evidence: one of the corporate client projects on which we are working has a tremendous amount of CEO support. The CEO so eloquently articulated how critical flexibility is to his vision of future growth, in its broadest definition, that I was momentarily speechless. Flexibility is critical if organizations are going to innovatively deploy the best human capital to achieve their corporate objectives in a 24/7, high-tech, global work reality. And, this CEO got it.

And last but not least, CFOs are getting it. In the past year, two CFOs from two Fortune 500 companies took the lead in bringing me into their organizations. One of them bought 600 copies of my book for his entire Finance Department, after he had read it himself. The other CFO is rolling out Phase 2 of a work+life fit training strategy domestically. And his team is even interested in having me present in corporate offices in Asia and Europe.

What does this mean? It’s one of the missing pieces. When flexibility moves from being a “nice thing to do” benefit, to a strategy that is directly linked to an organization’s ongoing innovation it gains traction and achieves real impact. It’s a privilege to work with the forward thinking CEOs, CIOs, and CFOs who are taking us there.

What do you think? Has flexibility gotten traction in the C-Suite at your organization? Let me know.