Jacinda and the Balance Challenge
Last Thursday in New Zealand, we lost our Prime Minister. Jacinda told us that after 6 years, her tank wasn’t full enough to continue..
She came in as an inexperienced 37-year-old and had to grow enormously. She also had to perform right away and lead the country through a terrorist attack, a pandemic and a thousand other challenges. It was clearly hard and yesterday she told us she couldn’t/ wouldn’t continue. She is 42.
For now, the spotlight shines on Jacinda. But, it’s hard not to notice that she represents
something which is spread throughout all levels of society. The way we’re working isn’t working.
Last week I put out a post offering small group discussion groups for people who were
experiencing burnout. I was hoping for 10 people. We were over 100 after day 1.
Something has shifted. Most workplaces don’t feel designed for people to work in a sustainable way. When Jacinda’s tank was empty, she quit and good for her. But most people in workplaces, when their tank is empty…. they remain.
But they are not 100% or even close to it. One thing I learned from our burnout interviews is that people can keep working as their capacity slides down to 80%, 40% and even into the single digits. Organizations are full of people operating at low capacity.
But what sort of workplace is that?
It feels like we’re getting the balance wrong. We need staff to perform, but we need to do it in healthy, sustainable ways. For companies, it can’t be ‘shall we be high performing OR shall we be healthy’? It needs to be both. There’s a cliff coming up for many companies and they're driving themselves and their employees towards it.
The time for change feels ripe. For organisations who are ready, 2023 could be the year to explore – how can we be a high performing AND healthy workplace?
I’m proud that Jacinda didn’t give the usual workplace line, ‘I’m off to pursue other opportunities’. She isn’t. She said my tank is too empty to keep performing. It took courage, but she was honest with us and took action.
Honesty + Action – feels like a healthy way to approach 2023.
On that note… My team and I are researching what high performing AND healthy teams/ environments look like. Workplaces need more positive examples to point to, so that others can see what is possible. If you have a few bright spots/ teams within your workplace that look healthy and high performing, we’d love to connect with you. They don’t need to be perfect, just on the right path. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let's learn together.. Thks