Ever since listening devices were found at Democratic Party HQ in Washington’s Watergate building, the suffix “gate” has been appended to high-level scandals. But it was not until 2013 that the conspiracy that brought down a US president was equated with see-through yoga pants. This week, pant designer Lululemon told latter-day Woodward and Bernsteins it had recovered from ‘Sheergate’. A cover-up that worked.
Question: Can consultants, at the beck and call of clients’ demands, ever have anything approaching a work-life balance?
For a year [Prof. Perlow, HBS] studied his team at Boston Consulting Group and came back with the verdict that the biggest problem was a lack of predictability. “People could never make a plan because of client demands,” recalls Mr Freeland. So they came up with a scheme called “predictable time off”, or PTO. It gave employees an evening or a day between Mondays and Thursdays when they would not be contacted and could switch off the phone and email.
“Most efforts fail if we aim for work-life balance as it’s superficial unless you change how work is done”, says Mr Freeland, senior partner, today responsible for BCG’s people and organisation practice. It was a tricky sell, he reflects. “Some thought long hours were a rite of passage; others didn’t think we needed PTO.”
- FT Troubled Waters. The FT is running some insight instalments about nearing water pressures. Where will we get enough fresh water and what are the larger consequences of changing our natural environment when people not only drink t the water, but also eat the fish and water their crops too.
Troubled Waters discusses the Mekong River and just a few days earlier this article about A World Without Enough Water also ran. Both are important and worth your time.
- International NYT ran Love People, Not Pleasure. A short but effective explanation of why happiness and unhappiness are not exactly opposite poles on the same continuum. How, then, can we find that elusive life of happiness and not giving into our base desires? The title, of course, points us toward an answer.
- And four something counterintuitive to public opinion, we have Income Equality Is Not rising globally. It’s Falling.
I hope you enjoy
Here is some interesting research about why customers choose to participate in the sharing economy. At least based on this research study from Cass, it would appear that social purpose around the environment or civic need has less to do with economic sharing that we might have hoped (romanticized?). Using Zipcar as the basis for the research, listen to the following FT video to discover just why these customers do participate in the sharing economy.
Brain food for your Wednesday morning–numerous articles have appeared these last few weeks linking current events in Asia to the lead-up to World War 1. Gideon Rachman in the FT delivers one of the more coherent statements of the past-present connection in his article Time to Think More About Sarajevo, Less About Munich.
Similarly, a lot has been said about Zappos and the decision to eliminate classic hierarchy. Andrew Hill draws out some great concerns regarding the company’s decision, linking the decision to suppliers, customers and employees. Clear and sober considerations regarding the decision and its potential consequences.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.