Work-Life Balance and the Level 5 Leader

Audio Transcript

When we looked at the Level 5 CEOs, there’s actually some really good news on this question [work-life balance]. There was about a 50/50 split. For about half of them, their life was basically about building the company. They didn’t have good family lives; they had trouble with their marriages; or they didn’t seem to have anything other than work in their lives, and that was just reality for them. And you could say, “Well, that’s pretty depressing.” But it’s actually not, because the other 50 percent had very balanced lives.  

One of the people in our study, a fellow named Colman Mockler—I heard the story of his funeral when he died. People from many walks of life described it saying he was totally surrounded by love. He had a great relationship with his wife and with his kids, and with his university, where he gave a lot. He was very actively engaged in his religious community; and he informed a group of Boston-based business leaders who got together to discuss the application of Christian principles to the life of business. And he was very engaged in puttering around the house. He didn’t work much on weekends. Even during the takeover battles, he didn’t work on weekends. And his contributions to the community were significant.  

And at his funeral, there were all these people from all these different walks of life who had been touched by Colman, who had relationships with Colman, who loved Colman, and his kids loved Colman. I look at that, and I can look at the other cases where, in fact, he had similar brutal difficulties transforming Gillette as the CEOs of other companies did; but he chose to have a more balanced life. And what I learned from that is that whether you can have a more balanced life, or a life with other components to it, is not a matter of circumstance; it’s, again, a matter of choice. Because half of our CEOs chose it, and half of them did not. And as for the ones who did not choose it, I just don’t think it was important to them.

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