As I looked around the room during our last Exec meeting at Insights, I was struck by how, to the untrained eye, it probably looks as if we’re an imbalanced team. Led by a female CEO in Fiona Logan, we’re a team of four women leaders and one man, and that might give some people pause for thought. But the balance of our team is very little to do with gender, and much more to do with the people that we are.
Here’s a good example of the ever-changing balancing act that is being part of a team. Our Exec team is a mixed bag of preferences and colour energies, so some of us may have days where we feel full-on Fiery Red, ticking off tasks and racing through the agenda. But on those days, we usually find that the rest of us naturally act as a counterbalance, centring conversations again around what matters a lot at Insights – people. You might think that sounds like it leads to conflict, and it would be disingenuous to suggest that we never have tough conversations, but actually it leads to a meeting of minds that feels just about right. In other words, it feels like we very often achieve balance, and that’s important to us as a team, and to how we lead Insights through a period of real growth and ambitious projects.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is balance – #balanceforbetter, in fact. And while IWD is focused on gender balance, I’d like to acknowledge that there are many other ways in which balance is key.
Balance should be a theme for our whole lives. That’s why I’ll work long hours to meet deadlines but take a long peaceful walk the next morning. It’s why I’m sometimes glued to my phone, but other times I’ll leave it at home so I can switch off my mind and be in the moment. Balance is a tough meeting then a glass of wine with a friend. It’s a gym session that leaves me feeling simultaneously broken and stronger than I realised.
And it’s also why we tell each other at Insights to bring our whole selves to work. There is no work self and home self. We are all just ourselves, all the time: naturally gifted but innately challenged, striving for growth and enjoying the present, getting serious for a minute, and laughing until our ribs ache the next. It’s all me, it’s all real, and it’s all crucial to the mix of my life and work. It feels like balance.
If there’s one thing that we should celebrate the women in our lives for, it’s constantly striving to find that balance, and perhaps even getting it right some days. So go and acknowledge someone you know for the balance that they strike, and set off to find your own balance, even though it may feel some days as if you’re standing on shaky ground.
* Anna Hart is our People Director, playing a critical role in defining the employee proposition and experience so that everyone at Insights can say, in their own way, I love my job and I love this company.