Edit ModuleShow Tags

Where work ends and fun begins


Published:

Some of the most successful companies I've worked with intentionally blur the lines between work and personal life. Their view is that you don't have a work life and a personal life, you just have a life. Coincidentally, they have high productivity even though they allow their team members the flexibility to lead enjoyable lives. This got me thinking about "blurred lines" in business strategy.

Last year I heard a recap of the annual Consumer Electronics Show and was struck by how the lines have blurred between digital technology and automobiles. We'll soon be able to control many automobile functions with our iPhone. While we only replace our cars something like an average of every five years, we replace our phones and PDAs much more frequently. This is an interesting example of how blurred lines can often lead to business opportunities. It's a lot cheaper to update your PDA than your car! Have you noticed some of the recent car ads are more about Bluetooth than horsepower?

Think about how blurred lines have changed business and our lives. Travel + entertainment = cruise lines. Voice + data = webcasts. Books + computers + Internet = e-readers. Education + Internet = distance learning programs. Companies that used to send data (e.g., cable TV companies) have blurred the lines between entertainment and communication. How about recreation and work? I was in a tram in Whistler, British Columbia last year with six guys and five of us were either on the phone or checking email. Work or play?

Here are a few others from the last several years:

• Medicine (curing the sick) and health: These have fortunately blurred. On my last visit to the doc, we spent more time talking about staying healthy than what was wrong.
• "Professional" journalism and "citizen" blogging: This may have harmed the traditional journalists but increased the richness and timeliness of information.
• Private companies and traditional government operations (e.g., education, prisons, some military functions). Some good, some bad.
• Function and fashion: Take a trip through REI and look at the outdoor clothing: pockets, zippers, clips, clamps, built-in avalanche beacons etc.

Are you watching some industries fight blurring lines? Some in traditional journalism, for instance, are still ranting about quality as their business declines.

I'm a big fan of searching for good questions rather than just answers (see "Ask a Good Question"). Here's one you might ask yourself and your management team: "What lines are blurring in our industry, and how can we take advantage of that?" or "What lines can we blur to gain an advantage?"

{pagebreak:Page 1}

Edit Module
Todd Ordal

Todd Ordal is president of Applied Strategy®. Todd helps CEOs achieve better financial results, become more effective leaders and sleep easier at night. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000. Todd is the author of Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing, 2016). Connect with Todd on LinkedIn, Twitter, call 303-527-0417 or email todd@toddordal.com.

Get more of our current issue | Subscribe to the magazine | Get our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Why millennials are the "foodie generation"

The 75 million Americans that make up the millennial generation are bringing new perspectives, preferences and expectations to their decisions about which restaurants to visit.

Salespeople: How to avoid the dreaded “Just following up” emails

Do you want to differentiate yourself, stand out and rise above the noise? One easy, shockingly simple and sure-fire way that will put you miles ahead of many professionals in your industry is: Communicate differently.

If you're not the best in your business, change the game

There are some companies that should simply go surfing. We try to tell them that when we realize it, and in some cases, they’ve gotten very good at surfing. When this happens, it’s especially satisfying.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Thanks for contributing to our community-- please keep your comments in good taste and appropriate for our business professional readers.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags