Stewart D. Friedman is a professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and the founding director of the Wharton Leadership Program and Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project. He has been on the Wharton faculty since 1984 and became the Management Department's first Practice Professor in recognition of his work within the fields of Leadership Development, Human Resources and Work–Life Integration on the application theory and research on the real challenges facing organizations.
In our conversation, we spoke about how Dr. Friedman thinks about 4 domains - Self, Work, Home and Community and how we can harmonise across the four domains by going after what he calls “4 way wins”. He also talks about positive spill-over effects from one domain to another and urges us not to see these choices as trade-offs but as porous elements with osmosis across them. He goes on to talk about how we can craft experiments and interface with the various stakeholders to create a life that in line with what we care about and what matters to us.
Published in Feb 2019.
Stew talks about the building blocks of his Total Leadership Model that he has developed at the Wharton Work Life Integration Project. Of the four domains (Self, Work, Home and Community), he expands on what he means by Self and Community as those two are often the least understood by leaders around the world.
Stew talks about notion of positive spill overs across the 4 domains (Self, Work, Home, Community) and describes why finding harmony across domains is a more sustainable than looking at them as trade-offs. He expands on the notion of positive spillovers across domains and specifically talks about some of the elements which are often underappreciated by leaders. He introduces the notion of a four way win where we can look at trying experiments to achieve wins in all 4 domains of life.
Stew speaks about the role of authenticity (being real by clarifying what is important), integrity (having a clear view of who you are as an entire person and being clear about roles towards and expectations from stakeholders) and creativity (being innovating in crafting experiments to deliver four way wins). He specifically speaks about how some stakeholders expect less and are willing to support more than you think.
Stew speaks about how the nature of the issues people grapple with varies depending on the stage of their journey. He specifically speaks about 3 points of people. 1) Point of graduation from Business School 2) Mid-life (about 15 odd years after graduation) 3) Retirement. For a longer piece around Navigating Mid-life, please see bit.ly/NavigatingMidLife
Stew speaks about what has stayed the same and what has changed significantly in his thinking around work life integration. He talks about the ubiquity of technological devices that now surround us and speaks about the need for all of us to build psychological tools to benefit from the technological advancements without incurring the cost that often comes hand in hand with such developments.
Stew speaks about the criticality of unearthing what the stakeholders really want and solving for it. He suggests that we should go past what they state as positions and unearth their real expectations while having these conversations. He also speaks about the criticality of caring for self before caring for others. He compares this to a change management initiative and suggests that one needs to be artfully political while driving changes through the system.
Stew speaks about the role of two types of coaches in such journeys. Firstly, he speaks about the value of peer to peer coaching networks where you are compassionate, curious, caring and candid with each other and learn/help each of the members of the group move forward. He also speaks about the role of professional coaches in providing another perspective and in holding you accountable
Stew speaks about how we should try and stretch the boundaries of our current context before we start thinking about drastic solutions including changing jobs. He speaks about the notion of the Theory of small wins that underpins that Total Leadership approach and also refers to the work of Herminia Ibarra – Author of the book Working Identity.