When we talk about accounting firm culture, we often talk about the tone at the top. Besides being a really good buzzword that helps HR wonks convince the lowly serfs that The Powers That Be really care about their well-being, it basically means that what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Or, in this case, what's good for the CEO is good for the grunts.
Recently, some familiar faces showed up at the White House Summit on Working Families to talk about, well, work and families. And one of those faces was EY CEO Mark Weinberger:
Before Weinberger became CEO, he discussed the opportunity with his wife and four children. His family agreed that he could take the job only if he remained a highly-involved dad.
Shortly after becoming CEO, he was in China giving his first big speech to the EY employees there, plus many business partners and government officials. He was nervous about the speech and wanted it to be memorable. There was to be a big dinner reception afterwards.
Weinberger gave his speech, but ended it with an apology—he would have to skip the reception to get right on a plane back home so he could take his daughter to her driver’s test. He had promised a year ago that he’d be there, and needed to keep his commitment to his family. To quote Weinberger:
Everyone remembered that. No one remembered my speech.
Although he was just trying to be a good dad, it turned out that his flight back to his daughter’s driving test became a story repeated many times throughout EY. The lesson, I think (and hope), is that, “If the CEO acts on his priorities like this, then so can I.”
Man, that sounds like hell. Jet to China, give a speech, jet back and take a driving test with a 16-year-old. DEDICATION, man.
So while you're thinking you're a big hot shot work-life balance professional for making it to your kid's Saturday soccer game and only checking your email 3 times while you're supposed to be watching the field, just think about how bad ass Mark Weinberger is. He blew off his own people in China and a bunch of government folk just to keep his promise to his kid.