Getting any high performer to have a break is typically going to be a challenge for most organisations and individuals from my observation. Myself included, I am always working.

I am a beast. I am a machine, but from repeatedly making the same mistakes over and over again, I’m learning the importance of R & R and down time.

I’ve learned this lesson many times.

I get myself fit, I get myself healthy, I get myself really clear and I generally run like a maniac in the direction where the biggest fire is. I keep running until I have stumps on my ankles because that’s my personality.

I am developing a better work/life balance every single day. I’ll be honest with you, I get to a point where it’s good, and then it starts to fall away again. Maintaining that really beneficial work/life balance is a challenge for me.

Right now, I’m literally on the verge of going on a holiday, and I need it. I’m tired.

And yeah, I do at times get desperate for some time out to recharge and resuscitate. Resuscitate because sometimes that’s what it feels like. I get myself to the point where I don’t need to recharge I need to be f***ing resuscitated because I do work myself to that level of intensity.

Supporting high-performers

That being said, one of the things we do in our organisation to support work-life balance is we provide a very healthy working environment.

We have a gym in our office, we bring in a personal trainer and run four group training sessions a week. We buy clean and fresh and healthy food for our team every single week. We provide a full range of nutritional supplements, nutraceuticals and protein powders to really support the high performance that’s required to work in a dynamic workplace environment.

As a general rule, every person has to have a holiday booked in their diary every 3 months. Not everybody succeeds with that, myself included. Myself being the poster child for that, but that is a requirement.

And one of the things that drives the care and the nature of care in this organisation, is our values.

We have a lot of values that relate to the care of one another and one of them is, ‘We are family.’ As family when you notice when someone is tired you take care and you intervene.

A good coach will know when to rest his players

We’ve got almost 40 people in the team now and that’s a lot of faces to read every day, and a lot of body language to read every single day. There’s been plenty of times working with individuals in this team… I can think of more than a dozen scenarios when I’ll send someone home.

Not everyone is going to tell you exactly how they’re feeling, not everyone is going to necessarily have the time to have the conversations to let you know. So one of the things as a leader that I’ve learned to get really good at, is just reading people’s body language..

I know what their baseline looks like and then I read their posture, read their face, read their mannerisms to actually know what is going on. If someone is looking fatigued and someone is looking tired and the signs are starting to show, a good leader will intervene.

And there’ll be an intervention whereby rest will not be suggested, rest will be prescribed.

I can think of a dozen times where we sent people home who didn’t want to rest. Sometimes that’s what you have to do for high performers. High performers have got grit they’ve got resilience, pain is just an invitation to keep going.

That’s where, as an organisation we are good. Like anyone we could probably be better at it. The work/life challenge is there for us all and we want to take care of our talent.

In terms of performance and what we produce, I think we’re right up there.


Kerwin Rae