Being part of the management, the ownership and the family structure, my job never ends
I think sometimes life is harder for women professionals who are also promoters in the firm where they hold management positions. Being part of the management, the ownership and the family structure, my job never ends. It is 24 by 7. Even when I had my children, I only took two weeks off. Sometimes, being a Kohler at Kohler Co makes it harder.
As an executive, I have had more flexibility to be a working mother. For instance, as an executive, I have the freedom to take my children to the doctor’s appointment and come back to work. I had the flexibility to work at night if I had to leave early to help at the school. Because of this flexibility, I really appreciated being an executive when I was bringing up my children. On the other hand, it must be very hard to be a working mother in a factory environment, or in a place where you have no flexibility to leave, to see your children, or go if somebody is sick.
The important thing is that everyone at the management level is held accountable to the same result. How they get their results could be different. So, you might have one person who just wants to work nine to five, and she is really productive in those hours. You might have others who need a little more flexibility. They may leave at three, but they will deliver the results at night, or from their home. They are still high performers – but they just manage their work differently. It is about allowing flexibility in the work environment, and about the results. So how you work doesn’t matter; the results should be the same, and should be at par.
In the US, you see more stay-at-home fathers than other parts of the world. We also see more fathers who want to be a part of their children’s lives. So, fathers ask for more flexibility. They want to leave at three to coach their child’s soccer team, but they still have to deliver their marketing plans or their product launches on time. That’s how I think we are seeing flexibility becoming a requirement for everyone.