CMOs Explore Work-Life Balance and Brands

This morning I had the privilege of welcoming former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao as a new advisor to “The @Work State of Mind” project, gyro’s collaborative marketing R&D project. We are profoundly excited to have access to her unique understanding of the changing dynamics of work life in the 21st century.

Earlier today, Secretary Chao joined me and several others on a panel at the Forbes CMO Summit in Palm Beach. We had a lively conversation among ourselves, and with the 100-plus CMOs in attendance on this idea: Being at work is no longer a place. It is a state of mind.

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao (first from right) today became an advisor to gyro's "@Work State of Mind” project. She appeared with gyro President Rick Segal (first from left) on a panel at the Forbes CMO Summit at The Breakers, Palm Beach, Fla. Photo: Glen Davis for Forbes


Secretary Chao challenged delegates to understand the new expectations of the emerging Millennial generation of knowledge workers. “These new members of the workforce have both high expectations of their work life and very specific requirements for job satisfaction,” she said. “While I am ultimately optimistic about where this general transformation leads, it will not be without its challenges.”

“The separation of work life from home life, in the larger span of history, may prove to be a brief, multi-decade anomaly,” said panelist Maggie Jackson, a journalist and author focused on the blurring boundaries between work and home life. “I am concerned, however, about what our fragmented attention spans and harried lifestyles are doing to the quality of our reflection and ultimately our decision-making.”

Flexjet CEO Fred Reid posited that private jet ownership is less a matter of personal luxury than it is an attempt on the part of senior executives to both “cheat time,” and remain integrated in the life of his or her family. “A private jet is ultimately a tool of work-life balance for the most ‘always on’ of the always on,” he added.

At Deloitte, the global accounting and consulting firm, leaders are going out of their way to equip new recruits with every tool they’ll require to do their work any time, any place. “On day one, new Deloitte employees are geared up with the latest devices and apps they’ll need to live their lives and deliver their work in a real-time, hyperconnected global workgroup,” said Luis Gallardo, managing director of global brand and marketing at Deloitte.

The assembled CMOs affirmed the premise that a reset of marketing planning and execution is required to accommodate the new dynamics of work life and decision-making. Early next year Forbes Insights will publish “The @Work State of Mind,” an international study conducted among knowledge economy decision-makers in collaboration with gyro. “Our top-line data is suggesting that an astonishing amount of business decision-making is taking place away from the workplace,” said Forbes Chief Insights Officer Bruce Rogers. “The other intriguing insight we’ve exposed is that empowered decision-makers don’t appear to be all that disgruntled by the vanishing boundaries between work and home. Indeed, they feel empowered.”


by Rick Segal
President Worldwide and Chief Practice Officer

Follow Rick on Twitter @MrBtoB

Cross-posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network