Burnout isn’t just an issue at work, but can also be an issue at home. We want to have enough energy to engage and be present with our families as well. I spoke with Chuck Saia, CEO of Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory, to learn how he creates a life-work rhythm that works for him.
Jen Fisher: What are some ways in which you are able to disconnect when it comes to spending time with your sons?
Chuck Saia: I’ve always put a lot of emphasis on my career, but my sons are my real legacy. I want to be the best dad for them and set them up for success. I’ve found that fishing is a great way to spend quality time with my boys and disconnect from work. Distractions are minimal. It’s relaxing, and it sparks conversations.
I’ve also learned a lot through fishing about patience and resilience. When we’re out on the water, I see how my boys are learning, too. There’s failure in fishing just like in business and life. If you don’t learn from it, you won’t improve. You need to adapt to your environment, and if something isn’t working, change it. Fishing is my counterbalance to the daily grind. It helps me readjust and look at challenges in a new light.
JF: What has been the biggest challenge in being both a CEO but also being an engaged parent been for you?
CS: It’s always tough to achieve work-life balance and I’ve learned it’s never going to be perfect. For me, it means being as efficient as possible with my time. One thing I like to do is check and respond to emails early in the morning, while getting my steps in. Ideally, that’s outside when the weather is nice, but I don’t let bad weather stop me. I’m sure I’ve driven more than a few hotel employees crazy doing laps around the lobby, but it works for me. It also helps to devote certain days to certain responsibilities and remain disciplined to a schedule. For example, Monday is my primary call day. If I’m not traveling, I set aside Mondays for calls with my leadership team and clients.
I’m also fortunate to have a team that makes it possible to take time away for my family. That has given me a chance to be engaged in things like coaching my kids’ baseball and basketball teams. Right now, one of my boys is in college search mode and I remember how I felt at his age. Even if I didn’t admit it at the time, I needed my parents. He’s starting a new stage of life and I want to be there to listen to him and offer advice when I can. Having a good work-life balance means I can go on a college visit or help him with an admissions essay, and not be checking my phone!
JF: Often discussions around the challenges that working parents face center on women. From your experience, how can people do a better job acknowledging and supporting the needs of fathers?
CS: The group that can do the most in acknowledging and supporting the needs of fathers is…fathers. We need to do a better job of speaking up and letting our teams know when we need support. Deloitte’s family leave policies reflect that parenting roles are shared and interchangeable and that’s great. But leaders need to “walk the talk.” They need to promote and practice those policies so both men and women won’t be afraid to use that extra layer of support. That’s something we can’t stress enough and leaders should set the example.
JF: What is something that you’ve learned from your sons that you’ve been able to leverage at work?
CS: Both of my boys play sports and I’ve been lucky to be involved with their teams. Team sports teach kids a lot, like celebrating collective success and pulling together when things don’t go your way. Seeing my sons learn from their mistakes in a game reinforces to me why it’s so important to learn from mistakes at work. You can’t do everything by yourself, and getting energy from your teammates can make all the difference. Through my boys, I also see why it’s important to treat others with respect and kindness, especially when you’re young.
There’s a video that’s gone viral recently of a high school pitcher who strikes out his friend to earn his team a trip to the state championship. Before he celebrates with his teammates, he walks over to comfort the friend he struck out. That showed real character and kindness. We can learn a lot from watching our kids.
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