As most working parents know well, checking off all the boxes on both your job and family’s to-do lists on any given day can feel like a tall order. And if the organization you work for is one that prioritizes red tape and rigid processes over impact, the lack of flexibility can make your day’s order seem yet taller.
That’s why Kari Wehr, a Global Sales Executive with ADP, is grateful to work for a company that understands impact requires innovation — and that includes maintaining an innovative approach to the way you structure your day, as well.
At ADP, a Best Company for Women as ranked by Fairygodboss users, Wehr says that employees are given the trust and freedom to drive the greatest impact in their personal and professional lives. Recently, she walked us through what a day with that kind of impact looks like at the company, her work home of over 10 years.
My 5-year-old son runs— no, sprints — into our bed. Since we transitioned him from a crib to a bed, he has spent almost every night (coming in around 3:30 a.m.) in our bed. This usually consists of early morning cuddles with mommy, while my poor husband gets kicked and pushed, which usually results in a wall of pillows being built.
Our alarm goes off, giving me 10 minutes to wake up and prepare for the day. This is that one time of the day where things are quiet and peaceful… I take it all in.
I make my way down to our home gym. My husband is my fitness motivation! We’ll complete a quick circuit or occasional morning run. We enjoy this time together, as we most likely won’t get to see each other until dinner, or some nights… even later.
We enjoy a protein shake in the kitchen while checking the emails that came in overnight — I lead a team of 15 reps across 5 time zones, meaning my inbox never sleeps — while also reviewing my calendar for the day and preparing for the events this day will bring.
Alright, time to wake up the house and get everyone ready for their day! This means showers, brushing hair, explaining to your 5 year old why he can’t wear shorts in 30-degree weather, and begging your tweenager to decide on an outfit.
By this time, we’re all hopefully ready and making our way to the kitchen. I’d love to have a family breakfast in the mornings like you see in movies, consisting of homemade pancakes, bacon and fresh squeezed orange juice. However, most mornings we make due with a frozen waffle or a toaster strudel and occasionally get spoiled with an egg breakfast prepared by my husband.
We live down the street from our daughter’s school, which means she is one of the last bus stops. Being a sales executive for an Inside Sales team means an 8:30 a.m. start every day in the office. So we drop our daughter off at a before-school program to help us with getting her to school (and us to work) on time. Our ride to daycare/before-school program is one of my favorite parts of the day. It’s a time filled with car karaoke, laughing over my 5-year-old’s silly questions, and preparing for our day.
Husband is at work, dog is fed, and kids are dropped off… now I start my commute to the office. This is 15 minutes where I can make calls to start my day and connect with my team; more recently, I’ve been enjoying listening to podcasts. Whether it’s a podcast on juggling being a working mom or on being an entrepreneur, this is a great way to get my brain thinking on how to approach my day differently and form different viewpoints. It’s been hard finding the time to excel in all areas of life (wife, mother, boss, field hockey coach), and listening to podcasts has been giving me that insight as to just how common this challenge is.
I pull into my parking garage and sit down at my desk by 8:30(ish). Now the fun begins!
Every day brings something new and a difference schedule. This is one of the many reasons I love my job.
On this specific day, my 9 a.m. consisted with a 1:1 with one of my more tenured associates. Topics on the to-do list: discuss an existing “stretch assignment” she is working on to improve our new hire experience. An associate’s first day, first week, and first month tells them a lot about this new organization they are working for. Bringing associates into a welcoming, organized environment sets the bar high for their first impressions and their direction moving forward.
We wrapped up the 1:1 by discussing a recent promotion this associate received and coaching her on how to approach this new role with new goals.
Our company made a significant stride over the past few months to take our organization down a new path. The future is bright and exciting, but leading up to that time comes with lots of trainings and meetings. I met with two of my senior associates to debrief on a recent conference/training they attended. Understanding their feedback and next steps allows me to understand how we can communicate this information/direction to the rest of the team, utilizing these two reps’ knowledge and strengths. Being a good leader is understanding that you can’t be in five places at once, and you need to understand the strengths of your associates. Every associate on my team excels in certain areas and has identified strengths specific to them, and I manage toward those strengths.
Calendar alarm goes off reminding me to not forget to register my son for basketball. It’s a juggling act… but we’re all doing our best!
Impromptu client meeting prep call to understand my rep’s approach to the meeting, what she’s learned about the client’s needs, and how she can plan to solve said problems… lastly, wrapping up a review of her presentation slides, and she’s ready to go!
One of the other great factors about ADP is the various different business units and teams you are exposed to and get to partner with on a daily basis. Today, I had a follow-up call with my marketing contact out of the UK. We’ve been following up on a new lead program that occurs from events (live conferences, webinars, etc). This conversation consisted of process improvements and alignment.
Today’s lunch was a working, multitasking hour. I ran to a quick deli to grab a sandwich and quickly jumped on an hour-long learning call our organization holds once a month. We go over recognition in the space as well as some best practice shares. The last topic on the call was in regards to driving attendance to a phenomenal, invitation-only event we put on once a year. This year’s event takes place in Berlin and is a great experience for our clients/prospects to not only learn where ADP can take them, but also learn from other peer executives across their industry…. this topic got me thinking (you’ll learn more about that around 1:41!). During this hour, I also spent some time finally catching up on my inbox which never seems to sleep!
Spent the next 18 minutes catching up with one of my senior associates, reviewing the challenges she is encountering in her space as well as where she is currently spending time. In this session, we also spent some time reviewing her weekly StandOut Check In. StandOut, huh? It’s a phenomenal development program we use to increase communication, manage towards strengths, and improve understanding around focus areas. Every week, my team logs into StandOut and completes a 10-minute weekly Check In. This tells me (1) did they value what they did this week, (2) what their top focus areas are for the week, and (3) which tasks they completed compared to other ongoing tasks. When I first became a leader I thought I needed to “fix” everyone’s weaknesses; however, what I’ve learned is to stop focusing on the negative and lead with their strengths. How can this associate be successful by leveraging their strength areas rather than trying to improve a weakness? Genius!
When you are moving a mile a minute, you squeeze in employee 1:1’s whenever possible! Had a quick 12-minute 1:1 with an associate that had a “boss to-do list” a mile long.
Connected with a former internal partner of mine to discuss his new role and how we can leverage each other to improve our current situations. In any large organization, it can easily feel like you are disconnected from certain areas. Networking, communication, and visibility are vital in overcoming this. This conversation was impromptu and nothing I planned on accomplishing today. It was a pleasant surprise and looking forward to seeing where we can take this!
Quickly put my head together with a few associates on how to better focus on the event we discussed over lunch. Put a high-level plan in place and attack!
Quarterly business review (QBR). “QBR” is a little deceiving since I hold QBRs with my associates twice a year, not quarterly. Living in the inside sales world, you are already so connected with your associates on a daily basis that completing a quarterly review isn’t always necessary. Twice a year, each associate has an hour time slot to share with us their business. They review their YTD performance, their strategy plans for the year, innovative ideas they’d like to roll out, and goals (personal and professional). It’s a great time to be able to hear from your reps, completely align, and make moves. What makes this different from any other 1:1 we have is I invite their channel partners to attend these sessions to ask questions and provide feedback, but also, most importantly, to learn about a day in the life of their inside sales manager.
Another hour of QBR amazingness! It’s amazing how two people can be handed the same agenda/slide deck and how different their presentations can be… both great in their own ways. Hearing what one rep does to hit success, learning what another rep does, and sharing best practices is invaluable.
Last QBR of the day!
Here is that time of the day where I look at the clock and wonder “where has this day gone.” After being away from my Outlook for three hours, I spend a few minutes cleaning up what I can before its time to leave. I talk to some associates I didn’t have the chance to spend much time with today and I’m on my way out by 5:30!
Begin my evening commute to daycare/after school care. This will take about 30 minutes, which gets me there just in time to pick up the kids and head to piano practice.
Drop off my daughter at piano practice and run to Chik-fil-A with my son. My husband recently has gone back to school for his professional engineering degree, so Tuesdays can be a little crazy in our house!
Home from piano, it’s now time to tackle homework. While my daughter sits in the kitchen completing homework, my son spends his time playing floor hockey or foosball (his new birthday present). If you don’t have a child in elementary school… a quick heads up… Common Core is very different than how we were taught. Homework can take a while some nights, between the two of us!
Bedtime routine starts around now. Because of our crazy schedules, we aren’t a very schedule-oriented family. We are all running in many directions and some nights we need to be flexible with our schedules. I’d like to think that bedtime routine starts at 8 p.m. every night, but in reality, it starts anywhere between 8 and 9 p.m. Bath, brush teeth, brush hair, read a book and bed!
Kids are asleep and it’s the first time since 5:00 a.m. that I can hear myself think. So, what do I do with this oddly peaceful moment? I boot up the computer and catch up on the unread emails I have to tend to. This is my favorite time to work. It’s quiet, so I can truly catch up on my Inbox and my to do list and put a game plan in place for the next day.
Tomorrow’s calendar is reviewed and game plan in place… check.
Outlook emails cleaned up…. semi-check. Leading a workforce across five time zones is what I love! This also means that email never sleeps. Someone is always online and working, needing direction, needing an answer, or needing help. That inspires me to look forward to tomorrow!
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