Ep. 22: Amy Vetter - Work-Life Balance with Technology & Innovation

October 21, 2019 | 16 Minutes

Amy Vetter, CEO of the B3 Method Institute, is an award-winning, accomplished C-level executive & board member who partners with organizations to create go-to-market (GTM) strategies that scale operations, brand awareness and customer success programs to increase retention and ongoing revenue growth. With deep cloud technology & transformation experience, business & financial acumen, & expertise in uncovering business revenue opportunities, cash flow & operational efficiencies, Amy walks us through taking a step back from all this technology hype and explains how we should use these innovations to really focus on improving our work-life balance! As an educator, keynote speaker, and published author, she strives to inspire a culture of mindfulness when utilizing technology and an environment of innovation & collaboration. Amy is a CPA, a Yogi, and a technologist, hosts the Breaking Beliefs Podcast, appears on TEDx and other speaking enagagements, and has been recognized for a variety of awards and accolades as she strives to help everyone live a more fulfilled, connected, and successful life at work and home. Listen to find out how to "disconnect to connect" and be more mindful as an accounting leader.

Contact Amy:
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/amyvettercpa/
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - @amyvettercpa
Email - info@amyvetter.com

Disconnect to Connect: The Path to Work-Life Harmony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1WYlK-gUME#action=share

Breaking Beliefs Podcast: https://www.amyvetter.com/breakingbeliefspodcast


Mitch: (00:03)
Welcome back to Count Me In, IMA's podcast about all things affecting the accounting and finance world. Make sure you send us an email and let us know what questions you'd like our experts to answer so we can continue providing you with the information you need to advance your career. One of the biggest questions, not just in accounting but across the business world, is about technology. I'm your host Mitch Roshong and I'm joined by my cohost, Adam Larson, who spoke with Amy Vetter about the impact of technology and how it can be used to create a better work life balance. Amy is the CEO of the B3 method Institute and a professional keynote speaker on being mindful with technology disruption and this episode, Amy shares her mindful leadership strategies and discusses the importance of implementing technology the right way. Adam, what is Amy's business balance and bliss all about? 
Adam: (00:57)
Great question, Mitch. Amy's whole message is that you can transform your career and your life by being mindful with technology and utilizing successful leadership strategies. In our conversations, she emphasizes the importance of leading by example and engaging in the process, not trying to be perfect all the time and allowing individuals to be innovative to maximize the team's potential. As an award winning accomplished C level executive and board member, Amy strives to inspire a culture of mindfulness when utilizing technology and in an environment of innovation and collaboration. Let's listen to how we can create a better work life balance. 
Adam: (01:34)
How can technology be used properly to not only improve business efficiencies, but also create a better work life balance? 
Amy: (01:47)
When you're thinking about putting technology in place, it's important to step back from the whole process of digital automation and understand what your goals are. Because many people just go about where they hear about a certain software or are trying to rush ahead in technology implementation and don't really understand the why behind what they're doing and why they're putting it into their business. So first off, it's really important to understand why you want to put certain communication tools in your business. And so when you talk about technology, that could be a distraction that can be where we set up instant messaging And then there's email and then there's some people use like Microsoft teams or Slack for communication as well as just our regular texting and phone call and people walking into offices. And the thing is when we're putting all this technology in place, if we don't start thinking about the human experience as we're going through the implementation, we can actually create more stress rather than less. So think about what you were using each of those technologies for. So if you're trying to put in communication tools so that people a can easily communicate no matter where they are, if they're remote, different geographic locations and so forth, make sure to define what each is used for. So if it's a Slack or Microsoft teams, what kind of communication are you doing in there versus instant messaging versus email versus texting? Because what you don't want to happen is someone in the workplace feeling like they don't know which one you're checking. So now they have to send four different messages to four different places. So that they catch you, which then creates more stress for everybody because then you're checking all of those things. Now when we talk about work life balance with technology, if implemented correctly, it really can create that freedoms so that you can be doing what you need to do personally or with your family because you have the right technology in place and because you've put parameters around that technology as well. But it's also again, putting guardrails around how communication happens. So I'll give you an example, you know, I'm a CPA and when I was a CPA firm partner, you know, you're working a ton of hours. And what would happen in my day is I was out at clients all day long and then I'd get home, do dinner and spend time with the kids and then I'd start working again and get my own work done. So that might start at eight o'clock at night. And what I didn't realize was when I was sending emails at eight o'clock at night, I was stressing out my staff and the people around me because they thought, which I didn't realize at the time that they needed to respond to me at eight o'clock at night and I never had that intention. But again, this is where the human side needs to coincide with technology where one day I heard the staff making a joke about the eight o'clock emails. Then I went over to them and said, are you talking about the emails that I send? And they said, yeah, and I said, so you realize I don't expect you to answer those emails at eight o'clock at night. And they were feeling the stress that they needed to. That was just the time I could work. Now the way technology is set up today, if we use properly, if you are doing your work at eight o'clock at night, you can set it and schedule those emails to go out in the morning so that you aren't creating an experience for someone else that could be stressful even if it's unintentional. But use the technology so that everyone's got their guard rails between work and home life and their personal life. And you set up the technology with the parameters around communication and how you work so that everyone has the freedom to get away from work when they need to. 
Adam: (06:32)
So then how should people view technology? Should there be different goals for learning new technologies in your career versus in your personal life? 
Amy: (06:41)
Technology is definitely not going to go away. So the truth is that whatever we learn today is going to continue to change. What used to happen in our businesses was we'd select software and that would be good for 20 years or so. But now this is a constant learning process and we really need to be open to just the play of it and being innovative with it to find out where it can help us in our career, but also in our personal life, make things more efficient. I can use an example. You know, my oldest son just went to college and you know, experiencing my son moving out was definitely an emotional time. But then in my personal life was able to discover this app called Marco polo. And we got on as a family and it's video messaging between each other. And so at anytime, even if we can't connect on the phone or all available at the same time, we're having a personal connection through these video messages that have actually been pretty hilarious. But I'm also seeing the new things he's doing as well. And that's what I mean about play, that this doesn't always have to be so serious. This is about how do you utilize this technology to enhance your career and your life and make sure you're having fun with it and also creating new ideas and services and ways that you can communicate with other people because of the technology enhancing the human experience, not replacing it. 
Adam: (08:26)
You've already talked about when you're implementing new technologies, it's good to have, you know, some sort of goal set up, like whether it's Slack or instant messaging. So what role does the effective leader play or have in managing an individual's technology use and maximizing teams' potential? You know, keeping in mind the fact that you said it's good for them to play. So how do you balance that and how do you manage that? 
Amy: (08:49)
Okay. Yeah. So I think it's important as a leader that, and the effective leaders that I have worked with have always been very open and their communication and realizing that it's not just their way or the highway, that they're listening to the ideas of everyone around us. So the problem is as we become leaders, less and less feedback comes at us, right? Because we get in a position of authority where people are fearful to give feedback to us. If we really wanted implement technology in the right way, it can't just be our ideas going into the technology implementation. We actually need to take feedback from everybody and understand their experience and the things that they're fearful of as well with the technology so that we develop goals for each person that will help enhance them. So if they're afraid that when you implement a certain piece of technology that it can make their job obsolete or they're not convinced it could be better than what they were doing before manually. It's our work as a leader to meet with each person individually, understand what is holding them back and what type of activities, education, ways to support them so that they can be successful. 
Adam: (10:26)
So we've talked about all these benefits from technology, but I see that you gave a presentation on disconnect to connect, you know, what does that mean and how can it be applied to the accounting and finance professionals who will be listening to this podcast? 
Amy: (10:39)
Sure. So I've really, you know, coming back to the mindfulness side, you know, through all the work that I've done with businesses over the years of helping them with technology, implementation, disruption and change management. One thing that I've noticed is that it's not the technology that gets in the way. It's not the actual change that gets in the way or learning about that because we all have the capability to do that. What gets in the way. Our own internal patterns and habits and stories that we could have developed from childhood or belief systems that came from outside of us that other coworkers have said to us or bosses have said to us that become a belief system internally. But we never really step back and truly disconnect from what is going on in our lives to connect to who we are internally and understand what are those belief systems that are driving us and why and do we actually even them. Part of this is that because we're in such a rush to keep up and to keep up with all the deadlines of the work that we're doing, but also keep up to the pace of change, we often don't make time to step back and pause and make sure that we're really present in the experience and we're doing what we want to be doing and thinking forward that, you know, there's value in the things we're doing today for the future of our work and why? So if we don't take that time to disconnect, it's hard for us to connect to, you know, what our personal purposes in life, like why we do what we do, what it's not just about the business outcomes, but also making sure that we feel fulfilled by the work that we're doing today. But also what the impact that we could have tomorrow as well. And the reason I say disconnect to connect because a lot of times we may feel like when we take time for ourselves to really do this self discovery, we may feel guilty for taking that time for ourselves or that we feel like we should be doing something else. That's the way our brains work instead of thinking of it as selfish. It's really about that when we are better connected to ourselves and to our purpose, then when we connect better to the people that we work with, to the people in our personal lives as well. Because we're more about being in the present moment cause we understand where we're going in the future, when we allow technology to distract us when we are meeting with somebody else. Whether it be someone in business, whether it be someone in our personal lives, and we keep telling that person in that conversation, just hold on a second. Let me check that email or let me check that text whether we intend to or not. We're actually creating experience where that person may feel like they're not important, even though that's not our intention. These are the moments to remind ourselves that we want to be present because if we miss someone's body language or the little feelings or emotions that might come up in the way that they're saying things because we are distracted, we can also miss some of the best business opportunities or the best ways to connect with somebody around us that will benefit our relationships into the future. So that's really what disconnecting to connect is all about, is taking that time for yourself, going on that journey so that you can connect better to the world around you and succeed as you go into the future. 
Announcer: (14:54)
This has been Count Me In, IMA's podcast, providing you with the latest perspectives of thought leaders from the accounting and finance profession. If you like what you heard and you'd like to be counted in for more relevant accounting and finance education, visit IMA'S website at www.imanet.org.