Video Collaboration and the Present Mom

May 29, 2015 - 12 Comments

“Mom, is there anything you don’t do well?” That came from Jaden, my twelve-year-old daughter, after a particularly arduous week tackling algebra and a To Kill a Mockingbird essay with a little help from me.

Clearly, I don’t do everything well, but the validation felt really good coming from a kid who I think is pretty extraordinary, herself. I might be slightly biased, but there’s enough evidence for extraordinary that some of my colleagues call me “Tiger Mom.” What they don’t know is that by Amy Chua standards, I would be a deadbeat mom since I only make my kids practice piano 30-45 minutes a day, and sometimes not everyday (gasp!).

Kim N and daughters 2All joking aside, I did ponder why I was the object of such adoration during a time when kids often retreat from their parents. And I believe it’s because I’m able to be around a lot and be present for my kids at their point of need. That’s because the collaboration tools that are essential to my productivity as an employee also give me the flexibility to work from home and still only be a video call away for my kids when I’m not.

The ability to be present at the point of struggle, at the point of discovery, at the point of accomplishment has been key to my close relationship with my children and in their development. But isn’t that true with just about any relationship? Don’t relationships with customers, partners and colleagues also flourish if you can be immediately present at their point of need?

The video collaboration technologies that are designed for faster decision-making, faster time to market and beating the competition are, in my world, really just about connecting people at their core.

And sometimes, at just the right moment, that human connection can make magic happen. Like when a project team germinates a pioneering idea in a virtual meeting room, when that global deal is closed over video from the back seat of a limo … or when Mom seems to do everything right. You never know when it’s going to happen, but you’ll be glad you were present when it does.

Soon enough, Jaden will discover what I don’t do so well … like trigonometry, and statistics, and making piecrusts. In the meantime, I’m happy just to be present – to bear witness to her growth and to hold her hand as she finds her way.

To my colleagues who rib me about being a Tiger Mom, I now have an answer: I’m just present. Video collaboration allows me to be a present mom and maybe, if I’m lucky, a better one.

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  1. The work-life balance at Cisco is amazing thanks to its own technology 🙂

  2. One of my favorite blogs in a while. Great job, Kim (naturally).

  3. Add blogging to the list of things you do well.

  4. Great Read Kim from a busy working dad, the technology make it easier to manage that work life balance and be there when needed.

    That said my challenge is orgnising my time, I have all the tools I need. I just dont organise myself to balance work/life effectivley, but I am working on it.

    I couldnt live without my collaboration tools

    • It’s definitely an on-going challenge for me, too, Sydney. For me work/life blend is what works. Recently, I heard Chuck Robbins say that he hopes we have the flexibility to take off at 3 PM to go watch our kids’ games when we need to. I love working for a company that gives us the tools and empowerment to embrace that work/life blend.

  5. Great Blog! So appreciate what you shared – thank you!

  6. I couldnt agree with you more. Great article.