MSPs: 10 Questions You Can't Ignore

Amy Katz (my business partner) and I have been talking quite a bit lately about life-work balance. Frankly, Nine Lives Media Inc. (MSPmentor's parent) is consuming more and more of our time. And that means less time for us to unplug to focus on our respective families. I received a timely reality check at the recent HTG Peer Group meeting in Orlando, Fla. It involved an eye-opening 10 question survey. Here's what happened.

First some background. HTG Peer Groups involves non-competing VARs and MSPs networking in groups of about 10 to 12 companies. Each peer group member bares his soul -- and his balance sheet -- to the other members. The end goals are personal, professional and business development for everyone at the table.

The Ultimate Test

Still, HTG Peer Group meetings involve more than business discussions. Members also focus heavily on life-work balance (notice, it's not work-life balance). And in one daring -- but important -- move, peer group members actually have their spouses fill out a 10-question feedback form. Each question is on a 10 point scale (10=fantastic score, 1=pathetic score), for a possible total score of 100.

Basically, your spouse ranks you in terms of your ability to maintain a reasonable life-work balance. The 10 question survey includes:
  1. Works a reasonable number of hours on the business
  2. Schedules time for exercise, hobbies, not just work
  3. Makes time for me and family activities
  4. Never misses family activities for the business
  5. Brings an acceptable amount business work home (reworded from previous quarter)
  6. Helps with household responsibilities
  7. Schedules vacation that is not around business events
  8. Never checks phone during dinner and family activities
  9. Supports my work related activities equally
  10. Truly wants the best for me and our family
I've got some pretty big dreams. Don't tell anyone but my stretch goal is to be the world's most popular tech blogger. Like I said: Stretch goal. And frankly, I'm not even Nine Lives Media Inc.'s most popular author (that distinction belongs to The VAR Guy).

But perhaps my priorities are out of whack. If I asked my wife to fill out the survey, I think I'd score about a 10 out of a possible 100. Pathetically bad. But I guess admitting the problem is a first step toward recovery.

Right now I'm in Paris. Working hard at the Cisco Partner Velocity conference but also mulling my priorities for 2010. My wife is here with me. Time to take a hard look in the mirror.

I'm thankful HTG showed me the survey. I suspect it will be a real eye-opener for MSPmentor's readers. It was for me.

More From HTG

When HTG shared the survey with me, they also sent along the following nuggets of information:

1. Every partner in HTG peer group 5 scored low on question #8.  One partner scored better by handing his cell phone to his spouse when he arrived at home and waiting until it was returned later in the evening.  It’s all about focus.

2. One partner had several heated debates with his spouse regarding the form last quarter.  The debates evolved into healthy discussions and, fast forward to the present, home life has improved.

3. One partner was not only given his results, but was given his expectable range. By the way, the partner’s spouse is an engineer.

For the record, the authors of the spouse feedback form are: Sharon Sobel and Deborah Lindley.
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