Meet Alex Gass,
Senior Vice President
What does Work Life Effectiveness mean to you?
Work Life Effectiveness (WLE) is about developing processes and routines in my career that are sustainable and repeatable. This is especially true given the demanding nature of our work, both travel and high expectations for delivery. It is possible to overcommit to work responsibilities for a little while, but it may come at the expense of happiness and well-being longer term.
What is one strategy that helps you establish, maintain, and achieve WLE in your workday?
Because my schedule is full and variable in terms of how I spend my time, I find it valuable to build 1-2 routines into the windows I have control over. Scheduling time to go for a run, keeping 30 minutes open to read the paper and eat breakfast, or a window to catch up with friends or family helps me to manage unpredictability in other areas of my schedule.
What do you find the most challenging about being effective in both your work and family lives?
AlixPartners has a community feel and collaboration that’s obvious. This is a big part of what makes the firm such a great place to work. One challenge I have faced is recognizing that I can’t be all things to all people.
With time I have grown more comfortable knowing I can’t say yes to everything. Managing and balancing priorities has allowed me to be my best with family, colleagues, and friends.
At what point in your career did you realize that WLE actually improves your performance in the workplace?
A good friend and mentor in the firm told me “You can think about your time as a pie with three pieces: Friends/Family, Work, and Yourself. You can make the pieces different sizes, but you cannot make the pie bigger.” It reminds me to use my time efficiently and rebalance priorities when one piece begins to grow too big.
How has your approach to WLE evolved over the years?
I’ve gotten better at thinking about work, development, and personal relationships with a longer-term view. As a younger person, the day-to-day urgency of a project kept me very focused on what was happening right now. I’ve found the firm’s personal development plan to be a helpful exercise in preparing for each year and prioritizing what I have the capacity to commit to professionally.
How do you ensure your teams are achieving WLE?
Prioritizing social events like team dinners once a week provides a nice break from the demands of client engagements. Team events provide a forum to talk about what’s going on in our lives outside of work. Colleagues can share stories from family and friends, future travel plans, and weekend hobbies.
I also believe in the benefits of time away from the office and PTO. With busy schedules, it is difficult to find a “good” time to take a vacation, but we keep holiday calendars and respect each other’s personal time when they need to step away to relax or recharge.
If you had to give one piece of advice related to WLE to your younger self, what would it be?
Make sure you communicate two specific things at the beginning of each project.
- Your development goals for the engagement – specific skills and knowledge you want to improve on during the project.
- Personal commitments coming up, so you and the broader team can proactively plan. Planning in advance makes it easier on everyone
Our Work Life Effectiveness (WLE) interview series features AlixPartners professionals across the world discussing successful strategies for facilitating their own work life effectiveness. Read more of our people's stories below.