We had the good fortune of connecting with Ken Kilday and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ken, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Having been raised by a father that described working 6am to 6pm as “just a half day”, I thought I was hard wired to place work as the first, second, and third priorities. Absolutely everything else came after work was “done”. Naturally, we all eventually learn that work will expand or contract based on the hours we allot to the effort. The real shift in my thinking, behavior, and ultimately life-satisfaction happened from 2011-2013.
The first bookend to my day was installed in 2011, which was the year we began hosting foreign-exchange students. Given that we only had them for an academic year and wanted to make sure it was a phenomenal experience, we decided that no matter what, we would all arrive at the dinner table nightly by 6pm – without electronic devices or the television – to be together as a family. This meant I had to make sure my workday was complete by 5 to make the commute as well as making sure I wouldn’t have to do “homework”.
The other bookmark came in 2013, when I joined the CrossFit community. Prior I had been going to a gym that opened at 4am allowing me to get to my desk by 6am. Because classes did not start until 5:30am, I didn’t get to my desk until 7:30am. From that day foward, my workday was fixed.
These two bookends created a fixed period, therefore I had to be judicious about what I allowed onto my calendar. Without discipline, I could find myself with “homework” after dinner. Bookends helped me not only find ‘balance’, but also helped me prioritize; I built lasting habits of that I needed to say ‘no’ to so that I could say ‘yes’ to the right things.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Once I’d committed to building my own professional coaching & strategy firm, I sought input from many people that I’d already coached, that I’d served with as a peer, and that I’d reported to. We used this input to build a brand and get really clear about the impact I had – and could have – by learning from successes and misses.
Leaving the security of receiving a paycheck to hanging a shingle and offer a service is nerve racking, to say the least. What gave me courage and comfort was the response we received in preparation to launch, as well as those that hired me on day one.
What we learned from our research is that I have stood out in my philosophy of leadership by likening it to the unconditional support of parenting. No parent would think to overtly or covertly suggest that their child’s position in the family were at risk over their ability to perform chores, achieve grades, or other “measurables”. Therefore, coaching leaders to accept the accountability for others success, as well as their role in getting them there, is a little different. Conventional approaches treat accountability as score-keeping. I treat accountability as the leader’s commitment-keeping.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Without exception, we always take visitors to the Grand Canyon. In fact, it continues to mystify us that many Arizona Natives have not make the trip.
Best hole-in-the-wall, bar none, is Crazy Jim’s (in Phoenix). We prefer the original on 19th Ave and Indian School. We have made sure to take them there ourselves, because some friends have turned away because – it’s a hole in the wall. I know this: I’ve never had a better Gyro before or since.
Time to get out of town again and head north to Sedona. Nowhere on earth is there more peace, better hiking/biking trails, and a chance to be at a Vortex (several, actually).
Back in Phoenix, it’s time for a mouthwatering dinner at Beckett’s Table. Chef Justin Beckett has a way of delivering the most incredible, mouth watering dishes, and reimagining some of our favorite fools that leaves us believing it would be a bargain at twice the price.
Road trip! Head up to the Navajo Nation and cast your eyes on the Antelope Canyon. This slot canyon will give you photos unlike any you have ever taken on any vacation. Part of that is the beauty of what you will see, yet the secret ingredient is your Navajo guide that will tell you EXACTLY the best angle.
Finally, another night in the Valley. You cannot claim to have dined without a stop at Rokerij. Make sure you add an SGP to whatever main course you choose, as there are no poor choices.
Up for a wine tour? Yes, you can do that in Arizona. Head for Cornville on Page Springs Road and make sure you hit our two favorites: Oak Creek Winery and DA Ranch. After you’ve had time to enjoy the selection, the company, and the grounds, take home a few bottles. You will be amazed at how tasty Arizona Wines are.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout is to Ted Gaskamp, currently an executive leader at Charles Schwab in Orlando, Florida. I worked for Ted when we were both living in Phoenix and working at USAA; we later became peers, both at USAA and later at Schwab. Ted was the kind of leader that got most things right: he mentored, he nudged, he challenged, he cared, and sometimes even lost his patience. When that happened, he apologized. There are few people that haven advocated as stridently for others, while demurring from any spotlight. There must be dozens of people that owe their career progression, professional growth, and personal work satisfaction to Uncle Ted (as I affectionately call him).
photographer: Josh Weinberg (IG: jweinberg)