How Christy Johnson Lives, Loves, and Works

How Christy Johnson Lives, Loves, and Works

WHO SHE IS

Christy Johnson, Founder & CEO, Artemis Connection

WHERE SHE IS

Mukilteo, Wash. (About 20 mins north of Seattle)

KIDS

6-year-old daughter, 2-year-old twin boys

WORK SCHEDULE

Sprints throughout the day. Time before the kids wake up, a sprint while the boys are in school. Reading and cuddles before nap. Another sprint while they nap, repeat…

Tell us about your Working Mom Journey

Having children changed my life in a way I never imagined. I love them to pieces and the high travel, long hour lifestyle I had pre-kids didn’t work anymore. Plus the twins were born 7 weeks early and they spent about a month in the NICU. I had a lot of sleepless nights to think about what I really wanted. Strategy and innovating and helping organizations think about growth is what I love doing. It was the consulting and corporate strategy lifestyle I didn’t like. Hence, doing my own thing.

Guilty pleasures and life hacks

GUILTY PLEASURES

Massages, wandering around new places

RECENT SMART READ

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

GO-TO WEEKNIGHT MEAL

Breakfast for dinner (eggs for everyone)

BEST TIME MANAGEMENT TIP

Every night list the one thing that must get done tomorrow. And hire rockstars.

What does work flexibility look like to you?

Working patterns that are different from a rigid 9 to 5 at the employer’s premises. Flexibility has to go both ways. For example, we have a client down in the valley. They have given us some big pieces of work. Sometimes they need us to increase our hours in advance of a big board meeting. And we do. Because they are a great client, they give us interesting work and they usually let us work the hours / days that are convenient for us

What advice do you live by?

1. Be Direct. Do your homework to understand who you are, where you have weaknesses and what you want. Then be authentic to these needs. People respect directness, even if it is a no. Don’t shy away from hard conversations.

2. Recognize diversity creates innovation. It’s that blending of different ideas, perspectives, roles that generates truly breakthrough ideas. We help companies think about getting more diversity– including women and moms– in all ranks of leadership.

3. Hire A players. Many people I’ve worked with through the years are much smarter or more experienced than me. That’s okay. Working with A players improves everyone’s game. It’s like playing on an all-star sport team.

4. Test and Verify. People can fool you and I’ve been surprised by team members and the inconsistency of their work. But once someone has proven themselves, let them run.

5. Have high expectations for everyone. Most people will rise to them… clients, team members. Early successes beget higher personal expectations and serve as fuel for future performance. You can set up a virtuous cycle.

6. Communicate and help the team focus through engagement, encouragement and feedback.

7. Iteration wins. It’s hard to know exactly what customers want. Rapidly develop a prototype, start testing it, get feedback, modify your model and repeat. Reframe failure as a validated learning and be persistent.

8. Focus. Get one thing right and move onto the next thing.

9. Pick a great life partner. My husband supports all of my big ideas and he also knows when I need to take a break.

10. Bring the family along for the ride. If I have a client meeting out of town, the entire family comes with. They stay in the hotel while I go to meetings and then we all go on adventures.

11. Monitor and manage your energy. As a founder, I’m no good to anyone if I’m burned out. It’s my responsibility to make sure I get exercise, sleep, outside, hugs. And there is good research that your brain needs all four of those elements.

How do you #LIVELOVEWORK ?

Let it all blend together! I try to #livelovework wherever I am. That might mean I’m running a team call while my three kids are pushing shopping carts through the aisles of target. I can have the deck in front of me and still give feedback while the kids roam around. My daughter often sits next to me at our desk and designs her strategies (mostly new rides for Disneyland).

Find Christy on Twitter @christymjohnson

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