Work-life schmalance? Four CFOs share how they have - or haven't - achieved this

Capitec, Black Umbrellas, Jaguar Land Rover, Torre Industries and 4AX's CFOs explain their approaches.

We asked five CFOs from leading South African companies whether they have achieved the perfect work-life balance and that means for them. 

Both 4AX CFO Lindiwe Ndlela and Torre Industries CFO Shivan Mansingh believe they’ve achieved a well balanced work and personal life. 

Lindiwe said:

“I’m fortunate, while I’ve always had a demanding job that requires sometimes working long hours, I am clear on my interests and hobbies, which allows me to have the work-life balance, though I can only execute or enjoy these if I put time to it.”

She went on to say that she is a marathon runner, but needs to put effort into the training and enter for races - which sometimes require international travel. She plans her holidays around her races. 

“When it comes to work-life balance, I think I’m doing well. The challenge of work-life balance is time; time is the limitation. My advice is to identify your interests and hobbies and try to align them - I like travelling and running, so I do them together. You have to consolidate your interests. Then, before you know it, it’s seamless.”

Read more: Interview: Lindiwe Ndlela 4AX CFO

Shivan tries to balance his work-life balance over a year, because “you have some periods that are very busy, and others which are less busy.”

“Between that I try and take some rest where I can,” he says. 

In his personal life, Shivan has two children and describes his wife as a “high flier”. 

“My greatest hobby is to travel; to simply get away from everything and unwind. We travel together as a family.”

Read more: Interview: Shivan Mansingh CFO Torre Industries

For Jaguar Land Rover CFO Liaan Kretzschmar (pictured) and Shanduka Black Umbrellas CFO Nyasha Dzumbunu, work-life balance is a challenge. 

Liaan says that despite the challenge, he is very protective of time with his family - his wife Illana, son and two daughters - especially over weekends and on holidays. 

“I do not check email over a weekend or on holidays. I refuse to do that. I believe that if I’ve done my job as a leader and empowered my team, this isn’t necessary. It’s also healthy for me to unplug,” he says. 

“In a sense, work-life balance is a difficult concept because it sometimes implies that work and life are distinct and in competition. What I’m starting to challenge myself on and consciously ask myself is, how does a life well-lived look, and that includes work. I’m trying to ask myself, where would my energy and time have the most impact? But it’s a continuous thing I’m learning. Sometimes we have to just cut and run."

He referred to a book called ‘Essentialism, the disciplined pursuit of less’, by Greg McKeown, which has transformed his thinking. “It’s a case of, we aren’t made to be doing 10 000 things at once and all at the same time, so how do we get to the most important things?”

Read more: Leaders become great because of their ability to empower others

Nyasha said she is willing to learn from whomever has successfully achieved a work-life balance. 

“I think it’s easier in certain moments. In peak periods, I think it’s virtually impossible,” she said. 

She believes that whatever helps you to relax is important. Listening to music and reading a book is relaxing for her and allows her to get a sense of self.

“I spend time with my husband, my family and my good friends – that’s what my life outside of work is about. But sometimes it can be difficult to get moments of sanity or downtime. I love to exercise and I have a passion for fashion that I really enjoy. I love coming up with designs for women’s clothing and tapping into my creative side. I think my love for fashion is something I’ll always have in the background and with time, it will grow.”

Read more: Success comes from surrounding yourself with positive life

To Capitec CFO André du Plessis, his personal and professional life go hand in hand. He makes adventures out of both and takes his work with him wherever he goes - even when he is travelling across a country on his motorcycle. 

“If need be, work 24/7,” he said. 

“It is critical to make an impression. If you do it from the outset, you get all the nice jobs. Don’t only do what you are told – go the extra mile. Give in on small things but be uncompromising on the important things and values. Conform but also understand the organisation. I believe in submission but not in blind following.”

Read more: Be brutally honest