There is no question that many people are very good at staying heads-down and engaged on critical projects, strategic initiatives, and overall tasks at hand. But I can’t help but wonder, how many of this same group really know how to vacation.
Do you really know how to take a break from your company? When was the last time you got lost on purpose? I am not talking about moving your office outdoors, masked as a vacation where you spend most of the time working, but those getaways specially for Baby Boomers that really make you consider a permanent change in lifestyle.
For many, it is very difficult to really get away without alienating customers, undermining employees, or damaging key business drivers. These unfortunate souls sit on the beach with their Blackberry in one hand, a cell phone in the other, peering at a laptop. But when you don’t stop thinking about work, you often lose perspective. Your business obsessions begin to cloud your judgment and keep you from asking the critical questions – not just about what you are doing, but much more importantly, where you are going.
Please don’t misunderstand my comments as implying that you should be anything less than fully engaged in your business unit. But once you have a clear sense of the right people, processes and tools, you must invest the time and effort to enable others to make sound judgments without you. For a transition to succeed, leaders must consistently aim to uncover new ways to contribute; continue to undertake projects that play to their strengths; and truly lay the groundwork to “work to live” and not vice versa.
When you prepare your customers and staff to do more than just deal with assistance a few weeks a year, but rather develop the training and experience to solve fundamental challenges – as well as uncover new opportunities without you – you can begin to relinquish many previously unthinkable controls. In building a relationship-centric culture, you train others to replace your critical functions while you aim to broaden your market or industry reach. The peace of mind that comes with truly disconnecting allows you to refill the cup with passion, creativity and a renewed sense of vision and optimism in reaching new heights.
Think about it: no one can sprint all the time.