By Steve Feld, The “Vacation Liberator”
Some people have called me the “vacation liberator.” I am not a travel agent, nor do I represent a vacation destination, or am on any city travel destination organization. I am an executive coach. The reason some people have called me this is that I get business owners and leaders to take a vacation.
How many of us have heard a business owner/leader state, “Have haven’t taken a vacation in BLANK.” Fill in the blank with a number that is greater than 2 years. They say it with pride. Like it’s a badge of honor. They imply that without them in their business – it will fall apart and burn down.
Do you think their staff or family feels the same way as this person? I bet not. After speaking to numerous staff members and the families of these vacation phobia individuals, they have a different point of view.
The staff is frustrated that the owner/leader is proud they haven’t taken a vacation because they don’t trust the staff to run the business while they are gone. The staff maybe has not been coached or empowered fully to do the job they were hired to do and feel the owner has taken some of that power away from them.
Their family is upset with them because they want to take a family vacation, but this person is “too busy” to take the time off and recharge their batteries. For those of you that have children, understand they grow up very fast and we must MAKE the time to be with them during this time. For those that are married, you know how your spouse views you by not going on a vacation with them. It does not support a positive healthy relationship at home.
According to an article in Forbes (Feb. 2014) by Tanya Mohn stated, “Not taking vacation time is a bad idea, as it harms productivity and the economy.” There is countless research on this topic. The general gist is that not taking a vacation harms your business, your family life, impacts the economy, and demoralizes your staff.
So, how does one liberate these anti-vacation individuals? Simple. BOOK A VACATION NOW! When proud business owners inform me about their last vacation 9 years ago, I had them call their spouse at that moment so I may speak with them. Then, just asked the spouse if you went on a vacation, where would you go and what would you do? The owner/leader hears this conversation and usually confirms what their spouse states. After that very brief call, I sit with the owner/leader and have them book that vacation at that moment. Once the vacation is booked, I have them call their spouse and let them know when and where they are going on vacation. You will not believe the positive response the spouse has and it makes the owner/leader feel good about their decision.
The next step, is to have them round up their staff and inform them of their vacation and to put it on all the calendars. We must now get the owner to assign some of his duties and functions to his staff so they cover for him/her. One of the main goals is to make sure the owner/leader does not log in to their emails, call the office or be able to check on the business while they are gone. This is usually done by having their right-hand person be in charge and only to contact the owner/leader if something is really bad. Since every business does have a different dynamic, it depends on how deep we go with making sure the owner/leader enjoys themselves on their vacation and not to think about work.
So, now are you one of those proud “I haven’t had a vacation in…?” If you are, stop everything and book your vacation now. Get your spouse/significant other involved in that decision. Inform your staff-empower them to cover for you. Go and enjoy yourself and re-charge your batteries. When you return, your business will still be there, all is going to be OK, and you, your spouse, and your staff will like you much better.