Guess what today is? Well, more accurately—guess what day it was when I wrote this blog? Give up? The first day of summer!
Thinking about summer through the eyes of my kids, I think about carefree, homework-free days. Hanging out with friends, spontaneous sleepovers on a Tuesday night, boating, swimming, movies … whatever the day offers. When I think about summer as a parent, I think about the intense schedule of camps, clinics, sports and training that seems to pile up as soon as the kids are out of school, all tracked by a color-coordinated calendar to keep it straight. Then, I think about summer within the context of work, and nothing much seems to change in my mind. It’s pretty easy to let the days roll together in one climate-controlled mass of meetings, projects and deadlines. Pretty easy … but very dangerous and very, very limiting in terms of your leadership.
I recently read an article out of Forbes, “Take a Serious Vacation: A CEO’s Advice to All CEOs.” Wow. The article was written by Jim Moffatt a few years back. At the time, he was the U.S. chairman and CEO for Deloitte Consulting. The article essentially discourages CEOs, and truly any leader, from staying plugged into the day-to-day operations while away from the office. Truly unplugging, and not just work-cationing, not only gives your employees the chance to succeed in your absence, it also gives you the chance to take your mind to the 30,000-foot view and focus on the big picture: “If you really unplug, you will start thinking about the long term, strategic issues, and what [you] have to do to be successful over the 9-to-24-month period, and that is essential.” Admit it, it’s pretty hard to think strategy when you’re answering emails, accepting calendar requests and putting out “fires” (which really are usually just smoldering embers).
Whether your summer plans include planes, trains or road trips, do yourself, your family and your employees a favor. Step away from the laptop, power down the phone and let that tablet go dead. As Jim Moffatt points out, “if your business can’t survive your vacation, you’ve got bigger problems.” I’ll check in later this summer to see how it’s working for you. And don’t worry, if you just can’t seem to let go—well, then the blog gets really fun. Stay tuned.