Taking time off is essential to productivity. Most small business owners know they need to take vacations yet they rarely do. The lack of vacation stems from a lack of confidence in what will happen with their small business when they leave.
I know as a young executive I was terrified to leave on a long vacation. My team needed me! If I wasn’t there then results would suffer. This thought process went on for a long time until I had a boss who told me that having a team that was dependent on me to drive the results was a fast track to insanity.
Here are some tips to prepare your small business for your absence.
- Set objectives
What do you want to see happen while you are gone? What would success look like in your absence? Sit down with your team and have them set objectives for what will happen in your absence. I see business owners who go on vacation and say nothing to their team about goals and come back disappointed about what they find.
- Figure out who’s in charge
Who will run the show in your absence? Not only should you set objectives, you should also designate a person who will own the results that are achieved. If you are not grooming a second in command in your business then you should start. In doing so, that person will feel more comfortable taking over when you leave.
- Create a reward
What is something fun that you can throw out to your team if they nail the objectives while you are away on vacation? Make this a game. Ask your team what they would like to play for and then create some sort of visual that they can see in your absence. Even simply challenging your team to step up their game when you are gone will provide a lift.
I had a client recently travel to Europe for 3 weeks and they came back to their office and told me how happy they were when came back and the business was doing well after implementing some of the above tips. They said they usually come back to chaos and drama and this time their business was much more prepared for their absence.
You probably have had similar experiences coming back to your business, even after a week, and hearing about all the crazy stuff that happened. Then you wonder why you left.
This quote by Lao-Tzu impacted my leadership journey, especially when it comes to preparing my business for vacation:
A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.
The best thing that you could ever hear as a leader when you come back from vacation is, “We didn’t need you.” Music to your ears. With the right intention, your business can prepare at a high level for your next vacation.