Recently I spoke with Catapult Group member Tony Barajas, President of Barajas & Associates, Inc., about his upcoming vacation plans. Tony says his next trip may last up to four weeks—something he’d never dared dream of only a few years ago. He was convinced his business couldn’t last without him even a few days, let alone several weeks. “The thought of taking time off filled me with guilt,” he says. “I felt responsible for everyone and everything in the business. Without my physical presence there, who knew what might happen?”
I’ve seen many business owners, CEOs and presidents grapple with this issue. Some of these men and women believe they’re irreplaceable—a conviction that not only denies them badly-needed “quality time” away from the office, but stifles their senior executives and negatively affects the growth of their business.
“After talking with Brad and other members, I decided to take the plunge,” Tony recalls. “I took long weekend trips to begin with and after seeing that things didn’t fall apart in my absence, I relaxed during my time off and came back fully energized and with a fresh perspective on things.”
Let others use their good judgment
If business owners and CEOs don’t get away, they lose the value of time for strategic thinking about their business. This is extremely difficult to do when you’re caught up in day-to-day operations and challenges. But sometimes the best solution to a problem appears when you’re not working.
The first step is having someone you trust in charge. From there, make sure everyone in the business has a deep understanding of the company’s goals and vision, so people act with good judgment at all times. The person you leave in charge may make a decision in your absence that wouldn’t necessarily be the same decision you’d make, but if they use good judgment, chances are things will turn out OK.
Adding value to your business
It’s simply not possible for the business owner or CEO to be integrally involved in every aspect of the company’s operations. You need others to handle these things, not only for your own physical and mental well-being, but because a business that functions well in its leader’s absence has much more value than a business utterly dependent on that person’s presence.
“For me, it’s not something I can do half-way,” Tony says. “When I take a trip or even get away for a few hours, it has to be a complete disconnect. I exercise. I go somewhere and contemplate. I leave my cell-phone in the car. The experience is always refreshing and cathartic.”
I couldn’t agree more. I wrote the business plan for Catapult Groups while I was away from work. And there’s a benefit simply in planning a trip and having something to look forward to.
Give it a try. Turn over the reins to a trusted employee (or team of employees) and get away from the business for several days. No calls, no text messages, no emails. See how quickly the “stress” of not being there gives way to a sense of renewed energy and a readiness to tackle old problems in a new way. It’s good for you and your business.
If you’re ready to join other CEOs, managers and senior-level executives in a confidential group setting—where you’ll be challenged and rewarded like never before in your professional life—we invite you to learn more about becoming a Catapult Group member today.