Articles

  • Why You Don’t Need That Vacation

    By Susan Battley

    Vacation-crop

                                                   “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”   – Marcel Proust

     

    With more than half of the year over and the summer zipping by, let’s take a fresh look at why you don’t need to take a break from work:

    • You think you’re indispensable. No one can fill your shoes, or hold down the fort in your absence. Even with all the available technologies that can keep you in touch with the office – and them with you – your physical presence is essential to keep disaster and mayhem from occurring.
    • Fresh ideas and perspective are immaterial to your ongoing success. Who needs a refresher period to spark creativity when you can bask in the comfort of same-old, stale thinking?
    • Others might slack off in your absence. You wouldn’t want to be a role model for anything other than a strong work ethic.
    • You have no personal life. Workaholism is a strategy for filling a void or avoiding challenges or dysfunctions in the rest of your life.

    I could go on, but I think you get my tongue-in-cheek point.

    Just as athletes need to alternate performance with rest periods for optimum results, smart professionals realize that vacations are critical to maintaining their competitive and creative edge at work.

    The alternative is a loser’s game, maybe not in the short-term, but definitely in the long run: burnout, subpar decision quality, and decreased innovation and motivation. Don’t delude yourself into thinking otherwise.

    “Yes, but…”

    A refrain I hear all too often from executives is: “Yes, I really want some down time, but there is simply no end to the incoming demands and issues I have to tackle.”

    If this is your day-to-day reality, consider it a red flag that you are spread too thin and your situation is unsustainable. 

    Corrective action is needed.  Often this involves structural changes in roles and responsibilities, delegating to others, or adding personnel.

    If you have a history of not taking vacations, canceling planned vacations or scaling back vacation time after the fact, consider these as warning signs that something is amiss with your attitude and/or actual work responsibilities or performance.  A compulsive workaholic organizational culture can also be at fault.

    If you are a leader or senior decision maker, it’s important that you set the tone for vacation time by your own example.  Individual, team and organizational productivity will benefit over the long-term and promote sustainable success.

    [See also, Vacation Approved: Five Vacation Action Tips ]

    Copyright © Susan Battley, PsyD, PhD. All rights reserved.

  • Would You Hire Yourself? Take a Clean Slate Approach

    Biz man crop_OK

    “This is interesting,” said the CEO, studying the whiteboard we’d filled with a detailed position profile. Hank, I, and several board directors were updating his company’s succession plans in light of his expected retirement in two years. Updating his own position profile – role, responsibilities, and success criteria – was key to identifying possible internal candidates for his job.

    “Our business has changed drastically in the past eighteen months,” Hank noted. “We have more overseas suppliers, more regulation to contend with here and abroad, and more strategic alliances to manage.” He shook his head in mild disbelief. “If I were looking for someone to fill my shoes now, I probably wouldn’t hire myself.”

  • Seven Crucial Actions for Leading in Complex Times

    Complexity is a fact of management life in our interdependent global marketplace.  Paradoxically, the more complex things become, the greater the need for leaders to be able to extract, focus and act on core essentials.

    Thriving in complex times involves seven crucial leader performance areas.  Do you consistently deliver in these areas? ‎

  • What’s Your Return-on-Time?

    Performance Tip

    Twice in recent weeks I’ve found myself in small-group meetings that included senior executives who did not need to be there.  After one of these meetings, I asked the chief operating officer, someone I know well, why he was at a gathering that clearly did not require his input or endorsement.

    “Damned if I know,” he replied honestly. “Few people here seem to value my time.”

    To finish the year strong, you and your team must exercise discipline with time allocation so that priority tasks and commitments are completed thoroughly and well.  What activities fall into this category?  Performance reviews, budget decisions, and customer care leap to mind.  These areBusinessman Writing in Scheduler not activities to be rushed.  Yet in reality they often are, with the result being missed opportunities to maximize talent performance and bottom-line results.

    To help calculate your Return-on-Time (ROT), check out our online Meeting Value Calculator Tool. It can help you determine the “cost” of a meeting for planning purposes.  It can also help you determine after the fact whether a meeting yielded a reasonable ROT.

    ©Susan Battley.  All rights reserved.

  • How to Be A Great Leader-Coach

    When it comes to core capabilities that prepare a person for the highest levels of executive responsibility and success, bosses loom large as role models, mentors and coaches.  They are major influencers of how top-performing professionals develop on the job.

    At the management level, professionals regularly tell me about key lessons learned from their superiors in self-confidence, executive outlook, managing relationships and handling adversity.

    To unleash their potential and deliver consistent winning results, top talent needs to be guided and inspired by great leader-coaches.