Blog

  • 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.  All rights reserved.

  • Crisis Management: Five Winning Tactics

    Remember when electronics giant Samsung was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2016?  Its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone overheated and caught fire, creating a safety hazard for owners. 

    After more than a month of product malfunctions, failed replacement phones, and furious customer complaints,  the U.S. Consumer Safety Board forced Samsung’s hand.  The Korean-based company announced a total product recall , killing production of the Note 7 altogether.  Samsung took a significant earnings hit that year.

    Cases like this remind us that leaders may need to react to any number of crises – man-made or natural – that deal with stakeholder or public safety and well-being.

    I addressed common reactions and behaviors to crisis that leaders need to avoid  in a previous post, Crisis Leadership: Five Deadly Leader Behaviors.

    If you find yourself in a major crisis situation, here’s what you need to do.

  • Making the Tough Call with Poor-Fit Talent – Winning Actions, Not Costly Traps

    Worried woman_crop “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”        – Maya Angelou

    The realization may come over time, or it can occur as the result of a single critical incident. You have a poor-fit player in a key management or project position.

    Consider the many ways poor-fit talent can make their presence known. For example:

    • Under-performance due to skill deficits
    • Inability or unwillingness to act on performance feedback
    • Counterproductive – or toxic – personality traits
    • Lack of alignment with the organization’s core strategy or culture
    • Increased interpersonal or departmental conflict

  • Your Most Powerful Question

    Question crop_OKDo you want to improve your strategic planning, business development, time utilization, teamwork, communication and execution effectiveness? Granted, this is a rhetorical question.

    I want to highlight the Most Powerful Question you can have in your leadership repertoire.

  • Toxic Certainty – When What You Know Isn’t So

    “It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.”
    – Will Rogers

    Certainty is appealing and comforting. It makes us feel confident and powerful, especially in uncertain times. But it also has a dark side that I call “Toxic Certainty.”

    Toxic Certainty occurs when a person (or group) develops an unshakeable conviction in his/her interpretation of the facts and decision-making, and is immune to contradictory information.

    We see the negative effects of Toxic Certainty in political gridlock. We recognize it in religious extremism. But often Toxic Certainty goes unnoticed when it occurs at headquarters or in the boardroom. Unnoticed, that is, until disaster looms as a result of misguided thinking and actions.