Vacation time is fast approaching and most of us focus on what we will be doing differently away from work. Here was my thought, how would my work life function in my absence? Secretly I would like to be missed; operationally I do not want my absence even noticed. With my current small staff this will be a challenge.
We all love the concept of employee empowerment and delegation. The beauty of vacations is they put you to the test on these concepts. Here are some test questions to see if you’re going to have a great vacation.
1) How many customer or third party interactions does your staff ask your permission or opinion to complete? Frontline employees should never need permission to solve a customer problem, for instance.
2) If your supervisor needed something you are working on, does your staff know where to find it? This requires you let your staff know what you are working on and trust them with the information or you make sure your supervisor/team has access to your files.
3) If you lost your cell phone on the way out of town, could you still have a great vacation? I recommend you trade phones with your vacation partner and let them decide whether to answer. To vacate really does mean to vacate.
4) Have you scheduled time with your staff to practice how to handle the situations you currently directly deal with? Building back up capability should never be done when you NEED back up capability.
5) Is your staff asking permission more than forgiveness? Making mistakes and learning from them accelerates growth. Allows for better vacations, too.
My challenge is to take more, not less, vacations. This is going to require me to be more intentional in my training, delegating, and, yes, trusting. Each week I will have to schedule the IMPORTANT BUT NOT URGENT training time with my staff. I am going to schedule a week each quarter to make sure this happens. I hope my staff meeting following each vacation is focused on forgiveness or how well things work without me. Now on to the big problem: who will watch the cats? 🙂