In my last post, I talked about losing my father a few months ago. Even in death he taught me more about business than perhaps anyone else.
As his health declined, I essentially disappeared from my company for a couple of weeks. Between flying from coast to coast to see my father and making different arrangements, contact with my team was minimal. I trusted that my team would run the company just fine in my absence -- and that's precisely what happened.
I have learned that a company is more significant than just one person, especially if you have been in business for some time.
Why Time Away is Good
It turns out that the only thing that I had to do was cancel a few speeches-- no big deal. My experience shows the importance of putting together a good team, establishing a caring culture, and promoting consistent values.
Maybe you are the genius behind your company, but unless you're running a small operation, other people are executing your plans, and I assume you trust them.
One theme I come across repeatedly is the entrepreneur who refuses to relinquish any measure of control for fear of disaster immediately occurring. It's a serious problem in more ways than one. Not only does the entrepreneur risk burnout, but a lack of differing opinions can lead to tunnel vision, not to mention a lack of checks and balances.
Again, remember that your team is more capable than you think. If you're proficient enough to be a successful entrepreneur, you probably had the foresight to choose strong supporting players.
Don't believe me? Try this simple test: Disappear for a week with little notice and see what happens. Most likely, nothing terrible will happen. Even if something does, it's likely easily fixed upon your return. Your time off may offer you some fresh perspectives as well.
Your staff probably will appreciate you being away because it gives them time to stretch their wings a bit and take decisive action. If you're that much of a control freak (even if you're a generally good boss), they're probably chafing a bit under your command.
The point is that at some time in everyone's life, you're not going to be able to devote full attention to your business. Whether it the aging or death of a parent, an emergency involving your spouse or children or an unforeseen incident such as your house burning down, your attention is eventually going to be divided.
Alternatively, maybe you're feeling stressed out and want to enjoy the fruits of your labor with an extended overseas vacation. Knowing you can trust your team will help give you peace of mind.