Bart Lorang, the CEO and CO-Founder @Full Contact, was sitting atop a camel looking out past a dusty, sandy vista at one of the seven wonders of the world.
Wait a minute.
With the Great Pyramid of Giza looming in the background, what was this titan of technology looking at?
Did you guess right? That he was checking his smart phone?
Not so smart, huh?
We are a world addicted. And Bart, being smarter than his phone, made a major decision after that trip to Egypt.
He was going to learn what it is like to get off the grid and disconnect. And he found the perfect time to research this new, more positive and happier way of living. He made a commitment to leave technology behind when he went on his honeymoon to Bora Bora.
No, he wasn't checking out of modern living, only checking into finding balance.
Could he take two weeks and stay away from one of the most vital forces in life right now? Could he stay away from the phone that has become an extension, like another critical organ of the body electric?
As Bart tells it, the first four days were tough, yet doable. He was tackling his "problem" and was going to get the "addiction to the need to know" out of his life.
Ah, the addiction to the need to know is one of the most prevalent patterns of modern times.
And Bart, a risk taker, figured out a way to keep a happier work force because of his adventure into the powerless world of "not knowing" (at least for two weeks).
Here's what happened.
When he came back into the world of connectivity he himself felt happier and more solid. He realized that being connected to the world, the whole world with the click of a button gives a sense of power. Yet, letting go for brief periods of time can be energizing. There is something to be said for stopping and simply staying still and maybe even silent.
Now, if you work in Bart's organization you get an extra benefit. It does, however come with a price.
Bart's part of the price is that he will give every employee an extra $7500 to go on vacation. And that means taking the true meaning of the world vacation seriously: to vacate.
Your part of the bargain as an employee @FullContact is to agree to three things:
- No checking work emails, texts or calls.
- No working. Period!
- Must go on a vacation, somewhere other than stay home or you don't get the money
The after story.
People @FullContact are happier, less stressed (I said less, I didn't say not) and they seem to handle conflict skillfully. And Bart has an easier time recruiting, getting an average of 50 applicants per day.
Bart and I talked about his perspective of employee relations and he is right on. It's about helping employees really succeed personally as well as professionally. So, there are check in times for team members on a weekly basis. If there are warning signs of moral issues they don't bubble up as a surprise.
He understands and agrees with what I teach about how behavior patterns from childhood can show up at work, when there are times of annoyance or disappointment. It's a rare CEO who sees this connection so clearly. And knowing how to deal with your colleagues and employees when outdated patterns show up, is a high level of leading.
Look, if an extra bonus for vacation isn't possible yet, check out how to give employees (or yourself) time for a half or full day "radical sabbatical." Time to get still and disconnect, pays dividends in work collaboration, creativity and communication.
I'm off to see if Bart has any openings for a non-tech type who loves to travel.