Last year I wrote a blog (see Taking a Vacation) wherein I posed a number of questions regarding the value of vacations for candidates, employees and business leaders. I was thinking about the whole idea of vacations while sitting on a terrace and sipping some local wine overlooking the harbour of Vernazza in the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera. Your vacation may be a little different from my vacation.
I am here in one of the more beautiful parts of Italy for a friends wedding and to do a little sightseeing, sampling the local fare and drinking more than my share of the nectar of the gods. So why you might ask are you thinking about some blog you wrote last year! Just look where you are vacationing!
Good point, so let me explain. One of the comments I made in my earlier blog was that “the sign of a good manager is that you are always looking to replace yourself. You want to move up in your company then you need someone or many someones who are capable and have been trained to take over and step in when your time comes. Taking a vacation and leaving your well trained staff to function without you is the best way to test how well they have been trained. Barring a major crisis and assuming that you are not planning to take a 6 month vacation, a good manager should feel comfortable in letting his/her people hold down the fort. Are you this type of manager?”
Just after take off from Houston I discovered that our company web site (www.q4b.com) crashed, our VoIP is gone and all of our company emails are being kicked back. I know that we have great people working for our company, yet I am pretty much helpless at 30,000 feet. Well, more helpless than I would have been with both feet on the ground. This was not a minor problem, this was a major crisis, dealing with multiple issues requiring more than a few of our people to jump in and solve.
By the time I landed in Italy the crisis was over, solutions had been found and the site, VoIP and emails are all now functioning as before. The day to day activity of our company continued on with minimal interruption.
I am proud of our people. But I am also proud of the fact that we do for own company what we promise to deliver to our clients. We hire great talent. We hire individuals who are more than capable of stepping in and helping when the situation calls for “all hands” with a can do attitude.
In the future when I meet with potential clients I plan to use this story as an example of the type of employees they should be looking to hire and to illustrate the fact that our company can help them make that happen.
I need to make sure that I bring back something for everyone on our team from this great vacation. I wonder if that little trattoria in Camogli delivers.