50 Business Challenges: No. 16 Taking Holiday

This one is very relevant at the moment – there was no Challenge last week because, yes, I was on holiday. And that means I went through the mad rush of clearing the desk before going, then coping with hundreds of emails when I got back. And it was worth it.

The difficulty for many is finding the time, or thinking that their business cannot survive if they are not physically present. In many cases the latter is true, and both are the product of indispensability syndrome. This can be real or psychological. The real kind arises because there is no-one else to cover for the business owner, and is particularly common in smaller businesses. This leads to a treadmill effect, which then means that the owner is even more in need of a holiday. What is does to family life is another issue.

The answer is to develop the business sufficiently that it has enough well-trained and competent staff to cope in your absence (which may equally be due to accident or illness). They need to be supported by well designed procedures so that the business functions without minute by minute management – but with a trigger by which the owner is contacted when really necessary. Building up gradually from a long weekend to a complete fortnight can create confidence in all concerned that the system will cope.

Psychological indispensability syndrome is more difficult to crack, at least for the solo entrepreneur. If they have strong colleagues, the problem can at least be pointed out, but realisation needs to come from within. Beyond that, the prescription is as above. However, carrying this through will be that much harder if the need to be needed has to be overcome.

Coaching can help, so if this is an issue you face, call us for a no obligation discussion on 0121 698 2318. You may engineer a happier summer.


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