Last week I coached an owner-CEO, whose company has raised capital from several private equity funds. The last 6 months have been particularly intense, and she understood that she needed to recharge her batteries.
“People tell me to take a break. Disconnect for at least a week, but two weeks would be better. And I know they’re right. But can’t they see that that’s just not possible right now?”
Together we explored what held her back, and developed two topics:
1) What will happen when I’m away?
I asked her to develop a worst-case scenario. We made a list of what could go wrong if she wasn’t in the lead: loss of speed, loss of alignment in the C-suite, reduced adherence to the processes, degraded communication to the board, ….
Not only did she realize that her fears were probably too pessimistic. More importantly, the list gave her the structure to communicate clearly and calmly to her team, saying:
“These are things I care deeply for and work on every day. You guys need to promise me you’ll be taking ownership of these topics while I’m away, or I won’t be able to disconnect. I need to know and feel that you will be looking out for this”.
2) How will I find the discipline to stay away from my phone and computer?
To recharge your batteries doesn’t mean to disconnect completely. She’d go crazy! She cares way too much for her company, she truly wants to drive the team forward.
So how to find the balance between the desire to work and the pitfall of being swallowed by busy-ness?
There are many creative steps on the spectrum from “complete disconnection” to “complete presence and availability”. Right in front of me she built her plan for a one-week break, including moments she’d work intensely but without being available for the team.
At the end of our sessions, she realized the answer had been waiting for her to be discovered.