If you took a vacation this summer, did you actually unplug from work? If you’re like most Americans, while you were playing with your kids or laughing with your spouse, there was a little voice in your head whispering, “Check your email.”
I heard that little voice when I traveled overseas for two weeks earlier this summer. But the more I ignored it, the quieter it got. Pretty soon, I stopped worrying about email altogether and enjoyed connecting with the people right in front of me. When I returned to work two weeks later, I felt refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to put all that newfound energy to work for my clients.
Before you take your next vacation, remember there are at least three great reasons sales leaders should unplug while on vacation:
According to job-finding site Glassdoor, the average U.S. employee only takes half of his or her eligible paid time off. When Americans do take personal time or go on vacation, 61 percent admit to doing some work while off the clock.
Here’s a hint: If you’re working through your vacation, you’re not on vacation. You might as well just go back to the office.
It's easy for leaders to fall into the 24/7 trap—to negotiate away our family time and leave our kids clamoring for attention. But when we work around the clock, we get overwhelmed. We don't get enough sleep. We get sick and cranky. We’re nowhere near as productive. Our creativity and decision-making suffers. In other words, we become bad sales leaders.
We have to stop the vicious cycle. Now.
Whether you’re on vacation or just home for the night, it’s important to occasionally disconnect from work. But most of us don’t. We’ve been conditioned so that when we send an email on Sunday afternoon, we expect a response immediately. Send an email at midnight? Somebody should be awake to answer it. Why? Would you call people at that hour? Would you go to their houses and ring their doorbells?
Your team takes cues from you. If you work around the clock and while on vacation, your sales reps will think they must do the same. No one wants to look like a slacker when the boss is a workaholic. Sure, you can encourage them to take time off and even put rules and systems in place to ensure they do. But the most effective way to get them to unplug is to set a good example.
By working through vacation, sales teams don’t just waste their hard-earned time off. They also lose out on the productivity gains that come from decompressing. Studies show employees who take vacation time—real vacation time—experience an 82-percent increase in job performance and have a lower turnover rate than their overworked counterparts.
Working 24/7 has become the norm. We hear people say they’re struggling with work/life balance. Really? There's no such thing. We've created our own revolving door. Go in, come out, go in, and go around.
Stop the madness. Unplug, disconnect, and take the time you and your sales team need to excel. It's tough, I know. But I'm not willing to sacrifice my health, my family, and my sanity. What about you?
Joanne Black is America’s leading authority on referral selling—the only business-development strategy proven to convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and author of NO MORE COLD CALLING™: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust and Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. To learn more, visit www.NoMoreColdCalling.com. You can also follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.
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