I’m not advocating it – just asking you to think what the ramifications would be. Knowing how your absence would affect your company gives insight into what role you really play.
The extremes are:
Everything would go to hell in a hand basket. -OR- Not much would be noticeable at all.
If your absence would result in the first, then you are not functioning as the CEO – no matter what it says on your business card. You are performing work, not running the company. You’re selling, making product, raising cash. So when you stop, even for a short time (and a week is, in the grand scheme of things, a short time) things grind to a halt. Your company becomes a football team without a quarterback.
If a week’s absence would not be noticeable – CONGRATULATIONS! You’re functioning as the CEO (either that or you’re a bum and should get a real job). This is not to say you’re not needed. Rather that the things you’re needed to do don’t have such immediate consequences. You’re like the owner of the football team. You’re deciding if you should replace the head coach or not, working out salary allotments and future draft choices. Your work is what ultimately propels the team to a championship and then a dynasty. Even the best quarterbacks don’t have that kind of effect.
Back when Bill Gates was CEO of Microsoft, he routinely took a week off every year – until things started moving so fast he had to take two weeks off each year. He used the time to read and think about where the company was going and what new technologies were on the horizon. Here’s what he said about it:
Ours is a very fast-moving field. You have to be able to step back from it. Many years ago, I decided to take a week every year and absorb myself in thinking … ahead. I get colleagues to put together what PhD theses I should read, what products I should play with, what memos I should look at. So, it’s been, except for sleeping a little bit, day and night all by myself uninterrupted.
Of course, there are other things a CEO does besides take time off to think. And you probably can’t take a whole week. That’s because most companies of our size don’t need a full time CEO. So you play several roles – part time team owner, and part time quarterback. Not to mention sales person, delivery driver and janitor. That’s all needful and good. But the danger is you’ll not commit to putting in the amount of CEO time the company really does require because it never seems urgent enough. How much time do you take to read and think? When do you do the other things a CEO does? You can’t build a championship team, never mind a dynasty if you don’t.
[tags] Small Business, Entrepreneur, Management, How to be CEO,CEO Skills[/tags]