In the Trenches: Trusting Your People
I’ve written about vacations a lot on this site, and for good reason: I think taking time off is as important as anything to maintaining my sanity as an entrepreneur. Of course, getting away is easier said than done. But I took another vacation earlier this month, and this time, it was different. I could actually relax, thanks to the trust I’ve developed in my people.
My first real attempt at a vacation was a year ago, when I joined my family in Maui. That trip went well, but throughout it, I worried about the business. I tried to check email only twice a day, but I was constantly distracted, and I wasn’t able to enjoy myself fully. What a difference a year makes!
We decided to return to Maui this year, but my work situation was totally different. Last year, I had a part-time travel architect to handle bookings, but he was still pretty new. This year, he’s a full-time employee with a lot more responsibility. My office manager is also more seasoned and able to run the back office with less intervention. So, when I left this time, I was pretty confident that they could handle essential tasks in my absence. I also didn’t create a specific schedule for checking my email; I just told everyone to call or text my cell if they needed me, and I’d check email occasionally.
The result was like night and day compared with last year. I really didn’t worry about anything. I knew that if there were any problems, people would call me. And, although I responded to a few emails that weren’t time-sensitive during the course of my trip, I didn’t need to do anything urgently. So, my vacation was truly relaxing.
What I’ve come to realize is that it’s easy to find people to work for you, but it can be difficult to hire people you trust. Once you do, however, you can truly get away — and leave work behind, in their capable hands. And that is incredibly valuable for any small-business owner.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.