The BLG Blog

Posts & articles that have helped thousands build performance through pragmatic leadership.

Vacation Vocation

Humor me for a small exercise in meditational zen. As you find your center and begin deep, controlled breaths, your office surrounding dissolve away. You’re transported to a rocky Andorran precipice where a sharp breeze bites at your exposed neck. Surveying the rugged landscape, you glimpse a wild horse commuting between France and Spain across the liberated terrain. As you watch the horse lightly gallop across the horizon, you can almost feel the hypnotic rumbling in the ground as hoof contacts firm ground. The rumbling swells into a vibration that seems to spring from your core. Glancing down to your pocket you discover your implacable cell phone hissing at you like a clammy kitten. Work is calling and they need your help.

This situation may be mildly hyperbolic but unfortunately it strikes too close to home for many leaders. A vacation is for a leader what a tub of ice cream is for a South Beach Diet devotee. Vacations are agonizingly tempting escapes from the intensity of advancing an agenda, but they’re escapes that can potentially weigh down an agenda. Particularly in organizational environments constrained by uncertainty, your campaign is unlikely to take a siesta while you’re lying on a beach on Ibiza. Without your steady guidance, your coalition will crumble like last week’s coffee cake and you’ll find yourself in an uncomfortably sandy position.

So how do you combine relaxed disengagement with manic dedication to your leadership cause? I discovered one solution in the backseat of my Chevy Cobalt last month as I toured the country for a month-long road trip. With four drivers splitting driving shifts from New York to San Francisco (via Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, Wasatch Mountains, and Lake Tahoe) I found myself often twiddling my digits in a compressed corner of the car. Unfortunately, though, invading my day dreams was the realization that I had to submit 25 hours a week of research and editing to this blog’s namesake Professor Bacharach.

My epiphany arrived as I whacked my laptop keyboard somewhere between Salt Lake City and Reno on I-80 W: Vacations are inspiring. Tourists absorb constant stimuli as they travel through mountains, deserts, strip malls, and Taco Bells by train, plane, car, or Segway. While you may want to throw your Blackberry into the Grand Canyon, consider instead how you can use your Grand Canyon trip to motivate your coalition and mobilize your agenda. Ultimately, your trip to the Pacific Ocean may prove much valuable to your agenda than your trip to the water cooler.

My road trip ultimately produced pages of leadership fodder and potentially some slight carpal tunnel syndrome. It was extraordinarily productive relaxation.



About BLG

Whether you want BLG to deliver a complete leadership academy across your organization, focus on a key group, or supplement an ongoing program, the primary goal of any of our programs will be business impact.

Recent Posts


Sign up for our Newsletter