My view right now is stunning.
The northern end of Lake Champlain is calm, like a dark blue blanket, interrupted only when a blue heron gracefully floats by. Green leaves on a maple tree near the front porch cling to strong, sturdy branches as a breeze gently swirls by. My cup of coffee is hot and the MacBook Air is in an unfamiliar position of having just one window open…the one I’m writing in.
I’m on vacation. And I rarely get this kind of quiet time to focus on writing.
Hang around a bunch of sales reps and managers for a while and it’s very common to hear people complain (brag) about how few vacation days they’ve used, how little they sleep they get each night and how hard they grid or hustle.
I value hard work as much as the next guy, and have participated in more than my share of these conversations over the years, but it is so stupid. In the wake of this careless bravado is often a family that gets neglected, health that is lost and, ironically, performance that suffers.
[Side note: A great article here about how taking time off actually boosts productivity.]
And if representatives on your sales team talk or behave this way…it’s YOUR fault.
As the leader of your sales district, you carry the honor, privilege and burden of setting a cultural tone that will impact the lives of the people you serve and your business on a very deep level.
And I’ll argue (…feel free to actually argue with me in the comments section) that there is ALWAYS time to take vacation if you make it a priority and set up your work life appropriately.
Unleashing the Secret Weapon
Here are just a few ways you can consider unleashing the secret weapon of vacation with your sales team:
- Take Vacation Yourself: Nothing is a better teacher than example. Make sure that you are using your time off. This makes it clear to your team how much you value vacation.
- Share Your Plans: Instead of sending a corporate jargon-filled and generic “I will be on vacation next week” note to your team, share a summary of what you’re doing to show how excited you are. Include links to articles or pictures…make it fun.
- Set expectations: Make sure your district business documents/meetings include not just the expectation that folks will adhere to policy, but they they’ll actually use the time they get during the year. Explain why.
- Make it an achievement: Maybe instead of using your vacation tracker as just an HR tool that ensures that folks don’t “go over” their allotted time off – use it as a countdown to celebrate when folks hit the target. If you’re an Excel wiz, make the “days left” column red when people haven’t used many days and have it move to green the more days that are used.
- Include in the business plan: Include vacation time as part of the business planning process. Help team members set goals for when they’ll take vacation and assist with planning around important business events and seasons. This shows not only your support for vacation time, but helps sales reps feel confident in making plans.
So, what do you think?
Are you a card-carrying member of the Hustle or Die club or a proud vacation taker? Leave a comment below!
What are some ways that you set a culture for time off with your sales team?
Until next time…back to my coffee,