Summer for CEOs is a time to relax, reconnect and recharge

Family walking to the beach
It may be time to kick back a bit and enjoy. (Photo by Image Source/DigitalVision/Getty Images)

Summer is here and the season provides opportunity for CEOs to focus on key goals and contemplate the future. CEOs should take advantage of the season to reconnect with employees or recharge with a vacation.

Vishal Agarwal, a former managing director at General Electric, said CEOs should use this opportunity to refresh on a professional and personal level.

“Step back, take a break and think about where you are and where you want to be,” Agarwal said in an email. “You may realize that you need a career shift, to take a new risk, or to learn a new skill. Spend real time with your family. This is your season. What are you going to do with it?”

Accelerate organization’s momentum

Every CEO “should find a way to disconnect and recharge for 6 to 7 days and then ramp up for three before jumping back in full power” during the summer, said Mark Lombardi, Ph.D., president of Maryville University. “There is a period during the end of the rest and ramp-up where creativity and energy merge and you can not only move forward, but accelerate your organization’s strategic momentum. Train yourself like a runner where your second wind is more powerful and faster than your first start. In those few days, strategic clarity for the coming year is never better or clearer, and that drive should never be wasted. It must be leveraged for the organization.”

And “While away, read or do something mindless,” Lombardi said.

Sustain momentum, inspire creativity

Liz Bywater, Ph.D., president of Bywater Consulting Group, said in an email exchange that summer is a good time for CEOs to sustain business momentum while engaging employees and inspiring creativity:

  • Bring your team together for informal meetings. Pick a day and, on a regular basis, treat the team to lunch and ask each of them to come prepared with one idea they’d like to brainstorm with the group.
  • Get your one on ones back on track. With fewer meetings on the calendar and less competition for your time, it’s time to reprioritize one-on-one time with each of your team members and other key stakeholders.
  • Take reasonable risks. With the pressure dialed down and timelines a bit less harried, look for places where you and your team can take smart risks in the pursuit of progress. Find one way for each member to try something new, different, and even a bit scary.
  • Focus on priorities for the postsummer months. Identify your key goals for the months ahead, and make sure the team and your other stakeholders are clear on strategy, priorities, and execution.
  • Get out of the office. If you’re like most busy executives, you prioritize work over leisure—and that can be a mistake. Don’t miss the chance to take some time off to decompress and recharge the proverbial batteries. Do something you love, or spend time with friends and family. You’ll be a great role model to your team and peers, and a better leader all the way around.

Stay plugged in

When taking a summer vacation, Darrin Brege, creative director at HelloWorld, said in an email, “Surf the web from your beach chair. Staying plugged in even after you’ve logged off actually helps keep your ideas fresh and alive. Being online will make leveraging the inspiration and energy you receive from vacation much easier when you’re back at work.”

CEOs should also use vacations to break out of their routines. “Staycations are great, but true renewal comes from shaking up your daily routine,” Brege said. “You’ll thank yourself in the end as traveling somewhere new or taking the time to cross another item off your bucket list will make returning to that business proposal or fourth-quarter plan far less daunting.”