Today we're going to talk about how you can use a digital detox as a tool for leaders to check the temperature of their team culture. So we're all probably familiar with this term digital detox. We think of it as a work life balance. We think of it as four days when we turn off our phone and only spend time with our loved ones. Read books we want to read, we hang out.
I just got back from mine yesterday. The thing that's interesting, and that I got reminded of when I just went on digital detox is that it's more than just work life balance. It's more than just taking a vacation. It is an important tool for leaders. Sometimes more, we realize, let me tell you what I mean. So this vacation that I just took, it really reminded me of my time in the military, and not in the way that you're thinking. In the military, when you are deployed to a war zone, you're gone for a whole year. It is the exact opposite of work life balance. You are working 12 hour shifts nonstop day in and day out. And you're working a pretty important job no matter what level you're at. Because of this, the military has decided that everyone will take two weeks off, everyone.
The Commanding General of all the Armed Forces will take two weeks off. Because of the nature of the work that we did all communications are either on classified systems or on very secure regular systems. So when you are home on vacation for two weeks you did not work. You couldn't, it didn't matter how much you wanted to. You are 100% cut off from everything going on back there for two weeks. So if you think about it, it's a very interesting concept. The interesting thing that happens when a leader especially as senior level leader is forced to take two weeks off of work. Is it reinforces the notion that nobody is irreplaceable, and nobody should be a single point of failure at that organization.
So many times as leaders, we forget that concept. We start to think we take so much on ourselves, we do so much work. We start to think that we are irreplaceable. I remember a friend that I was hanging out with in Australia while I was on vacation from Afghanistan, asking me. How does somebody at your level doing what you do able to just take two weeks off? Wait, your assistant is handling it your deputy. It was an interesting concept to explain that no, we build our system this way we build our processes this way. So that the entire time I'm doing my job, I am also teaching my second in command everything that I do. So that he is able to fill in for me when I am gone.
Even General Stanley McChrystal, one of my favorite leadership philosophers, and the man who was commanding not only all of the American Armed Forces, but all 66 countries, Armed Forces that were fighting in the coalition took two weeks off. If general Stanley McChrystal wasn't too important to take two weeks off, like pretty much nobody is, we can all do it.
As a leader, this is where the culture comes in, right? The onus is on you to make sure that none of your people are working in a silo. That nobody has all of the answers that nobody else has. That every plan and every person has a backup. By the way, just by creating those processes, that leads to more teamwork. Because people naturally want to work together and when people put their heads together on a problem, they try to solve it.
But it's also your job as a leader to make sure that everything doesn't stop with you. So often, we do a great job of taking care of our people. But we stop when it comes to herself. We think of that as caring, we're going to take it all on us. But really it's arrogant, is thinking that I am the most important person in the world, nothing works without me. If you're the leader, things have to be able to work without you. You cannot prop up the culture by yourself. When you take a few business days or a few weeks off, with no communication. It shows you what the culture is like in your workplace. Do things fall through the cracks, that means you're not delegating and teaching enough, do teams fall apart? That means the team itself is not as strong as you think it is. If it relies on the constant presence of one person to hold it together.
That means those values that purpose, the complete structure of your culture plan that I know you have, because you're a good business leader, right is not as meaningful to the individual as it is to you, and maybe others on your team. Those are all things that are your job as a leader. Don't worry, there are ways that you can do short, temporary detox challenges.
You can incorporate some of this balance that you find back into your life. So take the digital detox challenge today. Let's face it if you're a consultant, a small business owner or any of the other non traditional workers that are becoming more and more popular today. Most of us here at cavnessHR are. You need to do that. You didn't go to work for yourself to work 24 seven, you did it to have more control over your life, design the life you want. So take it back, test your people, test your processes and challenge your thinking. Most of all, go on a beach vacation somewhere, relax, enjoy and watch your culture working without you and be proud or figure out the things you need to fit. Never forget. Culture is one of the strongest resources that you have at your disposal. Much like your human technological and financial resources. Of course, you shouldn't ignore it. Learn to harness it and go forth and be great today.
Below is a link to help you with your Digital Detox.