The Art of the Heart-to-Heart

Guy Kawasaki is considered to be one of the world’s foremost business experts. The chief evangelist at Canva, Kawasaki has written 13 books, several of which — like The Art of the Start — are modern manuals for the way the world does business today.

But for all his experience in providing guidance to global brands and budding entrepreneurs, there’s something that Kawasaki thinks is holding American business leaders back: empty messages.

“The most important thing managers can do is to take time off themselves,” Kawasaki advises. “Management not taking time off — but telling employees that they should — just doesn’t work.”

Not only have American workers been taking less and less vacation over the past fifteen years, but 80 percent of employees said if they felt supported and encouraged by their boss, they would be likely to take more time off.


Kawasaki, who will be speaking at this year’s Upside of Downtime Forum on October 5 in Washington, D.C., believes that the best way to fix this is for managers to communicate better. He notes that while the American startup mentality is all about energy, working hard isn’t always working smart — and often creates a challenge of people trying to make time to take time.

But that doesn’t have to be the case, even in today’s always-on work environment.

“Lots of time people confuse working long with working hard,” explained Kawasaki, who has worked in Silicon Valley for decades. “This doesn’t mean there aren’t stretches of long days, but when every day is a long day to show your peers that ‘you’re working hard,’ you’re heading for a downward spiral.”

This phenomenon is especially true among Millennial workers. Recent Project: Time Off research shows that while younger workers are willing to go above and beyond, they feel guilty about taking vacation or are too connected to their inboxes to reap the benefits of time off.

For businesses, Kawasaki advises, offering productive time off benefits isn’t just a matter of routine — it’s vital to convening a talented staff.

“You have to do what you have to do to compete for talent,” Kawasaki states.

But a well-considered time off policy combined with active communication from company leadership isn’t just about convincing the right people to join your team. According to Kawasaki, this open dialogue with happy, fully-charged employees is a key driver of long-term organizational success.

"The most important thing to remember, and it’s difficult for me too, is that a company is a marathon, not a sprint,” he says. “You cannot sprint the whole way through a marathon."

Want to hear more from Guy? He’ll be joining several experts in speaking at this year’s Upside of Downtime Forum on October 5 in Washington, D.C. Register today!


September 7, 2016