Having a Leader on Sabbatical

What It Was Like for the Rest of Us

Chris wrote a couple of months ago about his approaching plans to take time off for a six-week sabbatical. Well, six weeks have elapsed and Chris has returned. We are thrilled to have him back. I am sure he will share his thoughts on what it was like to take a step back for that amount of time, but I wanted to share what it was like to have a business partner take an extended break.

What Did We Learn?

How Capable We Are

Most owners have areas of their business that they are particularly protective of. For Chris, one of those is our branding and the design of things like t-shirts and the like; we needed to prove to ourselves that we were more than capable to undertake this in Chris’s absence. With that in mind, I thought it was tremendously important for us to create and push forward a design for a new piece of apparel for our team while Chris was away. We accomplished this and he didn’t immediately cancel our order when he returned. In fact, I think he liked what we had come up with.

The Prep Was Worth It

We took about six months to prepare for Chris’s sabbatical and laid out loose deadlines for what we wanted to accomplish by the time the months counted down. We delegated responsibilities, gave extra people access to accounts that only Chris owned, and let our clients know far ahead of time so they were prepared for his absence. All of this extended prep proved to be worth it when Chris departed and things ran smoothly. I would not recommend trying to plan a leave like this on a shorter timetable.

How Valuable Time Away Can Be

The personal value of Chris’s sabbatical is his story to tell, but suffice it to say, we are all looking back at this time as a period that was extremely valuable. With that in mind, we have formalized and announced a sabbatical program for our entire team that they can begin to take advantage of after seven years at Chromatic. We are proud to be able to offer this perk to our team and excited to see what kind of impact it makes to those team members who have been so integral to the success of Chromatic.

Nothing Exploded

Nothing blew up. Seriously. We proved to Chris, and ourselves that while his input is hugely valued, it is not a blocker for us to accomplish what we set out to do. Whether it was design approvals, pull request reviews, nurturing new business leads, or preparing to roll out big, new programs for our internal team, we were able to push them all forward. I hope and believe that through this process we are all better off and ready to tackle our responsibilities with renewed enthusiasm and the knowledge that there is no member of our team who is a single point of failure.

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