Koskie Disagrees with Health Authority Chair

Executives entrusted with significant responsibility should be able to organize their time well enough to take vacations.

An August 13, 2010, Saskatoon Star Phoenix article entitled “
Vacation pay boosts health CEO incomes,” quotes Saskatoon Regional Health Authority Chair Jim Rhode as saying “It’s always great to see an employee that is concerned about their job more than they are about their vacation in terms of being there enough to get the things done.”

When reading Mr. Rhode’s statement, I was reminded of the following comments by Lee Iacocca in
Iacocca, An Autobiography:

“I am constantly amazed by the number of people who can’t seem to control their own schedules. Over the years, I’ve had many executives come to me and say with pride: ‘Boy, last year I worked so hard that I didn’t take any vacation.’ It’s actually nothing to be proud of. I always feel like responding: ‘You dummy. You mean to tell me that you can take responsibility for an $80 million project and you can’t plan two weeks out of the year to go off with your family and have some fun.”

Such an instance made Iacocca not only concerned about the executive’s organizational capacity, but his or her “ability to determine what’s important and then give it all you’ve got.”

Iacocca did not support the practice in Chrysler, nor should Mr. Rhode. Again, in the words of Iacocca: “. . . when the leader talks, people listen. And when the leader acts, people watch. So, you have to be careful about everything you say and everything you do.”