The economic malaise has mostly put the kibosh on travelling for work, a boon for many because most of us aren’t fond of business travel. But I keep hearing that business travel is on the upswing. We should all be prepared to accept the challenge of a business trip as a great chance to grow.
I remember the first trip that I took for work, thinking back now the expense must have been hefty – 3 of us travelled from the office in the Midwest to Pittsburgh for a same day meeting, with the sales fellow flying in from his home office on the east coast to meet us, and then on to the customer’s office together.
This meeting was with a large customer, one that had the potential for increased business so the face to face meeting made sense from a big picture perspective. Each operational discipline was represented and I now understand that the objective was to build rapport and make a strong showing to this customer that they were an important account for our company.
At the time, I had just taken over this account from another rep, I didn’t know the right questions to ask therefore I didn’t know the reason for the meeting, the objectives, or much of anything else. I went in pretty blind, but trusting that I was one part of a strong group.
It was true that I was an unseasoned member of a very seasoned team – each member of this team would later become an ally, a mentor, in some manner a guide to me as I learned more about the corporate world. This was my opportunity to see each of them up close and in a different setting.
I’m not sure that I contributed much more than another body in our show of force, but I learned. I showed a willingness to go beyond my comfort zone that became a building block going forward. Based on this experience, I would say to jump on a chance to travel for work.
- Accept the challenge if it is offered – get a sturdy understanding of the expectations, though
- Change your filter, but don’t lose it – people have slightly looser rules outside the office, but there are still rules and you will see them back in the office
- Be a sponge while on the outing – look at dynamics and process – but store some questions for later
I admire folks that travel all the time for work, I think that I would find regular travel wearying – and would have need to leave myself a note on the night stand telling myself where I was in case I woke up disoriented.
© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations