What I Learned Driving Across Country (West)
This summer I embarked on a crazy road trip adventure. I left New York headed to Los Angeles (solo) where I’m living for the summer, before turning around and driving back home; this time with my family in the car.
Along the 3,900 mile journey (I took the long way, through Austin) I had a lot of time on my hands to reflect; here are the top lessons learned, applicable to business, while driving west:
1) Undivided Attention is Key
OK, sure – you could say I was driving and talking, but when you’re on long stretches of roads with no cars anywhere (hello Route 10), it was the perfect time to have 1-on-1 calls with clients and staff. Too often in meetings I’m constantly interrupted by incoming emails or other distractions; rarely do we unplug entirely and devote 100% attention to person on the phone. I did some of my best thinking and provided the best counsel/advice when all attention was on the person I was talking to, and I vowed to myself I will do more of this more often when I’m back at my desk.
2) Face Time > FaceTime
I’m very fortunate to work for a company with multiple offices; plotting the drive where offices are stay-overs turned out to be a great decision. I spent quality time with my team and “pop in” visits with extended teams who have nothing to do with my business. I learned about things they were working on, immediately saw how their thinking could be applied to my line of business. Too often we’re caught up in our own worlds; going outside our comfort zone can result in great new POVs and incremental business.
I’ve done this x-country drive before (4 times, actually) and even the best plans require a change when opportunity strikes. In my case,opportunity to meet a new business prospect was a 200 mile detour, which was not only a scenic drive, but could result in more business. In this example, I literally drove the extra mile, but it reminded me that going the extra mile for current clients is what it’s all about in a service industry. With nothing but asphault ahead of me, I pushed myself for new ideas that no one else is thinking about and looking at things from a totally different POV. Back at my desk now, I keep asking: what more can be done to go that extra mile?
The journey back to the east coast begins in a couple of short weeks, with the wife and the kids in the car together. I can’t wait to learn what my family teaches me along the 3,500 miles home; it may prove inspirational for part 2 of this post.