Whoooops! You know it´s that time when, during negotiations, the phone calls reach their limits and the emails become shorter. Yup, its time to pack the contract in a briefcase and step through the boarding gate.
Business travel is not just about getting a signature, moving a supplier along or checking out a potential client. On a recent trip to Switzerland, I realized that it´s time away from the "normal´ when the unexpected gives a fresh perspective on old problems. I realized this in an attic on the top floor of an old house in Geneva, up which my business associate had led me puffing and panting along endless flights of stairs. Annoyed, hot and bothered, I turned to question him, when looking around I closed my mouth instantly. For filling most of the attic was, well, Geneva – a model of the city complete with individual houses, buildings, churches, lake and ruins. Gazing down at the beautiful city, seeing roofs and spires sprinkling the streets, I had a sudden insight into a problem troubling me about one of my businesses.
Its happened before at the most unexpected of times – turning annoying and sometime downright exasperating incidents into times of revelation. Becoming lost and walking past the Eiffel Tower in Paris, I saw how one aspect of my business could soar towards the sky. Sprawled in the mud in Italy, after being jumped on by a large Saint Bernard, whose giant body felt like a small lorry on my chest, I realized that I had been carrying my incompetent accountant around like a dead weight. Waiting for a promised lift at an airport in Colorado, when I was finally picked up by a limousine, I felt a surge of fresh ideas about special touches I could add to some of my services.
So instead of business trips being an unwelcome and tedious time away from the office, they become opportunities for fresh perspectives. A little time away, in a world that offers the unexpected, could be just what´s needed.