I’ve had some time while driving long hours to reflect and think about how things have been going, and take some lessons from some of the experiences. Here’s three which are just as applicable to managing teams and achieving business success.
1. Credit where credit is due
My 9-year-old son Ollie is a sponge. He’s been watching and taking in all the differences he sees on the trip. From obvious ones like driving on the opposite side of the road to the size of the garbage bins and how the walk signs count down your walk across the road. But the thing I love most is his little phrase “Mum, America got that one right”. Included in the list are hot chocolates, stacking vegetables in the supermarket and fountain free drink refills.
It’s important to open your eyes to what others do well and give credit where credit is due.
2. Technology gives but it also takes away
The beast of a car we’d hired, an Infinity GX80 felt like a truck to drive but luckily came with an awesome GPS nav system. It meant that while travelling from San Francisco to Yosemite and then down the coast to LA I could just type in the location and leave it all in the hands of the GPS.
The only problem. As I tried to recall where we had travelled I had no idea. When looking back at a map trying to find town names for the big horticulture centres we’d travelled through, I literally had no idea. I got my outcome - the destination but I missed out on being connected to the journey and all the value that holds.
In business we automate many things — but we must not forget the value in being connected in a physically present hands on way to the processes and people.
3. It’s ok to shift the goal
One of my big goals for this trip was to visit a part of the USA I had not been to before. This was Yosemite, where I really wanted to visit the giant sequoia trees in the Mariposa Grove which are some of the world’s most ancient trees living more than 3,000 years. Because I had GPS and didn’t really take in the details of the journey (see tip 2) we didn’t leave for the groves till late in the day. By the time we made it the sun was about to disappear and I knew it would be a nightmare trying to drive back on those roads in the dark. A decision needed to be made. Go as quickly as we could into the grove to see the trees or turn around right away and start making our way safely back. I was so close to seeing the trees ... but there were five of us to think about. We arrived back at our lodge just as the last of the light went. The goal to see the trees was quickly replaced by the goals of a safe return. Hopefully I’ll get back there one day.
In business you always need to be taking the latest information into account remaining flexible, risk assessing and shifting the course as needed.
We’re all looking forward to the next half of the trip finishing our time here in the mid-west then onto the east coast to take in Baltimore, Washington DC and New York.
There’s sure to be plenty more lessons and adventure and I’ll enjoy sharing them with you when I get back. Sue Hardman.