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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Resilience On The Road
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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Resilience On The Road - Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Resilience On The Road

Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Resilience On The Road

As we’ve discussed in the past, traveling for business is stressful largely because there are too many variables beyond our control. On our home turf, we have a lot more control over the details of our days, and when unexpected complications arise, we usually have structures in place for dealing with them. However, there is no equivalent scenario on a plane, where delays or inclement weather can throw even our best-laid plans for a loop. With the countless, unpredictable ways our good intentions can be derailed, it’s practically a given that something will go wrong, which is why, for the truly important matters in our travel, we must always have a Plan B.

Some elements of our business travel are so important that our best Plan B is pretty close to Plan A. For example, road warriors whose presentations are critical elements in their businesses have to plan for mishaps with technology. Many travel with two laptops, which is probably no surprise, but some also travel with two projectors. Since most presentations happen in small rooms, very small travel-friendly projectors are more than adequate for the task, and when a presentation absolutely has to be made, nobody wants to mess around with unfamiliar gear. It sounds excessive to anyone whose livelihoods don’t depend on a well-rehearsed presentation, but just the peace of mind a redundant set of equipment provides is worth the seeming hassle. Simply not having to worry about technology failure can be a reason for success, and the concept applies to any material items crucial for the success of your trip.

Sometimes, Plan B isn’t as much a plan as it is the ability and willingness to pivot. You can’t know when a forty-minute layover will turn into a four-hour layover, but you can be prepared to handle the situation when it arises, with as little stress or worry as possible. On the plus side, such unexpected complications can be opportunities—to connect with others, to make new acquaintances, or to try a popular burger place. On the minus side, they can require quick thinking and the ability to make the best of a bad situation. Knowing how to find alternative meeting sites, hotels, restaurants, or travel can make the difference between a good trip and a bad one. Ahead of time, load your smartphone with a few apps that can help with an on-the-fly Plan B: Uber and Lyft for transportation, Yelp for restaurant advice, Hotwire or Airbnb for accommodations, Google Maps for navigation, and Liquidspace for office or meeting space are good starters.

The underlying philosophy, whether you’re working with a well-orchestrated Plan B (such as redundant technology) or a ready-to-adjust Plan B (such as making new arrangements) is the simple attitude of controlling what you can control and not sweating what you can’t, but always being ready to roll with whatever comes your way. In situations where uncertainty plays a huge part, where it’s difficult to tell where one Plan B might be better than another, take a deep breath and set your timer for X minutes, at the end of which you will make your decision. This works especially well when you’re leading and traveling with a team: in a work-related setting, people thrive on deadlines, so setting yourself a deadline to make a decision is leadership your team will feel comfortable with. The key is to accept uncertainty as part of the game, and not to get worked up when it comes your way, because it will. And of course, once you’ve put Plan B in motion, be ready to make Plan C.

Business travel is stressful because there are too many things beyond our control in a world where we’ve earned our success by being in control, and the stress is compounded by the stakes that are usually in play. However, we can control for mishaps we might predict, and we can control how we respond to mishaps we can’t predict. Find the mental space that allows you to do both.

 

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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Resilience On The Road - Executive Leadership Articles

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