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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Traveling With A Team
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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Traveling With A Team - Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Traveling With A Team

Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Traveling With A Team

Going on a business trip with colleagues is a lot like those group projects your college professors assigned for no apparent reason: there’s a chance everyone’s working styles will click perfectly, resulting in a positive experience and top marks for all. More likely, differing styles and priorities mean stress, bad feelings, and sometimes substandard work. Too much consensus-seeking can mean maddeningly slow, inefficient decision-making; not enough, and someone is seen as the control freak in the group. Add to that the unique quirks traveling provides, and it seems a miracle when groups come back with the same number they left with.

The work part of a group business trip can be the easiest part to deal with. If roles are well-defined at the office, there’s no reason they can’t be well-defined on the road as well. Be careful with issues related to authority and politics, as they can be magnified in travel, although many people experience the best down-to-business attitudes and responses when teams are presented with the challenges of working with each other while on the road. It’s as if in these high-stakes situations, personal issues are put aside for the sake of the firm. Whatever your group’s tendencies, make sure roles and expectations are defined clearly.

The downtime can be the real challenge. Travel is stressful. If traveler A is stressed about his five things, and traveler B is stressed about her five things, they aren’t going to deal only with ten total stressors. Rather, traveler A’s stresses will be affected by traveler B’s stresses, and vice-versa, so that ten original stressors become twelve or fifteen, which multiply even further when travelers C and D are added to the mix. In order to allow each to deal with his or her own issues, leave downtime completely up to the individuals, delineating required group time as separate from downtime. Encourage team members to include one another in each other’s plans, but emphasize the importance of each contributor taking time for him- or herself as needed.

When mishaps occur—and they always do when you’re traveling as a working team—be prepared to respond decisively and quickly, and if you can foster a working environment where mishaps are met with problem solving rather than blame-assigning, you may return to the home office with that most blessed of rarities: the team-bonding story. “Remember that time all the bags went to Tahiti but we went to Des Moines?” Of course they do, because everyone rallied, pooled resources, and executed a Plan B worthy of legend.

Traveling with a group can be like bringing the entire office home with you for a few days, something nobody looks forward to, but it doesn’t have to be the headache it first sounds like. As in all group projects, preparation is everything, and responding to the unforeseen is everything else.

 

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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Traveling With A Team - Executive Leadership Articles

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