You’ve heard the old saying; travel broadens the mind. It also broadens your business mind and business too.
Last year I took a group of Hunter businesswomen on my first guided leadership tour of India. More than a fun holiday it was beneficial to their careers and businesses.
Here are five business lessons from last year’s trip.
- Take time out
I write about and coach many business people about the need to work on their business rather than just work in it. Taking an overseas trip forced some participants to do just that. The office or business ran without them or it tested what needed improving. Time differences and distance helped people to let go.
Stepping out of normal business gives you an opportunity to think. When you take time out ideas generate more freely. Overseas travel gives you a different perspective again. The principles for my book, Tough Love for Leaders, came from a previous trip I took to India.
As part of last year’s tour I did a session with guests on developing their vision and strategic plan. The results were staggering. One woman has started a business. Another has changed her career and is working in India. One has doubled the size of her business since returning. Another left her job to follow her passion of consulting.
- Take yourself out of your comfort zone
A trip to India can take you out of your comfort zone. While it is magical and beautiful it can assault every sense. The women who came on the trip soon realised it was safer and easier than they thought it would be. Getting out of their comfort zone gave them a huge sense of achievement. It also challenged them to look at whether their business was just stuck in its comfort zone. Taking risks in business can be rewarding and beneficial.
- Be grateful and enjoy things without guilt.
While I love the country I was born in, a trip to India reminds you how good we have it in Australia. We have much more than many other people but we should be grateful for that rather than feeling guilty. It is difficult to generalise but women often struggle with taking time for themselves without guilt. In India there wasn’t time or energy available for unproductive emotions. In business we need to focus on our circle of influence rather than resenting what competitors have or the challenges we face. Channel that energy into making your business better.
- Collaborate for success
A nice outcome from the trip was seeing the women become friends and work together. Two of the women are now doing some work for other tour guests. Without a push from me they have worked together back in Australia to continue to support the tour’s charity, Barefoot College.
- Do something for others
This brings me to the fifth lesson. India makes you realise that there are others less fortunate and that something little can make a big difference. Giving back to your industry or the community from which you derive your profits makes good sense. A stronger community or industry can only be better for business. We have a responsibility to help others, as we would expect to be helped if we needed it. On a personal level, you get a great deal of satisfaction from giving and I always learn something from people I help.
So, dust off those suitcases. Travel in your own neighbourhood, Australia or the world is good for business.
This year I am hosting another trip to India in November in partnership with the local travel experts at italktravel. For the first time, business men will also have the opportunity to join the tour. There are a few places remaining.