5 in 5: Imagine What You've Missed
Each month, our President and CEO Michael McMahon gives his key insights; five tips, tricks, or words of wisdom on a topic that's prevalent to the industry, his experience, or a current trend. Read this month about taking the focus off of mobile devices in order to truly be present in the moment and not let experiences pass you by.
Recently, two colleagues of mine shared experiences after returning from business travel, and both communicated similar frustrations. They expressed a shared feeling of isolation and disconnect in the midst of other professionals, blaming cellphones as the culprits. Has someone told attendees that discussing and exchanging ideas face to face will put your health in jeopardy? Probably not, but I know that I’m guilty of raising my phone to my face, from time to time, in order to avoid an encounter. It can be awkward to realize that I just checked my email 70 seconds ago. The whole activity is so far from authentic that I’m often embarrassed by my behavior.
One thing for sure is that the opportunity to travel for business is just that, an opportunity, but it is often easy to allow the busyness of things to get in the way of actually traveling for business. The pressures associated with being productive can compound when your company has ponied up to pay expenses to a conference or an event. The responsibilities on the road are often compounded by the activity you own back in the office. It can be easy to tell yourself that the travel is an annoyance.
Here at Hill & Partners, we have an internal policy to have our team provide feedback on their travels, along with the program content they experience, so that we might all learn from their insights. This particular detail regarding phone use has provided me with the push to raise our awareness about our own behavior. The need to manage the gravitational pull that these devices have on our lives will be ongoing, and it is tough to argue against the positive impact they have created. This exercise is to embrace a compelling possibility that we have missed countless opportunities simply because we didn’t lift our heads and engage in what was happening right in front of us.
When I imagine what my colleagues described, I can’t help but see myself, and my own behavior, so it’s time to regroup. Going forward:
• I’ll plan to contract with my team for the best times to check in while I’m gone, so that I can be present in what I am doing while on the road.
• Critical activity will be discussed and scheduled in advance so that we can best manage the space needed for our team to be affective while out of the office.
• In the space created by planning more deliberately, I’ll be more present in my travel and be looking for the opportunity to connect with others.
• I’ll seek out the insights and opinions from my peers whenever possible in hopes that their perspectives will enhance my ability to learn and grow.
• I’ll also adopt some questions to improve my choices. What is the best use of my time right now? How can I act in the best interest of myself, our company, and our customers?
In a perfect world, we would all be demonstrating the highest value activity at precisely the right time. However, most of the amazing things that I’ve experienced have occurred when I least expect it, and I guarantee none of them happened on my phone!