Those who have traveled will understand that it provides much more than an escape from daily routine. Roman philosopher Seneca said “travel and change of place can impart vigor to the mind” and how right he was, and continues to be.
Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures is a full believer in the value created by travel both personally and professionally, to the extent that he lets his employees travel for free. An article by Lisa Evans on Fast Company highlights the wisdom gleaned by Tip through his globe-hopping, and in particular the profound effect it has had on his company’s operations and his leadership style.
He recalls a trip to Tibet that taught him about decision-making based on spirituality, obstacles and karma, which influenced his approach to decision-making in business. Instead of relying on data like he always had, he started making decisions based on his gut instinct, recognizing that a big part of business is emotional. Big decisions with heart; little ones with head.
Tip talks about his appreciation of diversity that is stimulated through travel, by opening his eyes and mind to different ways of doing things. This attitude is reflected in his workplace, where he employs people who have a variety of skills and talents as a way to encourage different ways of thinking and spark new ideas. Related to this is the idea that travel inspires innovation. It helps you think beyond the walls of your office, particularly if you want to create a truly global brand.
One of the key lessons that Tip brings to his business from his travels is the idea that good leadership is about creating a community and building a collective of hearts and minds. I like it – the job of leaders isn’t just to lead, but to create leaders. Empower the people who are interacting most intimately with your customers and who understand your business first-hand.
Finally, Tip talks about pushing beyond your comfort zone, and the way in which travel can act as a catalyst for this. Raise the ante. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, because this is where the magic happens.
All this for the price of an adventure, and at the end of it, you’ll have a great story to tell.