Friday, October 5, 2007

The Road Warrior

The other I arrived in Rome after basically 2 weeks not being at home and having been with my same suitcase for 14 days touring Europe. There was a moment of frustration and questioning about is it really worth it. In fact one of the questions that many of my clients ask me (after calling me a road warrior and “admiring” the amount of things you can find on my traveling backpack or rolling briefcase) is if I ever grow tired of all this traveling
I have to say that in general and even with all the level of discomfort that air-traveling puts today on you (nothing to compare with the lovely high speed train rides that we take these days to Zaragoza), I really like traveling and even flying. The funny thing is that once you become the ones that always travel (and obviously my role and lack of supporting cast of the commercial and business development activities force you to) everyone thinks and takes for granted that “Cristobal just loves to fly and travel”
There are clear problems derived from my heavy traveling schedule, it gets very difficult to have a balance with your physical activity (in fact this year I have had to give up playing basketball in my team, at least until the second half of the season because it was impossible to manage a regular attendance to trainings), it makes very difficult to have an ongoing relationship within the management team (in fact I do schedule partners meetings formally in order to ensure that at least once every 2 weeks we spend time together, it makes difficult to put full concentration on activities for a long period of time as you are moving and obviously it creates issues with your partner as time together is scarce (and both of you want more time together once way or another) and it is really not a temporal thing (in fact I just realize all the time lately that I should still have time to e.g. be in Belgrade, Istanbul or Dubai for the past 3 weeks)
But yes a like it. I love my time at planes where I really can have time for myself to read, write my blog or think about strategies. I love the feeling of jumping from country to another and adapt your style to keep influencing decisions or them buying your ideas and products (both from clients, stakeholders, etc….). I love the feeling of discovering new restaurants and hotels in different cities. The opportunity to make you understood, looking at the window in different cities or trying to understand what people think in different parts of the world
So what I am doing to ease the frustrations that come with this activity. Clearly I need to recruit one or two people that can help me and once we would have been doing things together for a while they would be able to take over some client relationships. We need to nurture our managers to be the trusted advisors and become more independent from our figure. And I do travel with a number of perks that I did not before. I tried to leave earlier to the airport so I can enjoy a massage or to have lunch at the airport and not to have to run. I tried to get to the hotel first and go to the gym or take a shower before getting into activity mood and I keep creating more space for me. And obviously I need to keep focusing on they key activities I need to do while delegating others (and this in a startup in which everything is believe to be urgent and key is always a tough challenge)

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