When I was in college one of my favorite things to do was to take a road trip. It didn’t matter where I was going, all I needed was to hear one of my buddies say, “Road trip” and I was in the car. Road trips were oftentimes more educational than the classroom.
As a leader it is vital that you continue to be a learner. There is no excuse if you allow your leadership to atrophy. And there is no shortage of ways to sharpen your leadership skills. Books, podcasts, articles, blogs, and conferences all make the list of ways to learn.
However, one way often gets overlooked. The road trip. A road trip is when you find another leader who is a little bit ahead of you, in a similar organization or role, and you go sit down for a face to face session on their turf. Like minded leaders can be a huge boost to your leadership.
A guy I work with practiced this just last week. He took his whole department to another organization in our area that is similar to ours and met with their department. He told me that this was invaluable. He found that they had similar struggles, challenges, and concerns. Each member of his team picked up a couple of ideas that will translate to our culture.
Who do you know that you could meet with in the next 30 days that could help you sharpen your leadership skills? Identify someone and make the call.
Any time you take a road trip show up prepared. Make yourself a list of questions that you want to ask the leader. Glean insights in their facility or offices. Look for ideas in the way they do publicity and marketing.
Road Trip Questions to ask:
1. What is the best thing in your organization right now?
2. What is your favorite thing about your role?
3. How do you organize your schedule and manage your time to be most effective?
4. How do you have your team organized?
5. What are you currently reading?
6. What have been the 3 most important factors in your success as a leader?
7. How are you dealing with the current economic situation?
8. What is your biggest challenge in the coming year?
The list of questions can be much longer depending on the amount of time they have to give you. You will find that as the leader begins to talk you will begin to process through your grid and you will gain important insights.
Allow your preconceptions to be challenged. Take notes. Ask more questions. And make sure you identify 3 takeaways from your road trip and then implement them within the first week.
Is it time for a fresh perspective on your leadership situation? A road trip is your answer.