Most frequent flyers have preferences for how they like to use their “flying time.” Personally, my inclinations vary from reading, to watching movies, to playing Scrabble with my wife, to catching up on e-mail. Delta’s addition of Wi-Fi on domestic flights has certainly changed my “flying time” habits over the last few years, as well. But the one constant flight activity I’ve found to be quite beneficial is something I call “Zoom Up and Zoom Out.”
Over the years I have used the time when I “zoom up” into the air to “zoom out” for strategic thinking. During my flights, however long or short, I do three things to help me get the creative juices flowing so I can think more strategically about the future:
1. Catch up on my reading in trade publications
2. Read a good business book or article on leadership or innovation
3. Take notes on any ideas I may have in my travel journal
Reading trade publications gets me thinking about all the current trends and events occurring in my industry (travel management). A good business book or article helps me think about how I can do things better. And perhaps most importantly, my travel journal provides the opportunity to capture and record my ideas as they flow.
While many of those ideas get tossed out eventually, and while others may not be applicable or feasible at the time they are written, I’ve found that the real value of the travel journal is that I can watch the patterns and connections between my ideas over time. Sometimes ideas just need to evolve and mature, and I’ve seen how many of my thoughts, though perhaps small and independent when I write them down, become important pieces in bigger puzzle that forms over time. As you record your thoughts, they may not “work” standing alone, but together they might eventually create a viable strategy for your company.
So on your next flight, give it a try. “Zoom out” while you “zoom up.” The combination of doing those three things, in a setting without interruptions, can be very beneficial.
Mike Cameron is the President and CEO of Christopherson Business Travel, the independently owned leader in intelligent business travel management. Founded in 1953 and purchased by Mike and Camille Cameron in 1990, Christopherson, at that time, had two employees and booked $1 million in travel. Today, Christoperson ranks as the 12th largest business travel agency in the United States, operating from three full-service locations (Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California) as well as 35-client dedicated on-site locations, maintains a successful leisure travel division (Andavo Travel), employs more than 250 travel professionals, and booked $287 million in travel in 2011 for more than 900 clients across the country.