I am often asked where I am. In fact it one of the most common questions I get. Where are you today? Which country are you in? When were you last home? As a question it is not surprising really – it’s more a consequence of working for a global company with multiple sites and partners in multiple countries.
But I always appreciate it when anyone takes time to ask me any of these questions. Anyone who cares enough to ask about me – or is interested enough to care – is good to talk to and better to know. The same logic applies if anyone wonders if I travel too much…or not; work too hard…or not; do the right thing…or not. It is all good for me. It feels good to know that people care enough about me to think, ask or suggest.
Of course I like it most when I can answer that I am in the UK or at home. It is always good to be at home. Even if I have to preface my answer with those dreaded words ‘…well I flew back over night, but’. It is good to have a home-base.
One of my best friends at work recently pointed out to me that the only time they really know where I am is when I am in the same room as they are. Technology helps here of course. I can send emails and make phone calls from anywhere there is a cell signal or Wi-Fi network. And with my smart phone I always appear to be calling from the same place whether I am in USA, China or UK.
That having been said, it is often that the real benefit – the added value – from being on Site rather than in a hotel room, or an airport, or even at home are those impromptu interactions we can experience. Occasionally colleagues find each other on a table or at a computer or just sitting alone…and then just talk. In person…in real time….in real life!
I had one such interaction last week. I was sat there alone thinking people and schedule; budgets and investments; risks and opportunity; travel and visitors – whilst also keeping an eye on the sport and messaging my children – when my one of my favourite global colleague arrived…and promptly said hello and sat down next to me.
Not that I needed any encouragement, but we were soon in deep conversations about people and projects; this year end and next year start; retention and recruitment; people; investments and impact (budgets only came up when I bought the drinks).
Our discussion rapidly moved to centre on people – people we had both worked with (who all seem to be doing very well). People we have both met, and people we are both working with today. I think a great deal about people and teams and interactions and motivations…so I felt I knew a lot about our topics of discussion. I was informed…I was ready.
Did I know this individual’s passion? What did I see as the driver for the dynamics of this team? Could I explain these actions and reactions? No. I was flummoxed. I had no idea.
I sat and I listened and I learned. Different observations based on different experiences and different viewpoints. Priceless interpretations.
I was less thirsty by the end of our discussion but so much more informed, and aware and engaged and excited. And empowered and ready. I never cease to be amazed at how much opportunity we have to learn from each other and our experiences.
In person and in contact…in sight insights…