Travel is Back. But Perhaps Not as You Know It.
Last week took me from the Silicon Prairie to the beautiful beaches of Sarasota. It was a collection of firsts. This was the first face to face team meeting since I joined Care Bridge International as our Chief Innovation Officer. It was the first flight I have taken in over a year. It was also the first time I had been away from my son, Griffin, born on October 28th, 2020. In many respects, whilst this was a step back into what used to be incredibly familiar territory, it felt now more like a step into the unknown. With my bags packed, I set off for my 6am flight out of Omaha, Nebraska. Masks and hand sanitizer at the ready, this would turn out to be a trip that started full of trepidation and ended with a keen sense of optimism for what is to come. As I mentioned, this was our first in-person team meeting in over a year. People flew in from across the US, with the rest of the group local to Florida. Suitably, given the circumstances, meetings were taken on the beach and in the local restaurants, making the most of the sunshine and outside dining.
It was a wonderful couple of days spent with the team and reinforced my belief that whilst we have come a long way with remote work and interaction, there isn't anything quite like being face-to-face. The serendipity and creative inspiration that comes from face-to-face interaction and conversation is difficult to replicate across the digital divide.
The ad-hoc interaction, laughter, brain-storming and general feeling of optimism, passion and camaraderie is very difficult to replicate across the digital divide.
A Time to Reflect
I wanted to take you through a journey of sorts in this post. Share some thoughts and observations that I developed over the past week. Like a lot of us, I traveled a lot in 2019. Probably more than I ever have in my career. This time around it had a newer, brighter air of efficiency around it. Putting on my Lean Six Sigma hat, it felt like a lot of the extraneous waste that had come with travel in the past, was now being eliminated and instead replaced with increasingly digitized processes, driving a newfound efficiency and frictionless customer experience that somehow felt just right.
A New Beginning
Boarding my flight in Omaha, I had already prepared myself for what was certain to be a flight unlike any other I had taken in the past. Plenty of warning signs, indicating that, yes, masks are required to board, were in plain sight for all to see. No confusion there!
On board, things were also different. Gone were the airline trolley carts of old, replaced now by a solitary plastic bag containing water, hand sanitizer and a few small snacks. Through my lean focused lens, I couldn't help but admire the efficiency of it all. Quick, easy, seamless. Minimal fuss.