Author Sean Marszalek is co-founder, President and CEO of SDC Nutrition, Inc, whose flagship brand About Time is one of the fastest growing all-natural nutrition brands in the U.S.
Business trips have become standard operating procedure for most executives in today's economy -- myself included. Although it may seem difficult to manage a team from 36,000 feet in the air, with the right mindset and preparation it will be like you never left the office. But before you can start managing your team from a 777, it's important to manage the stress that comes along with business travel.
Expect the Unexpected
Not many people can claim they've had a perfect business trip. Something always seems to go wrong. Instead of getting upset about a delayed flight, look at it as an opportunity to catch up on work and prepare even more for your trip. Almost every airport has charging stations for your electronics, and some even have dedicated areas with workstations. I also recommend spending the money for a credit card that gives you access to airport club lounges, as they make a huge difference in your travel experience.
Take Care of Yourself
You won't be able to manage a team, let alone accomplish what you need to on a business trip, if you are dehydrated, hungry and tired. Remember to drink plenty of water before and during a flight. Being in a dry airplane for hours at a time is not great for your body. Neither is most airplane food. Keep a water bottle and bring healthy snacks such as nuts, nutrition bars and fruit. Most of all I have learned to take travel days when flying overseas. The days of flying 10 hours overnight and rushing to a meeting when I land are over.
Unplug for a Bit
Use some of your time on the plane to disconnect. There is no way for you to be taking business calls on the plane, so don't worry about it. Put your phone aside and take the few hours you have on your flight to watch a movie, read a magazine, or catch up on sleep.
Once you have prepared for your flight and taken care of yourself throughout your travels, you can focus on what needs to be done back at the office. It may seem difficult to manage and lead a team from another country, but with adequate preparation and confidence in your employees it will be a breeze.
Trust Your Team
It will make traveling for your job much easier if you are confident in your team at home. Take the time to build a team that trusts you as their leader and believes in your vision. These are your employees; you should already trust them to execute on their tasks. With the right group of hardworking people you will be able to trust them to manage the business while you're away.
Communication Is Key
It is your job to communicate clearly with your team what needs to be done while you're traveling. By clearly expressing project goals, your team will know what is expected of them whether or not you're in the office. Also, being accessible and communicating with your team while you're traveling will help build trust as well as excitement. My team loves hearing about all the opportunities in the pipeline in our international markets.
Have Eyes on the Ground
Make sure there's a clear person in command for each department, people who are the go-to figures for the rest of your team. These people will report to you and provide updates on what is happening in the office. They can also be a resource for your team, and should be the people they go to before contacting you when you're away. You have to trust the leaders that you have brought into your organization.
Traveling for work might not seem enjoyable, but if you take care of yourself and prepare your team it can actually be a wonderful experience. Trust your employees and communicate efficiently so you can sit back and enjoy your flight.