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Edition 168 – Washington

Two weeks ago, as the Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom in the Northern Spring, I was in Washington DC attending Alan Weiss’ Fifth Annual Million Dollar Consulting Convention.

I joined colleagues from 10 countries as we spent three days learning, growing and challenging ourselves to think differently. For me, there is no better way to develop professionally and personally, anywhere.

Here’s some of my key takeaways from the US capital:

  1. In business, focus on what you want to be, not want you want to do.
  2. If you’re not enjoying the type of work you’re doing in your business, move it on.
  3. Stop trying to not lose the business – focus on trying to win the business.
  4. When you’re looking to change part of your business model, if you’re not scared, it’s not worth it.
  5. First thing in the morning, don’t open your emails. Instead, focus that time on doing work that is project based or creative. It’s the time of the day when your brain is at it’s highest ability to function.
  6. Be fearless – stop caring what others think and take positive learning from setbacks.
  7. Generosity is not an act – it is an attitude.
  8. There are 3 types of feedback – positive; negative that you agree with; and, negative that you don’t agree with.
  9. Eat the dessert first – you don’t know when life is going to take an almighty turn.
  10. When your values are clear, your decision making is easy.
  11. In many businesses, shared experiences create emotion – which informalises organisational relationships. This can then strengthen the formal organisational relationships with greater understanding.
  12. Many businesses fail because they’re good at what they do….but fail to see change coming. Kodak and Nokia are great examples.
  13. Listen to our partners, they’re the people that know us best – particularly in family businesses.
  14. You can’t chase two hares – if you can’t easily list your strategic priorities in business, you have too many.
  15. Be appreciative of where you’re at, everyday, personally and in business – and not lament where you were aiming to be (given most of us reflect on how far there is to go, not how far we’ve come).

Spending time away from your business, learning, reflecting and clearing the head, is incredibly valuable for you as an individual and for your business.

Pushing yourself by doing it outside of Australia, and outside your area of discipline, empowers you to have incredible conversations with other individuals whose patch is completely different, but their yearning for learning is equally as powerful as yours.

To do that with my colleagues from the USA, Canada, Ireland, Spain and the UK amongst other nations is enriching in terms of:

  1. What you find out.
  2. What we, as Australians, take for granted.
  3. What we need to think about for our own future, through what others may already be experiencing.

Travel somewhere new and meet someone new to learn something new – it’s an incredible way to learn, and to teach.