As of this writing, I have been home in the Camden Maine office just three of the first 20 weeks in 2010. During my various road trips this year, I have made 56 flights, spent 75 nights in hotel rooms in three countries, and the good lord only know how many hours I have wasted waiting at airport gates.
Why? I have been asking myself this question a lot lately myself.
The answer for me is that in spite of the tremendous advances in digital communication that have been made in the past few decades, there is nothing that can take the place of face to face human communication. Malcom Galdwell has a fascinating segment in his book "Blink" that describes how attuned human beings are to reading each other's faces. Our faces communicate our emotions most clearly. If you really want to get a sense of how your message is being received, you must be able to see the face of the person you are talking to. This level of communication is critical to building personal relationships. And guess what - business is totally driven by personal relationships.
People do business with people that they know, like, and trust. I know of no better way to build trust with another person than to spend time with them in their own environment. Anthony Bourdaine likes to say that the best way to build understanding is to share a meal with someone. I can't disagree. And understanding is critical to any relationship - business or otherwise. If we want to deliver truly compelling solutions for our customers, then we must clearly understand their problems from their own perspective.
We are inspired by the opportunity to deliver compelling solutions for our customers at PenBay Solutions. Our quest for the understanding and personal relationships that make this possible will continue to drive us to spend time with our customers in their own environments.
Maybe I'll see you at the airport?