Holidays That Work

By york, peter | Management Today, June 2001 | Go to article overview

Holidays That Work


york, peter, Management Today


Real holidays are pointless from the management trajectory point of view.

It is, for instance, a bad idea to get away from it all unless you're a) getting away with a gang of very high pedigree and b) going to somewhere very singular -- a global billionaire's log cabin. But sun and sand, places where you might meet divisional managers from Hartlepool, all these represent dead space and galloping opportunity-cost.

The point of a holiday is to extend your networking, subtly amaze key people in the business and dummy-run the better life. Why go to a place that's nastier than your own to meet people you wouldn't dream of inviting to supper?

There's no limit to the wonderful things you can do with a holiday. Remember, the possibilities for participant observation, or market research, are endless. Remember how many interesting lives you can try on for size if you go somewhere important, somewhere the Masters of the Universe gather. Remember, there's always a pretext to check out the posting you want - the New York office or the Milan one.

And, above all, remember that your holiday can be turned into a corporate event. Get the guys - the really senior ones together round one of those boy-thing enthusiasms (that way the senior women will demand to come too). Think sailing, think fishing. As long as you organise in advance you'll be astonished how many key people fall in. It's a problem solved for them; a holiday away from the family with an alibi.

Or just turn one of those enthusiasms into a trip for a select group of really senior clients -- that way the business pays. Or get the company to sponsor you for something highly visible -- sailing round New Zealand, say -- with a charitable or worthy component and a lot of exposure in-house.

If you're going somewhere recently war-torn and you take tolerable pictures, get a photographer friend to make the selection, advise on the cropping and framing and offer them for the headquarters lobby. Then perhaps a drinks party to raise money for the poor of whichever former Socialist Republic it was.

In The Sloane Ranger Handbook, Ann Barr and I defined a really senior sloane as a girl who usually stayed at the British Embassy whenever she went anywhere that mattered. …

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