The way of the road warrior

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001ffirs.qxd 8/30/05 8:20 AM Page iii T H E WAY O F T H E ROAD WARRIOR Lessons in Business and Life from the Road Most Traveled ROBERT L JOLLES Foreword by F W Sanzenbacher 001ffirs.qxd 8/30/05 8:20 AM Page ii 001ffirs.qxd 8/30/05 8:20 AM Page i T H E WAY O F T H E R O A D WA R R I O R 001ffirs.qxd 8/30/05 8:20 AM Page ii 001ffirs.qxd 8/30/05 8:20 AM Page iii T H E WAY O F T H E ROAD WARRIOR Lessons in Business and Life from the Road Most Traveled ROBERT L JOLLES Foreword by F W Sanzenbacher 001ffirs.qxd 8/30/05 8:20 AM Page iv Copyright © 2006 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc All rights reserved Published by Jossey-Bass A Wiley Imprint 989 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103-1741 www.josseybass.com No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc., 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, 978-750-8400, fax 978-646-8600, or on the Web at www.copyright.com Requests to the publisher for permission should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, 201-748-6011, fax 201-748-6008, or online at http://www.wiley.com/go/permissions Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the publisher and author have used their best efforts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation You should consult with a professional where appropriate Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages Readers should be aware that Internet Web sites offered as citations and/or sources for further information may have changed or disappeared between the time this was written and when it is read Jossey-Bass books and products are available through most bookstores To contact Jossey-Bass directly call our Customer Care Department within the U.S at 800-956-7739, outside the U.S at 317-572-3986, or fax 317-572-4002 Jossey-Bass also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Jolles, Robert L., 1957The way of the road warrior : lessons in business and life from the road most traveled / by Robert L Jolles ; foreword by F.W Sanzenbacher.—1st ed p cm ISBN-13: 978-0-7879-8062-7 (alk paper) ISBN-10: 0-7879-8062-5 (alk paper) Business travel I Title G156.5.B86J65 2006 910'.2—dc22 2005023417 Printed in the United States of America FIRST EDITION HB Printing 10 002ftoc.qxd 8/31/05 8:11 AM Page v CONTENTS Foreword “The SOBs in the Metal Tube” ix by F W Sanzenbacher Retired Captain, United Airlines Preface xv CHAPTER ONE Some Days Are Better Than Others CHAPTER TWO When the Other Team Doesn’t Play Fair 21 CHAPTER THREE Deals and Dealers 43 CHAPTER FOUR Workflow: Go? Or No Go? 57 CHAPTER FIVE Danger Zones and Detours 73 CHAPTER SIX Battling Slumps and Other Emotional Traps 89 CHAPTER SEVEN “Houston, We’ve Got a Problem” 107 CHAPTER EIGHT Finding the Positives 127 CHAPTER NINE Victory Over Self 149 CHAPTER TEN The Way of Technology 165 CHAPTER ELEVEN 9/11: For George 181 v 002ftoc.qxd vi 8/31/05 8:11 AM Page vi CONTENTS CHAPTER TWELVE Overcoming the Addiction 195 CHAPTER THIRTEEN The End of My Confessions 223 Acknowledgments The Author 231 233 003fbetw.qxd 8/31/05 8:11 AM Page vii This book is dedicated to my Road Warrior brothers and sisters You are a hearty lot, but you are not impervious to the pain and loneliness that life on the road can bring It is my hope that within these pages, you find humor, comfort, empathy, and inspiration that contribute to your survival on the road—as well as to the survival of those you love who are waiting at home 003fbetw.qxd 8/31/05 8:11 AM Page viii c12.qxdJolles 8/31/05 8:23 AM Page 219 Overcoming the Addiction the road was a good one This decision has been validated in many different—dare I say—spiritual ways Tuesday, September 15th—7:00 P.M You know, I knew it was too good to be true Three flights down and only one to go, and that one got me As I deplaned from my Chicago flight, I was greeted with that word I hate so much: Washington Dulles, “Delayed.” I tried to jump on a National flight, but I was wait-listed Now that I don’t fly as much, I don’t exactly go to the top Ten minutes before the flight was to take off, they finished calling the wait list I went up to see how close I had gotten and found out that I was still 25 people away Part of me felt a nostalgic memory of having the miles of the past to jump to the top Another part of me pitied those who did rise to the top I am not what most would call a religious person, but I believe we have a purpose, and I believe we are given signs Some of these signs are small, like not rising to the top of a waiting list Others are a lot more dramatic I can’t even count the number of colleagues I’ve come across who haven fallen, and by fallen, I mean totally dysfunctional lives, marriages, and families The simple words of the Reverend Jim Casey in John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath provide meaningful commentary on this matter: There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue There’s just stuff people It’s all part of the same thing And some of the things folks is nice and some ain’t nice, but that’s as far as any man got a right to say 219 c12.qxdJolles 220 8/31/05 8:23 AM Page 220 T H E W AY O F T H E R O A D W A R R I O R This particular chapter took me longer to write than the rest of the entire book The addiction to travel that seizes so many Road Warriors haunts me to this day, and most likely it always will I not want to appear as a hypocrite or traitor to my fellow Road Warriors I am simply a man who needed to speak out and share what I have seen and felt from these many years on the road When I was in college, I rode a motorcycle for a short period My uncle once saw me riding and gave me this pearl of wisdom He said, “There’s only two types of motorcycle riders—them that’s been down, and them that’s going down!” When I see Road Warriors who have become slaves to their jobs and have put their personal lives at risk doing it, I see these types of people falling into one of two categories: “Them that’s been down, and them that’s going down.” What is your exit strategy? The final question you need to ask yourself is a difficult one It’s difficult, because it requires thought relating to failure If we don’t have a plan to celebrate success, we can sure think of one in a hurry What plan we implement if we not succeed? When will that plan be implemented? What’s the definition we intend to use for failure? As I said, these are difficult questions They are so difficult, for many years I regarded even the thought of some of those questions as a sign of weakness Once, before a big race I was competing in, I was interviewed by the Washington Post I eagerly answered every question—that was until the reporter hit me with his version of an exit strategy question He asked me, “What will you if you not complete this triathlon?” I was puzzled by the question, and stalling, asked him to repeat it I had honestly never let that thought cross my mind After he c12.qxdJolles 8/31/05 8:23 AM Page 221 Overcoming the Addiction repeated the question, I not only told him I had never thought about it, I told him I would never let my mind think about it To me, it was a sign of weakness to even consider failure I told him I would not answer that question, and after a little prodding from his end, we moved on Friday, July 21st—10:00 P.M What a strange paradox I find myself locked into The more I travel, the more money I make The more money I make, the more we are able to as a family Sounds good, but it isn’t working The more I travel, the angrier my wife and kids become Once upon a time, they all wanted me to work hard, earn a lot of money, and provide nicely for them Now, I’m no longer a warrior, I’m a villain The rewards of my travels no longer seem to please anyone This paradox seems to mirror what history now calls the “Vietnam Syndrome.” At first it seemed to be a just war, and had some measure of political support As the war intensified, that political support eroded away Our goals became as unclear as our ultimate intentions Finally, forced to abandon the battlefield, and then having been ridiculed and humiliated upon their return to America, the generation of military leaders who rose to the highest ranks of the armed forces in the late seventies and eighties determined never again to risk American lives in combat unless they were certain of a strong domestic consensus The Vietnam War taught us many lessons, perhaps the most important being the need for a strong consensus, and the need for an exit strategy Years later, General Colin Powell actually introduced us to this term as we prepared for the Gulf War Years later we were introduced to this term again in the Iraqi war 221 c12.qxdJolles 222 8/31/05 8:23 AM Page 222 T H E W AY O F T H E R O A D W A R R I O R An exit strategy is not a sign of weakness, as I mistakenly thought years ago It’s a sign of strength and intelligence Planning an exit strategy is not planning for failure It is simply planning and preparing for any and all options As I’ve stated a number of times, to survive as a Road Warrior, you must have the support of your family Additionally, you must have a plan in place to remove yourself from the road eventually: that is, an exit strategy The last of the twelve steps of personal recovery says, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicted personalities and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” I hope the words in this chapter are of comfort to the struggling Road Warrior, or even to the struggling Road Warrior’s loved ones Approach this situation as you would any addiction My hopes are that I have fulfilled the twelfth step of this process by carrying my message to you c13.qxdJolles 8/31/05 8:23 AM Page 223 CHAPTER THIRTEEN The End of My Confessions c13.qxdJolles 8/31/05 8:23 AM Page 224 Thursday, July 7th—9:30 P.M This is a rarity I’m sitting in front of my dear friend and travel companion—my laptop—and I just don’t have much to say It’s been a long, long trip and I have one more night in this cold and impersonal hotel room Work has gone well, flights were on time, the weather is good, as was my meal tonight Anything and everything that could have gone well on this trip did, and in spite of it all, I can’t wait to go home and be with my family It’s not utopia, and it’s not perfect, but it’s my home, my wife, and my kids Despite our imperfections, we are a family and anything here pales by comparison I guess I had something to say tonight after all To borrow a line from The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” suppose I always will be a Road Warrior I have spent nearly twenty years of my life conducting business on the road, and if I am so blessed, I might just spend another twenty years on the road When I started this book, I said, “My real occupation is to survive and thrive on the road.” Now I realize that isn’t completely true My real occupation is to survive on the road so I can thrive at home You see, as this book comes to an end, I have one final admission Being a Road Warrior may be exciting, rewarding, and an exhilarating way of life, but it doesn’t come close to being where we are all needed the most—at home Home is where all real Road Warriors belong Home, to the most important people in our I 224 c13.qxdJolles 8/31/05 8:23 AM Page 225 The End of My Confessions lives—more important than any client we’ll ever work for, any meeting we’ll ever attend Home, to the simple pleasures that await us all Home, to the sheer delight of being greeted with a hug, a story, or a smile I’m proud of the books I have written, but I truly hope that the message in this book rings loud and clear Perhaps you too can take advantage of the time you spend on the road learning from your many adventures More important, though, maybe you can begin to strategize how to manage your time on the road without sacrificing your family or friends When you use your travel wisely, you can become a wiser person If you must travel, travel intelligently Stop and process what’s around you You don’t have to be a Road Warrior to observe your surroundings The question is, what will you with the information that’s around you? I hope you take my advice and keep a journal Keep your eyes open, watch more carefully, write it down, capture it, and actively study it You just never know when someone will cross your path and teach you a lesson, provide you with a reminder, or maybe just make you laugh Thursday, October 19th—8:00 P.M What a character that was I just got up to my hotel room, but I had to break out the laptop for this one I just got out of a cab, and handed my cab driver a real nice tip Heck, he earned it I came out of the airport, jumped in his cab, and right away the chatter started “How you doing tonight?” he asked I just wasn’t in the mood and grunted a “fine” back at him 225 c13.qxdJolles 226 8/31/05 8:23 AM Page 226 T H E W AY O F T H E R O A D W A R R I O R “Hot enough for you here?” he spat out “Sure.” Not tonight, pal, I just want to get to my hotel It had been a long day—couldn’t he figure it out yet? I just didn’t want to talk He simply wasn’t giving up “Where you from?” came next “Oh, please, would you just give it up?” I thought I gave him another grunted response: “Washington, D.C.” With that, he opened up his glove compartment and rummaged around for a minute or two Finally, he produced a little Redskin helmet on a string He then it from his rearview mirror and gave me a big smile According to my cabbie friend, he was “a huge Redskin fan!” Now, who knows how many helmets he had in that glove compartment, and who knows how often he pulled this little scam, but he had done his homework He knew just enough names to sound credible He also opened me up for conversation like a pro Yep, I bit By the time we got to the hotel, my meter read $25 I gave him $40 and he didn’t even flinch As a matter of fact, he looked like he was quite used to getting tipped well As for me, I felt he earned it To begin with, he pulled me out of my travel funk and delivered me to the hotel in a really good mood Besides, it took guts for a Dallas cabdriver to hang a Redskin helmet in his car and drive through town! Road Warriors aren’t the only people who think quickly and maximize their opportunities At the risk of becoming overly spiritual, in my mind, these people are there for a reason They are there to teach us, and give us an opportunity to gain wisdom We have a choice We can blindly walk by, haphazardly allow the more c13.qxdJolles 8/31/05 8:23 AM Page 227 The End of My Confessions persistent of the messengers to reach us occasionally, or truly use each and every opportunity that is before us to learn And now my story is told What started for me as a means to an end became my greatest teacher What I’ve tried to share with you, my reader, came as a result of the most important business tool I have ever acquired—my personal thoughts I would not have been capable of learning the lessons I have attempted to share with you without my journal This business tool has been my greatest Road Warrior companion, coach and tutor I cannot implore you enough to use this tool and learn from your own life as well I once read a story that puts this all in perspective A reporter asked a farmer to divulge the secret behind his corn, which won the state fair contest year after year The farmer confessed it was all because he shared his seed corn with his neighbors “Why you share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they’re entering the same contest each year as well?” asked the reporter “Why,” said the farmer, “didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field If my neighbors grew inferior corn, cross-pollination would steadily degrade the quality of my corn If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbor the same.” So it is with other situations in our lives I believe that those who want to be successful must help their neighbors be successful Those who gain wisdom by their mistakes must help others live better lives by teaching what they have learned, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all 227 c13.qxdJolles 228 8/31/05 8:23 AM Page 228 T H E W AY O F T H E R O A D W A R R I O R We work to survive and we survive to acquire wisdom Road Warriors, if you remember nothing from the words I have written, remember this: Nothing will ever take the place of the times you spend with the people you care about and those who care about you When work, travel, and family all come together, sometimes the simplest messages can say the most A prized possession from my daughter Jessie: c13.qxdJolles 8/31/05 8:23 AM Page 229 The End of My Confessions I hope I’ve been able to act as a tour guide, one of the many that in a sense you’ve probably walked by There’s just so much more to what is in front of us every day If I’ve opened your eyes to look a little deeper, articulate what you are seeing, and learn from these lessons, then the journey has been worthwhile Thanks for listening Now I have a favor to ask of you The greatest joy I receive from my writing is hearing from you, my reader If you are up to it, I would like to hear from you Perhaps a story or lesson touched you in a certain way, or maybe you would like to share one of your favorite Road Warrior stories In any case, I’ve created a Web site with you in mind, and would love for you to drop by For stories, blogs, travel tips, resources, and more, please go to www.Wayoftheroadwarrior.com Also, feel free to drop me a line at: E-mail RoadWarrior@Jolles.com Write Rob Jolles P.O Box 930 Great Falls, VA 22066 For information on the seminars I conduct, visit www.Jolles.com 229 c13.qxdJolles 8/31/05 8:23 AM Page 230 back.qxd 8/31/05 8:29 AM Page 231 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS y children, Danny, Jessie, and Sandy, who have endured my many nights on the road, shared a few with me themselves, and have never wavered in their encouragement of the job I was bred to perform Sam Quaye, my cab driver, who has been a part of almost every journey I have taken, and become a steady and enduring friend for many years Bill Sanzenbacher, one of my many captains, only this captain touched me with his steady tones of compassion We’re always listening Mary Wright, whose skillful editing, remarkable literary wisdom, and stunning ability to preserve the spirit of my message leaves me more grateful than she will ever know Neal Maillet, my editor at Jossey-Bass Without your belief in my message there would be no book Without your feedback, encouragement, and editorial suggestions, there would be no polish I consider it a privilege to call you my friend My parents, Lee and Judy Jolles, whose optimistic perspective on life instilled within me a similar trait In retrospect, what could be more important for any Road Warrior whose existence is littered with challenges than an obscene level of positive thinking M 231 back.qxd 232 8/31/05 8:29 AM Page 232 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS And finally, my wife, Ronni, who literally saved my life by teaching me the most critical lesson a partner could teach She taught me that home is where I belong, and that working toward that end is the noblest of acts that a Road Warrior can perform babout.qxd 8/31/05 8:29 AM Page 233 THE AUTHOR Rob Jolles—a best-selling author and professional speaker— knows the life of a Road Warrior firsthand from twenty-two years’ experience and more than two million miles in the air alone He is no casual observer to a profession that requires consistent travel With his trusty black roll-on garment bag and black laptop case, he is a participating member of the emerging culture of Road Warriors He is also president of Jolles Associates, Inc., an independent training consulting firm with a client list that reads like a Who’s Who of Fortune 500 companies, including Toyota, Disney, NASA, Nortel, a dozen universities, and more than fifty financial institutions He is represented by over a dozen speakers bureaus and conducts seminars all over the world He lives in Great Falls, Virginia 233 ... Jolles calls Road Warriors” for a minute To me, they are the bread and butter of the airline industry They are also the most dependent upon it You see, for the Road Warriors, getting to their destination... stories—lots of them Some of the stories were happy, and some were sad Some conveyed the loneliness of a Road Warrior s frequent solitary confinement, and some were about the people I met and the joys of. .. on the road People come first It doesn’t matter that most of the people the Road Warrior meets are strangers; from cabbies to A.V technicians, from CEOs to family members, they are all on the Road
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