I’m in an airport.
I’m in Dammam where I taught a 3-day Financial Acumen workshop for Saudi Electricity last week, flying to the Netherlands to teach a 3-day Managing a Global Business workshop for Heinz this week.
Then I have a week or so in the US, a week in Canada, a week in Saudi Arabia again, and then back to the US.
I remember when air travel was a luxury, and it was cheaper to cross the Atlantic by sea. I guess that means I’m old.
Change happens in some ways, but not in others. Obviously, the technologies of travel are improving rapidly and constantly. That’s change. But the underlying reasons for all my current travel come back to the value of being with people face to face. And that hasn’t changed.
An email or letter is useful, but doesn’t advance discussion as well as Skype messaging. And messaging isn’t as good as video (but bad video is awful). But even the best video doesn’t replace actually being there, interacting with every tiny unconscious glance, gesture and part-smile. So we travel to meet.
This also applies to the classroom. Books are great. But people will still pay more to hear an excerpt from the book delivered by the author in person. Computer simulations are great. But deeper and more foundational learning occurs in a classroom with a facilitator. And the deepest learning happens with individuals interacting in teams, and the teams interacting in competition or cooperation, and the whole group interacting with a skilled facilitator – in person.
This is because the team-competition setting provides a real-world context for thinking about the purposes and uses of the learning, as well as about the learning itself.
Andromeda Training teaches business literacy, business acumen and improved decision-making through the Income/Outcome team-based business simulations. The desired outcomes are the same as those desired by the writers of business books, the Powerpoint lecturers, the business professors, the programmers of business games. But if they fail to harness the energy of human social interaction, they can’t achieve the speed, ease, pleasure and holistic understanding that a good discussion-driven workshop achieves.
As with travel, the technology improves, but we are still driven by the realities of our deeply social nature.
And now it’s time to board the next plane, to go and meet in person with the next group of people.
Old travelers never die, they just lose their grip.