Traveling as a team

Like Palidin, the adventurous, “gentleman gunfighter for hire,” played by Richard Boone in the TV series from 1958 to 1963, whose calling card said, “Have Gun will Travel”, as trial consultants, we go where the action is. The action is the case; we travel to the trial venues. Members of the Magnus team have worked in 26 states, from Alaska to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Traveling is a part of our lives, for good, and for bad. As one learns to travel, road warrior style, many tricks and practices become routine. But, in that we have hired many people who are beginning their careers, or whose careers have previously not involved much travel, we have to train them how to travel. One aspect of this which has been interesting is that we are traveling as a team. We pack lots of stuff, much more than did Palidin. Cameras, cables, surveys, microphones, computers, they all go. So while we may be 2 or 3, or 10, people traveling the total package is much greater, with 2 bags + carry ons per person. Therefore, we must work as a team, and oddly, this has not been obvious to some of our workers/travelers, at least not at first. This does not mean we have to sit together on the flight, we don’t have to sit and chat at the airport. But, we do need to coordinate the luggage and make sure it all accounted for and constantly attended. We need to coordinate ground transportation, rental cars, taxis, etc. We need to stay together, but not without total togetherness. There is a line and we have had several employees who were not team players. They were sleeping when they should have been listening to the plan. They had on headsets when they needed to be able to hear a conversation. Their phones were off when they needed to be called. In short, they were in their own world when they needed to be part of the team of which they were a member. These, to me, obvious, travel courtesies, are apparently not so obvious to some. So, for those traveling for work – help each other! It is a hard life on the road – don’t make it harder by becoming a burden, not a helper.

Post script: I once saw Richard Boone as he and his wife were walking from dinner at a restaurant in St. Augustine. I might have been 10 years old. He seemed huge to me (he was 6’1″) and had a powerful voice. He was kind enough to say hello and I’ll never forget that chance encounter.

I met a naive young person recently who, upon learning I travel with a team of people for work purposes, remarked, “That must be great not to travel alone!”, to which I replied, “It depends on who is traveling with me.”  I have traveled far and wide in the performance of my job on behalf of my clients and for the most part, my traveling companions have been acceptable.  In the early part of my career, when I was not “the boss,” I traveled with my boss, other people of higher ranking within the company, people at the same level as me, and subordinates.  One of the oddest travel experiences I had was sharing a condo for several weeks in Alaska with my work team, comprised of someone who was supervising the team, a lower level employee, and me.  One really gets to know one’s co-workers when living in a condo in Alaska!  In the many years when I have been the highest ranking team member among those with who I am traveling, I do not expect to “hang out” or socialize with my employees, however, I do expect them to follow rules of common courtesy and decorum when we are together in various locales and modes of transportation.  I had the distinct pleasure of firing an employee who failed to acknowledge my presence when traveling with me on an airplane.  Believe me when I say it is career suicide not to speak to one’s boss on an airplane!  On the other, positive end of the spectrum, I traveled frequently with a young man who never, ever, allowed me to carry my suitcase or other heavy equipment.  This kind employee said he didn’t believe someone who was of my status should have to lift a heavy bag and besides, that’s one of the reasons why he was there: to help me.  Fortunately for me, the number of good travel experiences in my world of work far outweigh the bad ones, but the bad ones are memorable in terms of what not to do!






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