A CEO Reflects: 8 Things Learned From Lexonik Trade Trip

an orange towel laid on a beach in dubai with a lightbulb showing the lexonik logo atop it

Well that’s a wrap.

We’re back in the warm embrace of our Lexonik family at Teesside HQ, after another fabulous trip to Dubai.

This particular visit, as those of you who follow my CEO ramblings will know, has been a very different and special one – as we formed part of a contingent of businesses going on a trade mission with the Department of Business and Trade, in conjunction with the Northern Powerhouse.

There’s so much I could tell you about how my colleague, Phil Luke, and I felt about the trip; what we feel it represents for businesses like ours in the North-East of England, and why we’re so excited about this as a potential springboard for more development.

Here’s my 8 takeaways from the visit, in hope that among them, you’ll find some useful insight into leadership, cultural relationships, personal development, and respecting your body and mind!

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

One of the challenges of travelling for work, is that often we feel compelled to book our key meetings or delivery to begin within hours of landing in our destination.

This time, we chose not to.

We built in time to arrive, to rest, and to fully prepare for what lie ahead.

It was by far the best decision.

Data Matters. It’s at the Core of Your Credibility

Never forget how much your clients and customers assess your offering on the basis of proven data.

We had a great session as part of our trip, in conjunction with GL Education. This looked at intervention strategies to apply in response to NGRT data.

Your customers care about data. Apply what you do to data – whether it’s come from you or another original and credible source.

Hear the Pains and the Powers of Your Peers

As you can imagine, there was plenty of networking to be done.

We spent time with delegates from the Trade Mission itself and BESA.

This may often feel a little intimidating, or perhaps overwhelming, but it’s so valuable to chat to peers in your sector and hear what they and their staff are going through.

We learned so much and were able to reflect positively about how we at Lexonik are functioning.

Friendship and Recognition Cross Countries and Cultures

One of the special and unexpected elements of our trip was being awarded a certificate as a gesture of kindness from one of the schools where we presented.

It’s these touches which show the hand of friendship stretching across the miles and across the cultural divides.

We’ll take away from this that we must always remember how we show recognition and appreciation to our customers or our communities.

Confidence Needs Constant Work

Over such a limited few days, we led a number of presentations and training sessions, as well as taking part in networking.
And you know what?

Confidence to do such things doesn’t always come easy.

It takes practice.

I’m glad to say that I’ve kept working on my gremlins and flexing my confidence muscle at performing the CEO role. I’m getting there.

Party or Pamper – but Definitely Combine Joy With Work

It’s not good enough as a CEO to tell your staff you want them to take time out between work days or projects, and yet not do it yourself.

That was why I was keen to ensure Phil and I both made time for R&R within the trip.

For us, this included an entirely unexpected night with Bastille at Dubai Coca Cola Arena.

Whatever works for you, make sure you do integrate something which allows you to recharge or to be yourself.

Find the Adventure and Learn Something New

Talking of ‘being yourself’, I’m also continually learning that we have to keep pushing ourselves and finding something within which is a little less comfortable or which needs exploring.

We took the opportunity to do something extremely different during our work trip – a day in the desert.

I’d encourage anyone going away on a work trip, to really think what they could incorporate which might challenge or test them…or at least provide something of an experience.

Assess, Reflect and Share the Story

There are of course things which will reflect upon from our week-long Dubai trip, and which we will question for their effectiveness or necessity in such a busy period of our working year.

But assessing and evaluating are always good – even if you reveal a list of ‘negatives’ or ‘never again’.

I suggest making sure you do those reflections very quickly after your trip, and making the most of the chance to chat to your team about what you experienced.

Internal and external PR are always useful tactics to embrace when you’ve completed a significant trip!

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