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Anticipation is a key life skill – core to executive function. In fact, the farther out in time it can be conducted – not to make the incumbent a worry wart – but to think ahead, the more potent the contribution.

I had a dream about the new CEO of WestJet. Not him the person but the requirements of office.

He/ She would want to anticipate the dialogue with the Board. They would have identified the major strategy headings necessary to the future scope of the airline. Then the framework [the data, the milestone structure] required for meaningfully relating progress in a way that made sense to them. And then the info to actually relate how it’s going – as far out in the future as he/she can imagine. That way alignment with the Board would be achieved and navigation with them productive.

The dreams of coaches! Must be time for a break…

Not many of us look to an upcoming leisure travel trip with anything but anticipation. It’s different from business. There anticipation seems like a “make work” phenomenon. Whatever the imagination produces we now have to prepare for. Have to get past that attitude.

Attitude. When I trained as a lawyer, the software orientation installed was imagining the worst. It’s useful professionally. We’re supposed to anticipate and forestall all contingencies on behalf of the client. So “What could go wrong?” Becomes chronic.

But the reverse is just as much a curse. “With rose colored glasses, everything looks red.” That optimism – that everything will always be fine – is helpful for energy but not realism. And as it comes on, the impending refreshment of the new and the different invades consciousness tantalizing with a breeze of change.

Your people – what flavor do they come with? And do you have some who can see farther out? Do you recognize that gift, that talent? Or do you Pooh Pooh their imaginings?

Curiosity. Imagination. Hallmarks of executive potential.

Fair Warning. I’m going to shift gears now. For those who like my travel musings, you’ll want to continue. Others, turn back now before you get caught up in the irrepressible urge to go…

After a near escape from the privations of winter [“never laid a glove on me!”], all that has been unwound by a cruel February, all over the continent. The spell of an El NiƱo year has been rudely shattered by repeated hammering from the dreaded polar vortex. Did the ocean suddenly cool? What happened? Who took my temperature [away]? Whaaa!

Mexico beckoned and is upon me. The anticipation factor rose dramatically as the snow fell. And fell. And froze.

Canny travelers make the most of the appeal of an oncoming trip. The yearning for sun on skin grows more acute, but a bunch of other enriching variables can be brought to play. And I feel we owe it to ourselves to max those out and get the absolute most of our experience. Of course, you know that is one of my most intensely held values…

In my world, there are no dull destinations, only those we haven’t really looked into yet.
Are you going somewhere soon? Or this summer? Now is the time to whet your edge so you’ll max that trip.


Geography: – I bet you thought I was going to start with attractions. Well, you’ll do that. But too many blunt their full joy by stopping there. I’m very geographically oriented. Hand me a map and I’ll be occupied for hours. What’s the lay of the land? How far is it to the mountains/ lakes/ rivers from where we’re centered? What else is nearby? “How likely is it I’ll pass this way again?” You’d hate to find too late that right nearby was dramatic country you missed out on…

History: every locale has a story. I find it always more rich and rewarding than might first meet the eye. We comfort ourselves that from high school, we know the whole tale. Never! There’s just so much more by unwinding the clock. Start with Wikipedia – and go from there. We’re going back to Amsterdam this spring! Yay! With my sister, Jane. So I sicced her onto Russell Shorto’s brilliant book. She will arrive with much more context and an even greater appetite to get out and see. Oh, he’s done one on New York, too…

A project!
Having an angle, a research edge, really spices up a trip. Want to get jazzed about Dubai? Architecture. More money has been piled into more dramatic highly aesthetic buildings there than anywhere on earth. Make it your business to make a list, get around and see a bunch of them. Rome? Churches. The variety is beyond anything you could plumb. Looking into it, making a list and getting out to them will give you a whole different approach – and a whole different interaction with the locals. It’s one thing to be a tourist, another entirely to be on a quest…

Heading down to Mexico. Reactive, fearful people talk about drug gangs. Well, sure, but what about the most courageous experiment Mexicans have embarked on in recent history? This fall they elected Obrador in a precedent shattering attempt to wrest their country back from lawlessness and corruption: to capitalize on the energy of their youthful population, their emerging middle class and abounding entrepreneurialism.

The Lingo
Getting by is one thing. “Dos cervezas!” Enjoying the subtlety of expression and understanding the locals quite another. When you go, sign up for lessons. Or get someone in the resort to tutor you. Listen to duo lingo – a fabulous app for easy learning instead of easy listening. It stretches you. “A mind once stretched, never returns to its original dimension.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Customs and practice
How do they get stuff done? What’s the deal? How come that gathering in the square? Why do they have this market? Getting into the workings of a society endears you to the locals, even though they can’t figure how it would work any other way….

The Best…
Almost every locale has something they do really well. In Oaxaca, there were many – rugs, mezcal, black pottery. In Leon, I’ve just discovered it’s leather. An entire neighbourhood, the Zona Piel is dedicated to massive displays of shoes, purses, jackets…Who knew?

So letting your curiosity overcome your natural, god-given right to sag back in your beach chair. Or to follow your guided herd around the expected “hits”. Or worse, to just go and come back unchanged, just a bit more relaxed. I’m not against relaxation. It’s just that by getting up and out there’s so much more. And you will be strangely MORE refreshed having attained new perspectives.

The next period’s blogs will be “Mexical”. If you are not now on our travel blog list and want to follow my adventures, hit reply and Suzan will add you. See you there…


Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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