Traveling has many merits, but one that we might not often talk about are its positives in how we work and our career paths. Bruce Poon Tip is a man who knows a thing or two about the job benefits that travel can bestow upon a person. Poon Tip is a VIP in the travel industry, and in 1990 founded G Adventures a travel adventure company that is the opposite of the large group European bus tours of your parent’s generation. G Adventures focuses on small-group trips with a focus on supporting local culture, but it’s Poon Tip’s own travel that has defined his managemetn style in how he runs the company.
The globe-trotting business owner opened up recently about the career positives of travel and offered some incredibly insightful viewpoints.
1. Recognizing that business is often emotional: It was a 1997 trip to Tibet that led Poon Tip to the realization that sometimes gut instinct is better than relying on data. “Up until then, I thought business was an unemotional thing,” he says. In Tibet, though, decisions are often made based on spiritual revelations. [Before] “I was a person who needed empirical data to make a decision,” he says.
2. Appreciating diversity: One of the biggest takeaways from travel is that it broadens one’s horizons and opens them up to different ways of thinking — something that is crucial for business growth, says Poon Tip.
“We have a very creative and innovative environment and we’re open to people who think differently. Travel opens your mind to think of new possibilities and new ways you can do things,” says Poon Tip. “When you go to countries that govern their lives so differently and have different ways of thinking, you take those influences and bring them back to the reality of your life.”
3. Traveling can plant the seeds of innovation: With G Adventures, Poon Tip is set on creating a global brand, which means thinking beyond his office headquarters’ walls. Poon Tip wants his employees to be inspired and creative, and breeds such creativity by generously offering employees a free once a year trip to anywhere in the world they’d like to go. “We want people to get out and be influenced by travel,” he said.
4. Community’s prosper with good leadership: Through traveling to developing countries, the travel business innovator has seen the way that smaller communities have rallied together to achieve a common goal and applies it to his work. Poon Tip says that he now views leadership as a partnership between mind and heart. “It’s not what you can do, but how you can influence a group of people.” After all, a business is only as good as the people who run it.
5. Traveling outside one’s comfort zone: One of the best ways to get the most out of travel is to step outside one’s comfort zone. Applying a little bit of this adventurous spirit to work also has the affect of fostering growth and innovation. Whether it’s growing a company or growing in one’s career, it’s important to take risks.
“As an entrepreneur, I like to be a little uncomfortable at all times,” he says. In fact, Poon Tip credits his company’s double-digit growth over the past 10 years with its propensity for pushing boundaries and stepping beyond what’s comfortable. “I’m always pushing us to be just a bit out of our comfort zone, because I never want us to sit back and stop innovating,” he says.