Field (trip) of Dreams

Image of street in New York City with 2 taxi cabs waiting for a light to change. Background shows buildings, including a McDonald's sign visible in the distance.

How company trips can enhance your business.

I take my business very seriously, but I’m also like a big kid (just ask my wife and two daughters). Having fun is the secret to keeping your energy up. Among the many things I remember fondly growing up was school field trips. They were anchored in education, but the camaraderie of being with classmates made the experience all the more enjoyable.

Why not apply this to work life?

Recently, I assembled seven team members from my dry cleaning and laundry company, Sudsies, and took them on a trip to New York City. The group ranged, spanning all titles and departments. I arranged tours with other dry cleaners to visit their facilities. These tours provided us insight as to how these other top cleaners embody the business, including physical layouts and operational procedures. What was most impactful however, were the pow-wows between our teams, where we garnered best practices by sharing and contrasting experiences. I’ve always said we are in the people business versus the cleaning business, so expanded these meetings with other sectors in the hospitality realm as well.

Speaking of which… in addition to the collaborations with our Big Apple sister cleaners, we secret shopped others in the area to see and understand the process directly from the customer perspective. This not only made us more attuned to our clients’ needs, but in many ways, it reaffirmed that we already have a great (and innate) customer service approach. Nonetheless, the exercise initiated an internal conversation on how we can improve upon our commitment even more.

Up next, we visited our suppliers based in the area. We deal with these contacts on a regular basis, but meeting face-to-face allowed us to deepen the relationship. Both sides were able to first-hand experience the other’s perspective and demands, which in turn enabled us all to better serve one another.

These “field trips” revealed to be an excellent opportunity and can be applied to ANY industry. I’ve always been proud of the strong company culture that each of our businesses keep, and this outside-the-box excursion enhanced it even further. Our team had time to debrief and discuss expectations. It encouraged each member to see the business beyond their own role, with the big picture always in mind. We returned home motivated, with an even stronger appreciation for each other and a renewed self-awareness that together we truly do make a great team… and we’re really proud of what we do.

Safe and productive travels!

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