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Back from Down Under

Regular readers of my blog know that I occasionally complain about the seemingly endless travel required of a globe-hopping consultant/keynote speaker. Well, sometimes it is worth all that effort and hassle.

Last month I had the pleasure of spending several weeks in Australia and New Zealand as a guest of The Executive Connection (TEC), Australia’s leading CEO and senior executive organization. While there, I addressed CEO’s and executives in six cities and got to play with the brains of about a thousand CEOs and business owners while talking about my favorite business topic – innovation. I also did a radio show for the Australian Broadcasting Company (their version of our National Public Radio), which was a lot of fun. And although speaking and other business activities dominated my agenda, I fortunately found time to see some of the sights in these beautiful countries.

After a long flight (during which time I got a lot of work done on my upcoming ebook), I landed in Perth, where I kicked off the first of several TEC presentations. From there I made my way around the country, with stops in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide. Let me tell you, Australia is a big country! When you get on a plane to go somewhere, there are no short hops, at least not to the major cities. After a brief stay in Adelaide, I headed to Auckland, New Zealand for the final stop on my trip.

Highlights of my trip included:

  • Looking out upon the famous Sydney Opera House and harbor bridge from my hotel balcony, and taking a ferry to see the city from the water
  • A fun wine tour to sample some of the local vintages in Perth
  • Shopping, funny rhino tram signs, lip benches, the theater, and high tea at the Windsor Hotel in Melbourne
  • The hustle and bustle of Brisbane, a very energetic city!
  • More wine country in Adelaide

Unfortunately, I had no time for sightseeing in New Zealand, as I landed and departed in less than 24 hours. But the little bit of countryside I did see was stunning in its beauty. I definitely plan to return some day.

In addition to the fun of interacting with so many business leaders from Down Under (more on that in another blog) I also learned — no surprise — that airports and hotels look pretty much the same around the world. Perhaps I have become jaded in all my travels, but no matter how well appointed, one hotel room generally looks like another. I also discovered that there’s English and then there’s English as spoken by the Aussies. It wasn’t so much their accent that caught my attention as their delightful and often humorous local expressions and colloquialisms.

Did you know that pissing in someone’s pocket is not necessarily a bad thing, or that rats can move up drainpipes very quickly? In Australia, pissing in someone’s pocket means you’re about to pay them a compliment and you don’t want it to be disregarded. A successful business is said to be growing as fast as a rat up a drainpipe. On a rainy day, the Aussies use “brellies” to keep the water off. And a “carry on” is a fun party, not something you can’t find room for on today’s over-crowded airplanes.

The Aussie and Kiwi business leaders were great audiences, and we had a lot of fun exploring how to use our brains to innovate on a daily basis. My only disappointments from the trip were not having more leisure time to explore these countries, and the fact that I still don’t understand rugby or Australian football. Other than that, I rate the trip as one of my professional highlights for 2012. I hope I made as good an impression on my Aussie hosts as they did on me.

Stay tuned for a blog on what I learned about the biggest challenges facing business leaders halfway around the globe (hint…they’re not much different from ours).

Call to action: If you haven’t already been there, put it on your bucket list to visit Australia and New Zealand.

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