Over the last few months I’ve been thinking a lot about the question of ‘core’. Not the core values we often connect with companies, but more the core business. Because it feels that big businesses are diluting their core. Many are trying to be everything for everyone: not only for clients, but also for employees. And stakeholders. And business partners. And shareholders.
And that’s just not going to work. Businesses must always know what their core is: the essential part that makes them stand out from among the competition; the product or service that is their core offering they’ll always have available.
In the world of ballet, you can consider the core to be the barre: the dancer will always come back to it to practice to give enthralling performances. Overall in health and fitness, your core remains weak when you focus on crunches or squats only. But once you remember to train your core, you’re connecting to your centre, staying in balance and increasing reaction speed. Thereby (conveniently) becoming more self-assured, healthy and happy.
We need to take these learnings and apply them to our daily working lives as well. For companies, that means focusing on the core offering rather than hunting after every new hype. Yes, it might mean alienating some clients or prospects. But it also opens the door to so many others who believe in what the company does because the passion in the core offering shows. And it’s catching.
Looking at corporate travel, our core business is (enabling) trade. With that come secondary opportunities of sharing knowledge, innovation and business development. And to ensure companies do this most effectively, there’s a complex industry in place working hard in the background to make trade happen as efficiently as possible. In fact, it’s hidden so far in the background that it’s largely unknown to anyone not working directly in the field.
This situation has worked relatively well up until now, but we’ve reached a dead-end: businesses simply don’t recognise that corporate travel enables trade. Because we don’t promote the core. We get lost in the hypes and trends that simplify parts of travel, but too often disregard that our collective raison d’être is enabling trade. It’s because of this people working in corporate travel struggle to be confident in their work, create and implement innovative strategies, get funding to develop the discipline or find appropriate education.
The industry is being held back by its own inhibitions from bygone times: the exclusivity that many once associated with corporate travel now means the world at large doesn’t see its importance to trade, innovation, sharing knowledge and business development.
Corporate travel’s core is enabling trade. And the world needs to know. Because only if the world knows can we start to influence government policy, build smart cities, decrease carbon emissions and grow our businesses in partnership with one another.