Things five leaders can’t do without

Heading on a business trip soon? Not sure what to pack? Take your lead from these five business leaders who know exactly what they need to include in their suitcase

LinkedIn recently asked successful business leaders to describe the items they find indispensable on business trips. The result is a collection of short essays, called Things I Carry, and includes contributions from iconic business heavyweights such as Richard Branson, who apparently can’t go anywhere without his personal assistant.

Here are five of our favourites:

  1. Esther Dyson, principal at EDventure: While Dyson carries the typical gadgets with her, she also always has her swimsuit in her carry-on (just in case her checked luggage doesn’t arrive). The most important function of the swimsuit is to give her time to think. “It’s in the pool that I make decisions about whether to make a trip or an investment, or consider the results of past decisions,” she wrote. Since 18, she’s only missed having a swim one day a year on average.
  2. Meg Whitman, president and CEO Hewlett-Packard: Whitman’s must haves are sources of relaxation and escape. Since competing in high school, Whitman has made swimming part of her regular routine. “The physical exercise and time alone in a pool is a great outlet for focusing my thoughts and relieving stress,” she wrote. “When traveling, I always carry a swimsuit and try to stay at a location near a pool so I can get in a morning swim regardless of time zone.” For tuning out the noise, Whitman always has a playlist of her favorite country music. “Some favorites include George Strait, Brooks & Dunn and Shania Twain. I keep my phone loaded with playlists that I use to tune out the noise and help me concentrate while traveling.”
  3. James Citrin, senior director at Spencer Stuart: Despite becoming more and more addicted to his digital devices, Citrin still has room for the analogue in his life. This senior director still relies heavily on his leather-bound, black and red account book. He tapes his business card to the inside, notes all his usernames and password hints for various online accounts and services, and uses it to keep a running list of talented executives who have been recommended to him by trusted sources, and who may be open to business opportunities.
  4. Don Peppers, founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group at TeleTech: Peppers takes his wife’s love letters with him wherever he goes. When he takes a trip, Peppers’ wife makes sure to hide a card in his luggage for each night that he will be away. If he can’t find them, he calls her to find out where she’s hidden them. Sometimes the card will contain a love letter, or sometimes a photograph of a holiday they took together. “Her card is the last thing I read before going to sleep and the first thing I read again after waking up,” Peppers wrote.
  5. Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local: Kerpen is addicted to orange coloured objects. “I always wear orange shoes, and I usually carry an orange backpack, wallet, phone cover, business cards, pen, and any other orange items I can get my hands on,’ he wrote. For Kerpen, orange means energetic, positive, and hopeful – connotations he likes to carry with him wherever he travels on business.