The 26-day ultimate off-site retreat

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Centerpiece,Leaders & Managers

In fall 2010, Ken Lehman, a bank investor and director of Virginia Commerce Bancorp Inc., spent 26 days riding his bicycle 1,800 miles down the Pacific coast, from Vancouver to Mexico. Alone.

Why? To give himself time to think through his business strategy.

“It was a ride for inspiration,” he says. The open space—figuratively and literally—gave him long stretches for thinking about which investments to take on next.

While most executives know that uninterrupted thinking time is essential, many are hard-pressed to find the time for it.

That could be why Lehman has taken the journey four times now.

“It’s amazing, riding along the coast. When you’re up early in the morning and there’s nobody else out. It’s a smooth road, the sun’s coming up, you hear the waves,” he said. “You see these things on a bike that you would never really see in a car.”

If you’re thinking, “Well, I couldn’t do that. This guy has probably trained for months,” think again.

Lehman insists he isn’t a regular cyclist. “I rollerblade and read The Wall Street Journal on a spin bike. I really don’t ride that much except on trips,” he says.

Mixed in with the contemplation and inspiration was considerable discomfort. But he achieved what he set out to achieve.

By the end of the ride, he made the decision to dial back some of his risk and limit investments to the ones he cares about most.

— Adapted from “Using 1,800-mile cycling trip to get inspired about your business,” Bryant Ruiz Switzky, Washington Business Journal.

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