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David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom: Vacation souvenirs that can improve your work

By David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, July 28 2014 10:54 a.m. MDT

Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

Alisha Newbold, O.C. Tanner

This article originally appeared at Forbes.com.

It’s that time of year. Your focus is somewhere out there. And, while you might feel guilty for leaving the office, vacations are necessary. They are stress relievers, rechargers and actually great ways to reinvent and elevate your work to the next level.

A global study conducted by Forbes Insights, the O.C. Tanner Institute and the Cicero Group looked at 1.7 million cases of award-winning work to identify five things people do to help create a difference people love.

Since our minds are already out there on vacation, we sought out vacation destinations that mirror the findings of the study. Each location offers “souvenirs”—fresh perspectives that help you create award-winning work.

Award-winning workers ask the right questions

Vacation destination: Washington, D.C.

Snicker all you want about whether or not the best answers have come out of the United States government. We applaud it for asking the best question: “Should our country be run by its people?”

A vacation through our nation’s capital makes it impossible not to ask better questions — to reach into the past and think of our founding fathers. To better understand our legislative systems. To visit the resting places of men and women who have lived and died to protect our freedom. Just a brief mention of these things stirs the mind to bigger questions, to other solutions, to hurdles that have been and need to be overcome. It’s these types of bigger questions that spawn great work, innovation and exploration into possibility.

Award-winning workers go see for themselves

Vacation destination: Scottsdale, Arizona

“It’s a dry heat,” they say. And, they’re right. However, a summer in Scottsdale still can be brutal under the sun at 115 degrees. But until the heat hits those crazy-high temperatures, locals will tell you that a dry 105 degrees isn’t all that bad. However, you’ve got to go see for yourself. Early in the summer, tourism in Arizona quickly diminishes as “snowbirds” head back to their homes. Hotel rates drop and resorts begin offering outstanding vacation package deals.

Award-winning workers practice “Going to see for themselves.” They want to find out for themselves that 105 degrees in Scottsdale feels like 80 degrees in Illinois. They want to see things, smell things and analyze the situation for themselves so that they can tweak, fine-tune and truly create a difference people love.

Award-winning workers connect with their outer circle

Vacation destination: Venice Beach, California

Somehow, within a 2.5-mile stretch of beachfront, pedestrian-only promenade, there exists one of the most diverse gatherings of people in the world. Venice Beach is notorious for circus-like street performances, skateboard parks, arts, music and just plain obscurity. Strike up a conversation with someone in Venice Beach and you have no idea what kind of perspective you’ll get as a response — rich, poor, rational, righteous or riff-raff. The beachfront is definitely a playground for different ideas.

Award-winning workers seek different opinions. They take their ideas out and share them with others who could approach their project with a completely different lens on life or business. They connect and converse with their outer circles.

Award-winning workers change the mix

Vacation destination: Austin, Texas

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