Monday 7 November 2016

When did you last have a walking meeting?

As part of the recent Category Management training in Warsaw we were discussing different tools, techniques and ways to get into a more creative frame of mind.

The assumption is that if we do what we've always done, and sit in a room in a big office block around a table we're not necessarily going to be that creative.

During the workshop we discussed use of metaphor, collage, creative tools such as the Creative Whack pack, and other ways we might achieve a more creative mind set.

Someone suggested 'walking meetings', and I asked the question "has anyone been on a walking meeting?" and everyone said "No". This was closely followed by me asking "would you like to try one?" To which they replied "Yes".

Knowing we were coming up to a session on e-auctions, where I ask them to share their knowledge about the subject, I said we'd do that whilst walking at the same time.

The above video was taken at the start of that walk :-).

For the next 20 minutes we walked towards our mid morning break - this time at a famous Warsaw chocolate house instead of in the hotel.
Each person sharing what they knew about eauctions, and asking questions for clarification.
Passing famous landmarks as we went.
and certainly in the chill of early November enjoying the hot drink as we discussed the insight and learning we'd obtained as a result of our walk. 
Once we returned to the training room I asked it it was something they would repeat, and they all gave a very enthusiastic "Yes". I've even been asked by the client to ensure it's retained in this workshop in the future, and for a forthcoming supplier management workshop.

The benefits we observed included:
  • Better focus because we had to concentrate to listen against the background noise of the city.
  • Excitement about getting out that transferred onto the subject being discussed (certainly a benefit for eauctions)
  • The duration of the walk meant we could explore the topic from different angles and perhaps have it explained from different view points. 
  • It seemed easier to ask questions when walking side by side with others
For next time we would recommend that we:
  • Have smaller groups - we're thinking a maximum of 4 and possible even 3 would be better
  • Know how long it will take to get to our destination - 'not far away' was a little further than that!
  • Have clarity about the subject to be discussed on the way back - I think we all discussed different topics - some category management related and others not.
  • Ensure we're sufficiently dressed for the occasion - we were mainly lucky but a few returned to the training room a little colder than they would have liked.
I've used walks for looking at issues from a different perspective before. Use of a walk as simply a means of talking about a subject however, is new to me, and one I'd like to explore further if anyone is interested.

Follow the link for more on Keeping on track: Stakeholder engagement half or full day sessions for up to 3 people per session walking in Fife, Scotland in December or January (so yes it would be a case of wrap up warm even if the train will be our main means of transport and shelter if needed).

Or perhaps a Getting on track for the year ahead session would make more sense. Let me know your thoughts, and I'm sure we can develop an inspiring and transformational session together.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change Inside and Out.

An index of other blogs on topics covered during the 3 day workshop can be found here.

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