I really like the idea of Management By Wandering Around popularized by Tom Peters. Recently I think I’ve stumbled across a corollary to that theory where I consult with leaders by going out with them for a run or walk.
My friend Sven Walther coined the term “runsulting” to describe it.
Much more than merely fitness multitasking; I’m finding that the conversations I’m having along trails or sidewalks is of a different quality than the usual coffee shop, restaurant, or office meeting. It seems that the combination of activity, being outdoors, and limited eye contact creates an atmosphere that lends itself to a certain kind of informal honesty and mutual openness that is refreshing.
I used to joke that men couldn’t really talk until they broke a sweat, there’s something to that.
I’m not saying that this is the new normal for me. It’s just another tool I keep at the ready for certain situations where if fits. It isn’t going to replace phone calls, Skype, lunch, or scheduled whiteboard sessions. But, when it’s time to go a little personally deeper with someone who would appreciate it I’m finding it both helpful and enjoyable.
My favourite professor in university introduced me to the idea that Attention = Contrast. Doing something different or unexpected guarantees that you have an opportunity to bring about some kind of change. It’s a key secret of what great summer camps are doing all across the country this week.
Inviting a leader of one of our partner charities out for a run is definitely atypical, but it can be valuable.
Leaders: What can you do to change the context for a key conversation this week to change the type and quality of what happens? Anyone interested in heading out for a run sometime?