I often wonder why when we broach a sensitive subject we get asked to “walk with me.” I confess that I like the forward momentum and the fact that it is one-on-one time. You know that the conversation will not be lengthy. You have their undivided attention and lastly, you know that a decision will be made.
It seems to be an intimate engagement, a time that both people are on the same level of listening and have a common goal of resolving the question or gaining insight. The walk in itself will be calming or action driven. There is power in the walk, a sense of getting things done and resolution.
Often the walk takes place when the group or team has hit a roadblock and needs someone that can break on through the hurdle or obstacle. The ripple effect of the walk can stimulate the team to a sense of empowerment to get things done. A door opening to possibilities rather than a team shutting down. That one walk can be the catalyst that unleashes dynamic change and innovation.
It is odd that the walk can take only minutes. The walk seems to give us laser focus. We take the walk expecting that the solution is already there waiting for you to hear it. In one of my training classes, I divide the group into three teams with each group having a different scenario. I gave them an hour to identify the roadblocks and present a solution. Thirty minutes into it I picked one person from each team and told them to walk with me for 15 minutes. We actually walked outside into a park with a lake.
I asked them to tell me what was in the way of a solution. I gave each one five minutes and asked questions that would focus them on results. I opened doors for them so they could see inside the problems or obstacles. As we walked back they were engaging each other even though they were on different teams. By the time they got back to their groups, you could feel a different energy and dynamic to the group.
All of the groups presented solutions and they were all actionable. The feedback to me was that the walk created a strong focus for them to resolve the issues. The dynamic was one of momentum with the walk ending with a definitive resolution. The walk was pressure without feeling like pressure and had a feeling of momentum and being result driven. It was problem-solving at warp speed.
Point Of View
When I was growing up, my Daddy, when faced with problems, would take me and our dog for a walk on the perimeter of our farm. Even though he would be talking to me and the dog I always felt he was pondering what to do. I would also see him and my uncles do the same thing. They always seemed to find answers or solutions after the walk.
Later in life when my boys were giving me a fit I would always take them to a park or for a walk on the beach. We always seemed to find the right answer. With my wife, taking her for a walk allows me to tell her I care when I can’t find the right words. The togetherness can be comforting and powerful. With my dogs, it is the calming feeling and bonding, and with my grandchildren, it is seeing the joy of their innocence. Lastly, when I walk alone it is to remind me of who I am and a moment to reflect on the gifts that life has given me.