All I Need to Know about Business I Learned from a Duck

Archive for May, 2013

Walk Like An Elephant

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Wild animals roam great distances on a daily basis. For example, if food is scarce African Elephants sometimes cover over 50 miles in a day. More often they walk three to seven miles, which considering their weight (an adult elephant ranges from 5,000 to 14,000 lbs.) isn’t too shabby of a workout.

Wolves often travel 50 miles, which is approximately half of the distance covered by Monarch Butterflies during one day of their migration. Heck, even wild turkeys trek up to five miles per day.

Meanwhile the supposedly more evolved species sit at a desk (and then after work on a couch in front of the TV) on average 9.3 hours per day. (Click on Nilofer Merchant’s TED presentation, below)

Granted humans don’t have to hunt, forage, migrate and avoid predators but maybe we can learn a thing or two about staying healthy, improving higher brain function and increasing productivity from our animal brethren.

At this point you might notice that I left the door wide open for you to bemoan, “But critters don’t have to attend time wasting, energy depleting, sedentary meetings throughout their day like I do!”  And as I open the door even further (now I’m talking about a for real, physical door not an analogy) I exclaim, “Let’s take a walk and conduct our meeting at the same time!”

What a concept – walking meetings!

Businesses that have incorporated walking meetings into their corporate culture have found that natural environments inspire new ideas and stimulate creativity.  And when individuals are walking side-by-side as if facing a problem together, hierarchy work distinctions disappear and a positive working spirit soars.

Fresh air and light improves mental well-being, energy and alertness.  It also stimulates oxygen flow, increasing brain function that increases the ability to solve problems faster.  Did I mention managers and employees lose weight, as well?

It’s important to keep the meeting size small; two to five people is ideal.  And be sure to set the length of the meeting with consideration to participant’s fitness levels.  You might also want to bring along a recording device or smartphone to capture important points and just as you’d end any meeting, be sure to recap highlights and discuss any actions items.

Take the next step in the evolution of team meetings within your company and walk like an elephant.