Walk this Way

At Change-Gear we continually seek out learning strategies that will take people away from the usual and expected and into an environment that encourages creativity and growth. In this blog Tom Barwood explores the concept of “A Walkshop” and how it can be used to deliver results for both the individual and the organisation.

It would seem that despite the plethora of sporting opportunities in front of us  one of the best ways to keep our hearts and minds in good shape and defeat the damage caused by our increasing sedentary lifestyles is to walk. Yes, simple bi-pedal motion; the one we were designed to do. You can even do it with the aid of poles (if you can bear the endless jokes about snow) or in my case ideally with a tattered OS map and a compass to hand – more about that later.

There also seems to be a similar rise in the number of books, programmes articles and pod casts about pathways, tracks, pilgrimages and walks as evidenced in Robert Mc Farlane’s hugely popular book ‘The Old Ways’. It would seem that in our automated age we have lost sight of more than just our ability to walk, but also the reasons to walk.

To me, one of the joys of living in the UK is the fact that a simple stroll can take you along paths and routes that are diamond encrusted with history, memories and the sense of others having taken that route – sometimes thousands of years ago as in the case of the Ridgeway.

So, does this rise in popularity of something so simple and the accepted fact that any organisation is only as good as the people in it provide those of us in the world of learning and development with the opportunity to break apart the accepted model of what training looks like and provide something altogether simpler and potentially just as, if not more, effective.

At Change Gear we have introduced a concept which we have fallen in love with – a workshop delivered whilst walking or more simply “The Walkshop.”

Facilitated by myself – Tom Barwood (who just happens to be a Summer Mountain leader as well as an experienced facilitator) the idea is to bring people together and use the process of walking in groups to explore the areas of personal effectiveness. Challenges which are sometimes difficult to push through in a closed classroom type environment can be explored whilst seeking the thoughts of others and drawing inspiration from the great outdoors. We have always found that one of the most powerful ways to up the creativity and effectiveness of any meeting or training session is to take it outside, and go for a walk. People not only feel better, but they’re more energised and alert because of the change of scenery, it improves their thinking, and they’re more creative in finding new solutions and more inspired to do more meaningful work.

Recent research has shown that it is not only individuals that can benefit from walking but it can have a significant positive impact on organisations as a whole. Indeed Steve Jobs was well known for his love of walking meetings, with Jack Dorsey (Twitter) and Mark Zuckerberg also reported to be big fans. Further evidence of the benefits of getting employees physically active can be found in the results of a recent study conducted by the The British Heart Foundation.

  • Physically active employees take 27% less sick days than non-active employees
  • Individual work performance can be improved between 4-15% when people engage in regular physical activity
  • An on site fitness programme can reduce staff turnover by between 8 and 13%

So, no fording rivers or swinging through the trees in our “Walkshops” – just plain good old fashioned walking in beautiful, scenic, rural settings (not mountainous) with sessions for reflection and development built in, as well as arranged breaks. A real opportunity for those of you with apps/fitbits to walk 10,000 steps and maybe more!

If you would like to experience this simple yet incredibly mindful and mind expanding idea then contact hello@change-gear.com for further information. Let’s see how far we can go!!


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