Talking Shoulder to Shoulder

“Can we go outside?”

I hear this more often from my staff. As the weekly 1 on 1 time comes up, I usually check if my scheduled meeting room is vacant and ready. Too often a previous meeting is running overtime or someone is squatting in the room I scheduled hoping that their possession of the room is all that matters. The battle is not worth it and actually, the loss of a meeting room is a blessing.

“Sure let’s go for a walk.” 

These walking meetings outside the office are now more common for me and now I plan most of my 1 on 1 meeting time with my team for outdoor walks. Our production reporting is open to all and we discuss their production and quality results throughout the week.  As such, I rarely need to display their results using a meeting room and yea, a walk is a great idea.

Actually a really great idea. Studies are beginning to show the impact of a walking meeting for problem-solving and supporting creative thinking. Harvard Business Review now has an article detailing how to do a walking meeting right (How to do a walking meeting right).

I recognize what other thought leaders also notice. While an eye-to-eye 1 on 1 meeting is great, there is something about a shoulder-to-shoulder meeting that is more powerful. I recently watched a video series on LinkedIn where their Chief Talent Officer, Pat Wabors used this term. She stressed the importance of a “shoulder to shoulder” walking meeting to connect with people and build belonging in the workplace. I could not agree more.

I do believe these walking meetings break down barriers and lead to an honest exchange. A recent study referenced in the HBR article (link above) states that participants involved in walking meetings are 8.5% more likely to report high levels of engagement.

So as we begin a new week, leaders plan for a walk for your 1 on 1 time with your team members. Let them choose the path to walk and move forward shoulder to shoulder.

 – WeMoveTogether



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