In a February 2014, Harvard Business Review Blog, Dan Pallotta, wrote:
“A 2013 study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato from Leiden University found that people who go for a walk or ride a bike four times a week are able to think more creatively than people who lead a sedentary life.”
I was puzzled by this statement. Does walking really boost creativity? I decided to go for a walk to think about it. As I walked, I thought about my own uses of walking while working. Three examples popped into my head:
The first example is when I develop new training sessions. When I start thinking about a new leadership training session, I stand up, move around, and mind map on a white board. A video would show me pacing back-and-forth, moving to the board and away again, and sometimes swaying. This activity gets my “juices flowing” and I find myself more engaged in the process.
The second personal example happens in my coaching conversations. As part of several leadership academies I conduct, I do one-on-one coaching conversations over the phone. Coaching requires asking meaningful questions, intense listening, clarifying information, and encouraging behavior change. When I find myself challenged to stay engaged in the conversation because of the mental work it requires, I stand up and move around. This always helps me relax and think more clearly.
This last one was a little surprising to me. I have an urge to stand up and move when I am in meetings. Whether with a client or a training partner, I often stand up, grab a marker, and capture ideas. I am a huge proponent of visualizing ideas on flip charts or white boards, and I always find myself more engaged when I do this.
These are three of my examples of how walking fosters creativity in me. I’m curious to hear your experiences with walking and getting the innovative thoughts flowing.
This concludes my “Walking Culture” series. If you have not had a chance to read my last three blogs on this topic, I would encourage you to do so.
The Walking Culture – Part 1
The Walking Culture – Part 2: Learn
The Walking Culture – Part 3: Coach
The next blog is on saying “no!”