A few weeks ago a client called me late on a Thursday asking to meet the following morning to discuss a staff issue that was troubling him. Now part of my routine is to try and do some walking in the lovely countryside in Hertfordshire to clear my mind and I had set aside that morning to go walking. I mentioned this and my client said “Well that’s alright come up here” (he lives in a lovely part of East Herts) “…and we can walk together”. So the following morning I arrived and we had a lovely walk and very productive it was too. We walked for about an hour and a half discussing his problem and then back to his place for a coffee and a further hour and a half of discussion. By giving it plenty of space and time we were able to resolve a number of issues that had been dragging on for him.
But as I say I do like walking anyway to clear my own mind and one of the popular routes I take from my house in North Hatfield is around Stanborough Lakes in Welwyn Garden City. It is about a mile or so’s walk to the park and there is a southern sailing lake with a road across the middle (and a tunnel by the river to connect them) and a northern lake that has a rowing boats and some islands plus lots of ducks and geese for the children to feed. I have got into the habit of doing a figure of 8 walk around the two lakes and then back again making a nice 4 mile walk, taking just over the hour (I am a fast walker!). Now one fine Saturday morning I had more time and wanted to make it longer. I did not feel like getting in the car and driving somewhere else and so I decided to fill in the areas on the way and around the park to make it a longer. What a revelation. I delved into nooks and crannies and areas not seen by me before. It gave me fresh views and perspectives that I had not appreciated.
And as always with my walks ideas for my mentoring practice and articles such as this came rushing through.
If we look at the walk and its route as a metaphor for a business, your business, how often do you take the straight route and ignore the periphery. How often in the morning do you walk straight into your office (an island on that lake for instance) and ignore the people on the way. During the day do your staff and others need to make a special effort to get see you on your exclusive island home? Do you know all the people in the business; do you make an effort to get round to them all every day?
Perhaps if we were to see the Northern Lake as your company or organisation and the Southern Lake as your market? Is there a big barrier like the road between the two? How close are you and your staff to the market? Do you fully explore all the opportunities that lie there? Do you know exactly what they are looking for?
So take a different route round your business and your market today. You will be surprised and amazed at the different perspective it gives you. So in conclusion if you want a walk, either in the countryside or round your business you know where to come!