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Business Leaders. 3 Great Reasons Not To Go Outdoors!

Posted: 8th June 2017

Recently we walked with the owners of content marketing company in the Mendip Hills, just south of Bristol.

The purpose was to help them think through some business issues. We do this sort of thing a lot. In fact we are leading a Fresh Air Business Walk in the Pentland Hills on Wednesday 5th July. We are about to re-base ourselves in Scotland, but that’s another story we will be sharing soon.

Back to the Mendips. Four of us. A short walk. Something like 6kms in under 2 hours. A gentle pace. Easy talking and laughter. With lots of stops to take in the views, listen to birdsong, and feel the breeze on our faces.

An early sandwich. And then back to the office. Mood changing. Uplifting. Inspiring. Energising. When did you last feel like this in a business meeting or workshop?

A creative thinking walk isn’t possible for many business leaders of course. Or is it? Here are 3 reasons why this is so evidently the case. You will know of other excuses reasons. Let us know.

#1 The tail wags the dog!

“Our days are just SO busy. All those anxious weekend and overnight emails, as well as the old smelly lurkers. I need my mornings to get stuck into these as well as chair a couple of really important meetings”.

Come on! You are a leader. A shaper of futures. And here you are dancing to the tune of other people’s emails. How about a simple out-of-office message that tells people you will look at emails in the afternoon (or whenever)? You have cleared the space; they know the score; everyone is cool.

Be more dog. Own your tail. Don’t overthink it. Just get out and give it a go. What’s the worst that could happen….

#2 Bad things could happen!

“If I am not there to answer questions, give direction, and provide “tone” it could all fall apart!”
Oh really! Sounds like you are a brilliant doer of stuff with a time horizon measured in hours. Not the architect of your business’ future.

So here’s an idea. Put something in your diary which says “this morning/day/week I am going to be a leader, do leader’y stuff, do some powerful thinking, have significant conversations, attend to my personal wellness and resilience” etc.. Use your task management skills to task manage your business’ leadership needs!

#3 What if? What if…

“I don’t know these people. What if the weather is bad? What’s the value of this investment in my time? I might give it a go someday.”

Great points. You are a leader operating in a complex and challenging business environment. You are an expert at balancing risk and opportunity. You understand the need for external expertise and collaborations. And you are constantly looking to innovate.

So, here’s what you do. Do some due diligence (start with the almost weekly media articles around the business value of walking, talking, and thinking in the outdoors (here is one for starters); personally model the experimentation mindset that underpins your claims to be agile and innovative; and COMMIT. There are seven days in the week and SOMEday isn’t one of them


When you do commit to be more dog and go outdoors, do so as part of a group or one of your formed teams. Large or small, it doesn’t matter. It’s a bit of a cop out to go on your own. Ok, that’s a bit harsh – the point is that there is huge power to be had in bouncing and building fresh ideas with others. Group dialogue. But you know this.

Go on, give it a go. Here are 7 Great Reasons to do so. Oh, and why don’t you join us in the Pentlands on Wednesday 5th July?

The Fresh Air Learning Company is on a mission to breathe fresh air into how ambitious companies think and act; and in particular to accelerate the effectiveness and resilience of their key teams and leaders.

The company specialises in immersive outdoor team experiences and inspirational leadership journeys. Team experiences are designed to develop the self-awareness and trusting relationships required to boost performance. Leadership journeys provide the space and inspiration for leaders to reflect, refocus and re-energise around the big steps they need to take.Team experiences range from reflective Board away-days to powerful simulations set within dramatic storylines. Leadership journeys range from half-day business leader walks to multi-day, creative thinking treks through the Scottish Highlands.

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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