Is there anything worse than sitting in a long meeting when there is a beautiful day slipping by outside? Next time you are in that situation, why not suggest a walking meeting to change things up.I first read about the idea of walking meetings in Steve Jobs’ book but it initially slipped by as part of the story. But with summer currently gracing New Zealand with its wonderful presence, I was reminded of the concept not long ago when I saw a group of business people walk past our offices in deep discussion on a beautiful day. I must admit that I was envious of them out enjoying the good weather while still taking care of business. So I decided to give it a go and last week when the need for a one on one meeting arose with a team member, I suggested a walking meeting. What a fantastic idea that turned out to be!
We wandered out the front gate, turned left and just went for it. 20 minutes, plenty of discussion and some fresh air later we arrived back at the office feel great, meeting adjourned. It’s also surprising how much a small amount of exercise during the day helps you refocus once you get back to your desk. I understand that it’s not always a practical option, but for a casual meeting or a chat with your team, a walking meeting makes for a refreshing change.
Since my earliest days in the workforce, gossip in the workplace has never been dealt with all that well by companies I have worked for. It always gets treated like the Elephant in the Room, everyone knows it exists but it just gets accepted as the norm and inevitable.
Left unchecked, gossip in the workplace can have a seriously damaging effect on both staff morale and efficiency. This isn’t ‘who had lunch with who’ type gossip we’re talking about. This is gossip about workplace related issues that are far easier to complain to the wrong person about, than sit down and resolve with the appropriate people.
In a small business, negative gossip about the company or people can be damaging to staff morale and can spiral out of control very quickly. Lower staff numbers mean less people need to talk to one another to pass around a story or opinion. On the upside, it also means the situation is quicker and simpler to deal with than in larger organisations, and the solution starts with you!
A decision to deal with workplace gossip head-on must from the leader(s) in the form of honest, open communication and confrontation of issues when they arise. Work with your direct reports on creating a culture where it is OK to call out people when they are gossiping and encourage them to deal with the issue rather than just talking about it.
To do this you can’t ‘be a chicken’. You need to be able to have the difficult (but extremely important) conversations and open up a path of clear communication between yourself and your team. Although it is sometimes a difficult step to take, the outcome is incredibly rewarding and it will also help establish you a reputation as an honest and trusted leader.
The festive season has rolled around yet again and often it can fly by too fast without being fully appreciated. I personally love Christmas, it provides a couple of days where family is first and business is second (something that unfortunately, seldom happens when you are running a small business). If you need to work on Christmas Day, your business has serious problems!
As with any break away from work, the lead up is generally hectic trying to get everything in order for the period when you aren’t in the office. Simple courtesies pass by the wayside without thought or consideration. But before you leave the office to head away for the holidays, it is invaluable to put some time aside to let your staff know how much you appreciate the hard work they put in throughout the year.
For me this year, ‘thank you’ was a simple (but personalised) gift for my staff and a couple of private minutes with each of them individually to tell them how much I appreciate the work they put in during 2012. Needless to say there were hugs and handshakes flowing and a positive outlook for 2013!