I love to take walks...at work. Walking gets so much more accomplished, helps build better relationships, and allows me to get my work done faster.
Think about how many people you email each day that only sit a few feet away or are maybe in the next building over from yours. Think about how many email messages you send that might have struck the wrong cord, were misinterpreted, or led to confusion and delay. Then think about how many personal conversations you have had that delivered similar results. If you are like many of us, the number of email messages that went wrong over our careers far outweighs the number of conversations that ended poorly. So much is left to interpretation in email messages that is simply avoided in person.
According to the Pragmatic Marketing annual survey in 2008*, Product Managers receive 50 email messages a day and send 25. Let's assume you are like most Product Managers and send 25 messages a day. Now, I want to throw out a challenge to you: don't send that next email message. Get up from your desk and deliver it personally. Make this a daily habit.
For many years in my career I worked at HP where Management by Walking Around (MBWA) was highly valued. You could be more in touch with the people you worked with, have a better handle on the tasks and even emotions at hand, and develop stronger relationships with your colleagues by walking around on a regular basis.
Walking is not only good for your health, it makes you a better Product Manager. A key responsibility of Product Managers is to coordinate activities, schedules, and agreements between many stakeholders across the company. You need to influence others and keep everyone on the same page. You handle stressful decisions and cool heated emotions as deadlines approach and sleep deprivation of team members increases. Walking around gives you a chance to connect with your colleagues, key business stakeholders, and managers. Walking around gives you a chance to listen, to excite others, and be responsive to others in an immediate sense.
Before you decide to write that next email....STOP. Get up. Walk.
If this did not get you motivated for a walk, read this tweet from Business Week's JohnAByrne"Obesity: Now 9% of All Health Spending" http://tinyurl.com/kpbwuf.
Next week, think about coming back to this site to let me know how well your walks turned out.
Many of the comments below were copied from Product Managers who read this article on LinkedIn.