Dr Simon Hayward, CEO of Cirrus, Global Lead for Leadership and Culture at Accenture, and author of The Agile Leader and Connected Leadership, explains how nature gives him inspiration.
When I need space to think, I step away from my desk and into the wide world of nature. It was wonderful to escape to the Highlands of Scotland recently. Travelling through wild, open landscapes past deep, expansive lochs gave me much-needed time and space to reflect and recharge.
There’s a body of research that demonstrates how being outside in nature boosts our creativity, helps us to focus and to forge new connections. I’m fortunate to live on the edge of the beautiful Peak District, and I enjoy running in the hills. Immersing myself in nature helps me to step away from the everyday. My favourite time of day to run is early in the morning, before the rest of the world wakes up. It’s when I’m out running in nature, with time and space to reflect, that I often come up with my best ideas.
During the first lockdown, I quickly felt how much getting out into nature was helping me and wanted to encourage colleagues to get away from their desks and to get outside. More than one year on and my team still share photographs of walks, runs, gardening and other outdoor activities.
It’s easy for leaders to get caught up in frantic day-to-day activity, and often challenging to move away from the meeting madness to focus on the big organisational priorities that require deeper thought, such as purpose, vision and values.
Stepping outside can spark the innovative ideas that help us to thrive. When getting into the rhythm of my morning runs and focusing on simply putting one foot in front of the other, it clears my mind and I am able to concentrate on one big idea. While I don’t believe we have all the answers right now, much like running or walking I believe there’s a lot to be gained from the journey that’s ahead of us all.
© Management Today 2022