Walking The Talk


Walking The Talk
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Walking the Talk

It is amazing at how often aspects of life come around in cycles. The walking meeting, which is now starting to make more traction in the business world, is no different.

In an Inspiring Great Leaders (previously active CEO) Podcast interview with former Sport Australia CEO, Kate Palmer, we talked about how she utilises walking meetings and the importance of encouraging her staff to do the same. Kate takes incorporating movement with meetings a step further by sitting on an exercise bike, which she recently placed in her office, and riding while on conference calls. She is also considering putting a second bike in her office, to encourage visitors to join her for a ride when having a face-to-face meeting.

Some of the world’s most influential people, such as Aristotle, Beethoven and Queen Elizabeth I, have used the tool to great effect. Now it is common for CEO’s and leaders of some of the world’s most high profile companies such as LinkedIn and Facebook to make walking meetings a daily habit.

Studies are demonstrating that exercise, including walking, alters our brain by stimulating the growth of new brain cells, improving its plasticity and even protecting the brain from cognitive impairment.

Your mind is no different to the muscles in your body. If you stress a muscle, it will become fatigued and therefore lead to a reduction in performance. You then rest or deploy recovery strategies, the muscle recovers and physiological processes occur which allow your performance to improve to a new level. The brain works in the same way when it is stimulated, with new brain cells forming and an increase in cognitive function occurring when you give it a rest, allowing you to think clearer and open up more creative ideas and solutions to come to fruition.

There are the health benefits of fresh air (depending on what location you are in), getting the body moving, and the mental relaxation that tends to occur when we are surrounded by nature and a change in scenery. Walking allows the brain to reduce lingering doubt and procrastination that tends to occur when remaining in a single location while completing work.

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It has also been shown that positive influences on our mental function and cognitive ability occur when our bodies are moving. Going for a walk has been noted to release beneficial hormones such as endorphins so we feel better and more alert, while also encouraging creativity and inspiration.

A 2017 Stanford University study found that walking encouraged divergent thinking. The increase in divergent thinking occurred no matter whether the exercise occurred prior to or during thinking through a question, problem or puzzle they faced. The activity of walking or other exercise triggers greater creativity, and therefore patterns of ideas that come to mind.

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Anecdotal evidence has found that honest exchanges between people are more productive when walking than when people are sitting. It is believed that walking enables barriers are reduced between supervisors and subordinates, enhancing employee engagement. It is thought that walking side-by-side relates more to peer-to-peer, therefore removing some of the hierarchical barriers than can occur when sitting across from each other, when having discussions.

If you want to enhance the effectiveness of your walking meetings, try incorporating some fun and choosing a change in scenery, stick to small groups of two to four people, avoid going near cafes or food stands, and reduce the element of surprise by giving your colleagues some lead time on having a walking meeting.


Clayton, R., Thomas, C., & Smothers, J. (2015). How to do Walking Meetings Right. Harvard Business Review, August 2015. link

Malleret, T., Maxwell, C. (2018). Enhance Decision Making and Problem Solving by Walking. Wharton Business School, Sep 2018. link

Oppezzo, M., & Schwartz, D. L. (2014). Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(4), 1142-1152.


To learn more about proactively planning your recovery and scheduling your energy, please DOWNLOAD the Break the CEO Code Whitepaper


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Are You Living Link
People Are Our Greatest Assets Link
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Savvy Dentist Podcast Craig Johns Atomic Pressure

Savvy Dentist Podcast – Business Lessons from Sporting Legends with Craig Johns

Atomic pressure, the gap between excellent and elite, why Michael Phelps and the All Blacks sustain enduring success, CEO Periodization, planning a career sabbatical, and what it takes to follow your own race in sport, business and in life.

I must say, this podcast is right up there as one of my favorite interviews. Enjoy also getting an insight into how I approach sport as an elite athlete and coach. Thanks Jesse.

Learn the steps you need to take to become an elite performer in your field. Craig Johns, a high performance leadership expert, coach and speaker shares his expertise on this subject today. Craig has been involved in the sporting industry for many years and is able to see potential and help people fulfil their potential. Today, Craig unpacks the steps that are relevant and applicable for you in your dental practice to help you achieve extraordinary results.  

  • [02:16] The story of how Craig came into the sporting industry. 
  • [08:34] Observations around the gap between excellent and elite. 
  • [11:29] Focusing on your own race and goals and improving those instead of other peoples’ races. 
  • [14:15] Explaining the gap between excellent and elite. 
  • [16:30] How to manage performing under pressure. 
  • [19:22] Definition of success and the role it plays in performance. 
  • [21:43] Creating flow of elite performance at a team level. 
  • [25:12] Enduring success rather than fleeting success. 
  • [28:11] The biggest difference between sport and business. 
  • [31:49] Craig’s advice for achieving long term success. 
  • [40:00] Thoughts on how a sabbatical can be achieved for business owners. 

Listen to the Podcast Interview



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People Are Our Greatest Assets

By Craig Johns

There is nothing more beautiful than teaching and coaching people. The immense pride and enjoyment you get out of seeing someone grow is supported by the benefits you receive by teaching and coaching. You learn more about yourself, you tend to reflect on your own habits and routines, and you provide an opportunity to learn new ways of doing things.

“People learn the most when teaching others.”


As a CEO or leader you have a huge responsibility to not only prepare your people for their work, but also prepare them for life. More than just teaching skills, you have an obligation to teach them to find and understand their purpose. Once people understand their purpose, you then have to work with them to connect it with the purpose of the company and the work they are completing.

People Are Our Greatest Assets

People are the only sustainable thing in an organization or a team. The New Zealand All Black Rugby Team’s win-rate over the last 100 years is over 75 per cent. It’s a phenomenal record, and an achievement matched by no other elite team, in any code, around the globe. However, in 2004 the All Blacks weren’t in a great place with team culture issues, low morale, disjointed purpose and declining performance.

“Better people make better All Blacks – but they also make better doctors and lawyers, bankers and businessmen, fathers, brothers, and friends.”


The team management and senior players came together and decided that they needed a fresh culture, where individual character and personal leadership were emphasized. They developed a new mantra, ‘Better People Make Better All Blacks’. This resulted in a remarkable turnaround with the team achieving a win-rate of just over 90%, and two Rugby World Cup’s, since 2004. They literally ‘swept the sheds’ and turned the focus to ‘leaving the jersey in a better place’.

There is nothing more rewarding than teaching people to become better than ourselves. Many CEO’s and leaders are afraid of the people they work with becoming better skilled, better leaders and better people than they are. It’s all about ego, and they need to realize that way of thinking is hindering the progress of both the company and themselves. As a CEO and leader, you need to learn how to create a mindset where you are proud of people growing above you, rather than being afraid of it.

“Understanding this responsibility creates a compelling sense of higher purpose. It’s a good lesson for us all: if we play a bigger game, we play a more effective game.”


When people are buying a product, they are looking for an emotional connection, rather than a material connection. Your people are at the heart of creating the emotional connection the buyers crave. It is important that you create an environment where your people are passionate about selling an experience, a new way of doing something, a feeling or a dream. As they say, ‘people sell, not products’.

People Are Our Greatest Assets

People are more interested in the ‘why you are doing’ rather than ‘what you are doing’ when it comes to joining your community, purchasing a product or doing a deal with you. Why did the company begin, why does it act and interact in the way it does, and why do your people turn up every day? Your people need to be aligned in the collective purpose of the company, be passionate about the purpose, and live and breathe it every day.

“Give a man a fish; feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish; feed him for a lifetime.”


Enjoyment and happiness are the number one retention tools in the world. For people to enjoy their work and be happy in the workplace, they need positive relationships, purposeful work, opportunities to learn and grow, and have some ‘skin in the game’. Forget a tunnel-vision focus on the bottom line and profit aligned productivity, and begin focusing on creating an enjoyable and happy place, that people love turning up to every day.


Appreciation and recognition drive the human spirit. Confidence and self-esteem are some of the most vulnerable human characteristics. We often look for the negative things, those that aren’t going right and focus on them, rather than emphasizing the great things people are doing. If you are always focusing on the negative aspects of your companies or peoples work, you are not going to develop trust and the loyalty of your people.

“Tell me and I forget,
teach me and I will remember,
involve me and I will learn.”


Look at ways you can reward and recognize the efforts of your people, more often. This helps to build confidence and self-esteem, especially if you can create an environment where people feel appreciated for their work, while also learning how to improve in areas that need attention. Remember, without confidence it is impossible for people to perform at their best. Just watch a tennis tournament.

Your people are your greatest asset. Take the time to communicate with your people, listen to them, and ask questions that improve their understanding, and bring them closer to the purpose of the company and what they want to achieve in life. Find ways to reflect on how you interact with your people and seek new ways to communicate more effectively. You have a great responsibility!

“If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed;
If in terms of ten years, plant trees;
If in terms of 100 years, teach the people.”


Remember, people are our greatest assets.


It’s All About Trust Link
Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong? Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link


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