Leading Mindfully

One study found that only 14% of people understood their company’s strategy and only 24% felt the strategy was linked to their individual accountabilities. On the contrary, people’s depth of commitment increases when they, not their leader, are talking.

If we accept this study at face value and I think we should be based on lots of other similar outcomes I have seen, our organizations are in crisis.

If less than a quarter of your team is pulling in the same direction you are trying to lead that means 75% of your energy is wasted. How long will a company survive if they pissed away 75% of their budget on useless things?

I have talked previously in this blog about how too many business owners confuse their to-do list with being their job. Yes, there are items we have to do. My NY license plates had expired and I was required to get my new Virginia plates. The fact this was a required to do, in no way releases me from being thoughtful about living my life and running my business in the best way I can.

I have frequently been criticized in both lives in business for not being busy enough. I have been viewed as lazy by hyper-high energy people (which I find fascinating because lots of other folks talk about my high energy). Is it lazy to be thoughtful?

Clarity takes effort, lots of effort. It is easy to be busy and ineffective. To be clear so that people throughout our organizations understand is hard.

Clarity is a form of wisdom. As I often say wisdom is not the sole venue for older people. Anyone can put in the effort to mindfully develop brain coherence and develop wisdom.

How do we know if we are clear communicators? Listen? Can folks repeat back to you the agreed-upon objective and timeline in their own words? Did they write it down?  

Everyone is different. When introduced to someone verbally there is an almost 0% chance I will remember their name. If I get handed a business card or see it written out somehow my chances of remembering your name go up dramatically although not ever my personal strength. My point here is do you know your team well enough and have enough respect to communicating in a way that is most effective for them? If you are so busy ticking things off your to-do list, I think you don’t. An act of understanding like that takes a few quiet thoughtful moments.

This leads to one practice we have done for years in all staff meetings of three or more. We start with a 5-minute silent meditation. It is easily comfortable and highly effective. It lets participants let go of their day up to that point and really be present in the meeting. On one non-profit board, I was on a dear friend an attorney always commented if was always the calmest 5 minutes of his month.

So, we have collectively acknowledged we are pissing away 75% of our human resource budget. Yet the silent meditation example above illustrates how simple choices are mindfully applied and have big impacts.

If you company went from wasting 75% to achieving peak performance 75% of the time what would that mean to you and your company?

Imagine less stress and more profit. Imagine more progress on your values and more profit. Imagine the celebration with your significant other when you come home with less stress, more money, more recognition, and more gratitude for the progress you made on your values.

Sounds good right?

We know it’s possible. It has been done.

Do you have clarity on your next steps?
Do you have clarity on your next steps?

The idea of flow (the creator of the term and concept sadly just recently died at 86) is widely discussed. Many folks have achieved it in the arts, sports, and yes business. Sadly, few can do it on command myself included, yet as time passes it does come more easily. Writing this blog post feels better than I anticipated, HA!

What if I said organizations 2.0 will be about team flow? Imagine if most of your team much of the time we’re operating at this higher level? Would that be considered 75% effective? Is that a business owner’s dream come true?

If you said yes to that, put down your dam to-do list and get intentional about yourself and your team.

Music groups, team sports can both be examples of team flow. Performance 2.0. I recently read an article while not yet successful scientists are trying to understand what is going in our brains with this very real phenomenon.

At my Fintech start-up client, we recently did a Vision Mission, and Values visioning exercise. It was amazing. Everyone commented on the coherence we reached. It was a diverse group of marketing sales, tech architects, coders, and business folks the makeup of which the UN would be proud of having. Everyone seems to understand it is vital to know what business we are in, to have clarity on what we want to be before we try to be it.

So, what do you do today? Start with yourself. The macho work to you drop busy culture must die. It needs to be replaced self-care that benefits you and is inclusive of how you interact with others. Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, time in nature I have a list of 10 scientifically shown activities that will create the brain coherence you desire. It needs to be a daily practice; you need to be intentional and be willing to let go.  

Like anything makes it a habit. Good habits just might save humanity, not very exciting, yet very probable true.

Next, find a way to bring this into your culture at work. Start slow, you are not trying to be an overnight sensation. Let go of your expectations and just know that the results you desire are slowly and steadily arriving.

This may not be for everyone on your team. Don’t force it. Do be proactive with future hires. Hire for the culture you want.

This is not a promise of overnight success. You are likely wasting 75% of your people budget, what do you have to lose?

Do you spend enough time listening to your people? Or are you always busy telling them what is next on their today list?

Coherence, clarity, and wisdom can be yours.

Hiring people means there is too much for you to do. Why only get part of that “too much” done? When you can get it all and more.

If I had a nickel for every time a business owner said to me if my people just worked like I do it would be fine. They are not you. You need to adapt to bring out the best of who they are.  Mindfully set standards for them and let them lead and do it “their” way.

Having team 2.0 in the flow is a big topic. This blog is meant as an introduction so you can start down a path that is a lifelong commitment. You will stumble, you will as get more than you ever imagined.

Want more, reach out. This is our life’s work, and we love sharing.





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