Mindfulness. Focused quiet time. Reflection. All the buzz at the moment. You know why? Because it works.
One of the things that I try and get every member of our team to practice each day is to have a few moments of quiet time. Just looking out the window or putting on the headphones or opening a book. Just some time to unplug. Especially our leadership team.
We all get caught up in the whirlwind that is the everyday, down and dirty tactical side of the business where it’s messy, tangled and stressful. It’s right to be in there getting the job done, moving initiatives forward, serving the markets. It’s what puts dollars on the ledger and keeps our customer served. However, a singular focus on the whirlwind can be soul draining and detrimental to the long term success of your team and the organization.
Leaders must be aware of the whirlwind phenomenon and continually look for ways to combat its negative side-effects and fatigue.
There are several ways to overcome whirlwind.<pullquote>“Keep the vision and key objectives firmly in view and talk about them regularly… </pullquote>
- Keep the vision and key objectives firmly in view and talk about them regularly.
- Execute with discipline and continually look for ways to drive effectiveness and efficiency so that you can remove bureaucracy from your team, and
- Quietus…that combination of focus, mindfulness and quiet time for transformative reflection.
The first two are pretty straight forward. The third one is less obvious, and in my experience, the hardest to actually do. When was the last time that you sat quietly for five minutes? No, I’m not talking about when you are taking a nap. I’m talking about a deliberate five minutes thinking about nothing. Going still.
I attended a conference where Jen was speaking and she asked the room to go quiet, close their eyes and go mindful for two minutes. It was the longest two minutes of the conference. People were clearly uncomfortable going deliberately quiet for any amount of time. I was uncomfortable and sneaking looks around the room because after 45 seconds I had to DO something. The lady sitting next to me whispered….”damn, this is hard.” I don’t think she thought anyone could hear her, but I agree. It was hard!
The point is, Quietus is important. In our wired, tuned-up and plugged-in world we simply have to take a moment to reboot. And there’s no better time than right in the middle of our busiest days. Our minds and bodies require it to function properly.
I have a dare for you. Tomorrow, set aside five minutes during your day to shut your door, close your eyes and think about absolutely nothing. Let me know if you can do it. I couldn’t the first few times I tried Quietus. But I’m sticking with it and learning how to get better at it. I’m not sure if it’s going to make me a better leader, but I believe I will be healthier and maybe live a bit longer. After all, what good am I to my team if I’m hurried and stressed out…or even worse, dead.
Have you noticed times when the whirlwind was consuming your team? Have you built time into your schedule for looking out the window?