3 Daily Practices for Mindful Teams

“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.” – Robin S. Sharma

I still remember the first time we used “gratitudes and intentions” to start one of our client meetings.

The CEO immediately responded and said, “Are you trying to bring some touchy feely activity to our office?”

I responded with a big smile, “Let’s try something different. Who wants to go first?”

I felt his sigh followed by a roll of the eyes and waited for one of his Executives to go first.

Then the unexpected happened and surprised all of us.

As we went around the table to hear each person share one gratitude and their intention for the meeting, one of the senior leaders shared a gratitude that brought him to tears. The individual shared how grateful he was for his wife and children.

It was a moment of vulnerability that the CEO did not anticipate. He leaned in and was completely engaged to hear the rest of his Leaders share. After the meeting, he committed to using the same mindful activity in future meetings.

There is a lot of hype about mindfulness but few really know what it truly means to be more mindful.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, defines mindfulness as “…paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally”.

Daniel Goleman, author of The New York Times bestseller book Emotional Intelligence, defines mindfulness as being “Intentional about your attention”.

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests, emotional intelligence training, and emotional intelligence certification. He states, “Mindfulness is the simple act of focusing all of your attention on the present.”

The common theme on mindfulness from all three thought leaders is bringing our level of attention to the everyday moments in our life.

How does that translate into the workplace and support teams?

Well, imagine if teams were paying more attention.

Here are the possible benefits:

  1. Teams have more focus. Individual contributors on a team who pay more attention can see clearly through all the distractions and obstacles and focus on what needs to get done.
  2. Teams are energized. Rather than drain their mental and emotional energy on reliving the past or worrying about the future, the team’s energy is fueled by what’s happening right now.
  3. Teams are more creative. When the attention is here and now, their brains are more open to possibilities and the creative juices start to flow.
  4. Teams are more aligned. With more awareness, team members can see and feel one another. If one person is feeling down or frustrated, the team will notice and support them immediately.
  5. Teams care more. When teams are focused in the present moment, they start to realize all the great things that are going well. This gratitude feeling brings teams together and creates compassion, empathy, and collaboration.

Mindful teams simply have it together. They are unstoppable and lead the way.

Here are three daily practices that your team can start today:

Mindful Team Practice #1: At the beginning of each day, gather your team members and have each person share the “one thing” they will focus on. Give each person 30 seconds to share.

Mindful Team Practice #2: Start your team meetings with having each person answer these questions: “What I hope to gain in today’s meeting is…” and “What I will contribute to today’s meeting is…” OPTIONAL: At the end of your meeting, have each person share “What is your biggest takeaway or learning from today?” or “What is your inspired action from today’s meeting?”

Mindful Team Practice #3: Have each team member reflect on the following questions at the end of their day: “What did I learn today?”, “Who did I support on the team?”, “What will I do differently tomorrow?”, “Which of my personal and/or company core values did I demonstrate today and how?”

There are so many other ideas that I can share, but since we are focusing on the now, let’s start with just one of these.

If your team is already practicing the above mindful tips, what is a new mindful team practice that your team can start today?

I would love to hear how your experience went. Share in the comments below and connect with me today!

To learn more about mindfulness and mindful workplaces, join me at the 54th Annual  Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) Conference and Tradeshow on April 26 and 27, 2016. I will be facilitating a workshop on “The Power of Mindfulness in the Workplace” on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. #HRMA2016

Lorie Corcuera