By taking the time to stop and think, team members can gain a better understanding of their role in the team's success and identify areas where they can improve. Research shows that teams are more effective when they harness cognitive diversity by doing things outside of their comfort zone and pausing to stop and think about what they are doing.
In a recent webinar, our Chief Thought Leader Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, and our Head of Content Ashley Blackburn shared evidence-based strategies for creating high-impact stop-and-think moments to maximize your team's effectiveness.
These strategies can help you create a more cohesive and productive team by encouraging individuals to pause and reflect on their work and the team's goals.
Unlock the Unbelievable Power of the Brain
What pulls your brain in different directions? How can the Whole Brain® Model help harness your thinking?
According to Ann, the one thing that you need to know about your brain that will change your life is that your brain is an automatic-pattern seeker and gap-filler. This allows us to see something, recognize it and then move on and not waste our precious brain energy on it.
Because we are experts at reading patterns and filling in the gaps, the challenge is that we tend to just run on automatic. The danger with just constantly running on automatic is, that your brain doesn't take advantage of all of the options that are available to you. To truly harness your thinking, you have to slow down. Examples of this include simple things such as taking a walk, getting outdoors, journaling, or sometimes merely taking a powernap can be enough.
Take a Mindful Moment
A wonderful way to quiet the mind is by doing a quick meditation every day using the Whole Brain® Model. Start by picking an object in the room to focus on. Ask yourself: what is this object called? What are its characteristics? What does it do?
Then we can proceed by asking How. How is this object used? How did I acquire it, and how is it helpful? Let your mind quietly wander through these questions, there are no right or wrong answers. Take a moment to ground yourself with the object.
Next, think about who uses this object. Who does it make me think of? The last thing to consider is why. Why...does this object matter? Why did I choose to focus on it? Maybe I felt drawn to it because of its color or texture? Just let your mind settle there and then slowly bring your mind back to reality. It is important to think about what this moment meant for you and if you feel more connected to your body and spirit. This exercise is a great way to walk through meditation in a Whole Brain® way.
Understand the Challenges Teams Face
We surveyed managers and teams about their top challenges and this is what they said. The number one concern is communication. Many people spend much of their lives in teams and when communication does not work, everything goes wrong. Some consequences of ineffective communication are that collaboration becomes hard and teams start becoming dysfunctional.
One of the solutions that Herrmann has found for the teams to allow them to slow down is to use a Stop and Think moment using Whole Brain® Thinking. If a team is stuck it is useful to ask the following questions: What is the specific problem and what do I already know about it? How is the problem playing out on my team? Think of specific times when you observed it. Who is affected by this problem and how are these challenges making them feel? Why does solving this problem matter? What might a solution enable? By taking a pause and asking these questions collectively as well as individually, companies can begin to address the challenges that we face in our day-to-day lives whether we are a manager or team members.
Check Out Research on Pressing Pause
What is the current thinking on slowing down, pressing pause, and being mindful at work? Deloitte's external marketplace survey of 1,000 employees found that as much as 77% of employees experienced burnout at their current job, and a surprising amount of 91% felt they had unmanageable stress and frustration that impacts work quality. Employees also feel that employers aren't doing enough to prevent burnout, most of them consistently work long hours as well as weekends.
Studies consistently show that taking breaks from work boosts energy, engagement, creativity, and productivity. These include a new study done by Tork and published in Forbes magazine, that shows the correlation between employee engagement and the long-lost lunch break as well as the 4-Day Workweek study featured in the New York Times. From the research, one thing is clear: Our brains need downtime.
Take Time for Stop & Think Moments
How can you take more Whole Brain® Breaks and integrate mindfulness into your everyday workday? By following these simple steps.
Firstly, understand your thinking preferences and potential through the HBDI® and the transformative power of the Whole Brain® Model. Then, share your thinking preferences with someone else and explore where your thinking aligns and diverges to improve your collaboration.
Maximize cognitive diversity to improve team effectiveness - making your team greater than the sum of its parts. Lastly, Harnessing Whole Brain® Thinking as a common language to create better strategy, culture, and leadership across the different levels of the organization.
Make Time for Action Planning
How can you stop and think individually, with a colleague, on your team, or at your organization? This can be done by creating gaps in your diary for pausing by setting your alarm to avoid long stretches of work. Actively setting shorter meetings, for example, instead of setting a meeting for 45 minutes, why not set it for 25 minutes? Taking a break by checking in on how a co-worker is doing.
The takeaway from all of this is that your brain desperately needs time to wind down. You own the power to harness your thinking, and you can significantly improve your team's productivity and success by allowing your brain to take a pause. By taking a break, even for just a few minutes, you can allow your brain to recharge and come back stronger than before. So next time you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a step back and give yourself some time to relax. Your brain will thank you for it.