March 14, 2012

Brain Brushing

This was one of the most viewed blogs I've ever written so I thought it deserved a second run.

Daniel Siegel makes an excellent case for the benefits of mindfulness and integration.

For an organisational system to work at its best, there needs to be an open flow of energy and information promoting engagement, creativity and receptiveness. When there is this flow of energy and information between independent and integrated parts of the system, you have harmonic balance.

This is further supported when people's secret passions are linked to the overall aims of the company and their special talents are honored for the unique contribution they bring to the system. People want to know they matter and are part of a greater whole. Our brain is a social organ.

Since 1995, we've seen this happening real life in our peak performance and alignment initiatives. When teams and companies bring everyone together inside common passions and goals, they achieve enormous gains in their critical key performance indicators such as sales and revenue by as much as 70 per cent.

Culture eats strategy for lunch.

Impaired integration leads to dysfunction, chaos, war. Some of you may be nodding your heads at this point.

What's a leader's role in all of this?

A leader needs to provide a "Yes" environment, understand relationships and promote healthy mind-sets. Just as Michelangelo said an artist's job is to free the statue from the stone. A leader must get the junk out of the way to allow for natural genius to arise.

Try this on:

Notice how your employees experience and behave, and what results they produce when working in a "No" environment. Expect to find they experience being under threat, feel unsafe or judged, are defensive and unproductive. That's how people operate in a "No" state.

Conversely, notice how your employees respond in a "yes" state. They'll be open, engaged, relaxed, motivated, receptive, creative and highly productive.

What enables leaders to build and maintain a "Yes" environment? First, it's imperative to have a natural inner awareness and self-modulation. You don't know what you don't know how some of your behaviours impact your people's performance.

As people aren't taught to monitor their emotional states, Daniel suggested we try this short exercise to build that inner awareness. It's quite powerful and only takes five minutes a day to build mindfulness. As anyone can spare five minutes (if you think you can't, we really should talk), this is an easy win for you and your people.

Brain Brushing starts by just noticing your breath as you breathe in and out. Notice how your breath may come from deep in your abdomen, high in your chest or anywhere in between. Then place your awareness on your breath as you breathe in and out, and keep your focus only on your breath.

If your mind gets distracted, gently take note of that and refocus your attention on the breath.

Do this for five minutes. Notice how much clearer your mind is and how much more present you are in the moment. Practice it enough times and you may find it becomes your natural state.

Consider this is just like dental health maintenance. Would you go a day without brushing your teeth?

Try it for a week and notice the difference.

Send me a note - I'd really love to know!

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