Next Steps to Mindful Leadership: 2. A Great Hack for Introducing Meaningful Communication and Teamwork: The Daily StandUp

Next Steps to Mindful Leadership: 2. A Great Hack for Introducing Meaningful Communication and Teamwork: The Daily StandUp

2. A GREAT HACK FOR INTRODUCING MEANINGFUL COMMUNICATION AND TEAMWORK: THE DAILY STANDUP MEETING

 

Grant Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | A Great Hack for Introducing Meaningful Communication and Teamwork - The Daily Standup Meeting | ImageAnother example of getting participants present in meetings comes from Verne Harnish. I had been introduced to the concept of a stand-up meeting in a talk I attended about the Ritz Carlton’s famous service model. Verne further refined this concept for me with a three-step process, and I used it to great effect in a beleaguered organization I was asked to come and work with and reform:

This company’s flagship facility was struggling on every metric. There was a team of talented managers and department heads, but they were operating in silos. Within the first week of arriving, I decided to institute a daily stand-up. Normally, I would have started conducting these types of meetings weekly, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Now in the stand-up, we stood (hard to be on your phone when you’re standing in a circle facing each other), and each person briefly (ideally sixty seconds or less – this takes practice) reflected on the following:

Three Questions for a Daily Stand-Up Meeting of Managers or Department Heads:

  1. What things of note have transpired for you and your department since the last meeting?
  1. What do you plan to achieve before the next scheduled meeting?
  1. Please share the rocks in your shoes. What challenges are you facing and what issues are getting in your way or holding you back?

Grant Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | A Great Hack for Introducing Meaningful Communication and Teamwork - The Daily Standup Meeting | Teamwork and Communication ImageWhen we started, these managers were none too happy to be meeting on a daily basis, recounting their woes and what they planned to do about them. There was nowhere to hide, and as the posturing and objections subsided these meetings began to make them focus their thinking on what was really going on in their department and what they were doing about it.

Most importantly, it gave them a valuable insight into each other’s department and over time teamwork grew out of improved communications which drove empathy and understanding. In short order, this flagship facility shifted course and began performing as it had in its heyday, many years before. Rocks became pebbles and pebbles became grains of sand.

This is a pointed example of getting leaders to be present. And for me, it reinforced the incredible value of short, sharp, focused meetings with a simple agenda.

There are many ways in which you set the stage for yourself, and others, to be truly present in your communications. Minimizing distractions, removing barriers, having ground rules and focus, will all assist in your efforts to consciously connect in all your communications.

Visit the other 2 chapters of “Next Steps Toward Mindful Leadership”:

1. Setting the Stage for Meaningful Interactions and Effective Communication

2. A Great Hack for Introducing Meaningful Communication and Teamwork – The Daily Standup

3. The Heart & Soul of Communication – Visual and Auditory Connection

Get In Touch

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Charlottesville, Virginia

434.996.5510

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The Next Steps to Mindful Leadership: 3. The Heart & Soul of Communication: Visual & Auditory Connection

The Next Steps to Mindful Leadership: 3. The Heart & Soul of Communication: Visual & Auditory Connection

3. THE HEART & SOUL OF COMMUNICATION: VISUAL & AUDITORY CONNECTION

 

Visual Connection

Visual information that we take in and process enables us to interpret meaning from what we see. This interpretation plays a critical role in our day-to-day interactions. In seeking to understand someone, his or her motivations and intentions, the visual cues we receive (aka body language), can significantly impact your interpretation of the conversation.

Grant Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | The Heart and Soul of Communication: Visual and Auditory Connection | Eye Contact ImageAre you connecting visually when you meet someone, or when you are in a conversation or meeting?

A great place to practice this art is when you first meet someone. My wife and I have coached our kids to look someone in the eye when they first meet them. To connect visually with that person, shake their hand, or acknowledge them as the circumstances may demand. This is tough for a teenager. Not only because they may lack confidence around adults, but also because adults typically don’t pay a lot of heed to kids (a big mistake in my mind).

What our kids have found when they do look the adult in the eye and confidently connect with them, is that the adult’s response changes. The interaction has meaning. There’s a basis of respect established. It amplifies them in the eyes of the person with whom they’re interacting.

Grant Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | The Heart and Soul of Communication: Visual and Auditory Connection | Eye Contact Cheers ImageAnother example of making that visual connection relates to my wife. She is Czech, and as a result I have been exposed to a lot of toasts (the Czechs are the #1 beer drinking nation, per capita, in the world). The Czech toast is “Na zdraví!” which means “to your health.” Upon announcing “Na zdraví!”, each person clinks glasses with the other people in the toast. Making eye contact with each person individually is critical though, and you would be considered rude if you didn’t connect visually with the other people in the toast.

This experience completely changed my perspective on this exchange of good will. Being Australian, I am very familiar with toasting, but I realized when I met our Czech relatives, that most of us are missing an incredibly important ingredient when we say “cheers.” We’re missing the opportunity of conscious visual connection with the person to whom we were wishing “good health”.

This might seem like a funny anecdote, but it was much more than that for me. It showed me how routinely we didn’t connect, eye-to-eye, with those we meet and interact. It demonstrated to me the significant difference between saying the words that usually carry little meaning or context, and truly connecting with that individual.

If we can extend this concept into conversations and meetings and constantly seek to connect visually with the speaker, or with those we’re speaking to, the quality of the exchange goes up exponentially. When we turn our body to the speaker and look the speaker in the eye we establish a connection words cannot hope to achieve in isolation.

Added bonus, the person who is speaking will become more connected with you, too. If you make a point of looking into the eyes of the person who is speaking to you, or the group, you’ll find their attention drawn to you.

 

Auditory Focus

If you have a visual connection, listening to the person’s words just got a lot easier.

Grant Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | The Heart and Soul of Communication: Visual and Auditory Connection | Listening ImageWhen you’re bringing in visual and auditory information from one focal point you’re doing what you’re innately wired to do. You’re connecting all the words and visual cues to form a more cohesive and complete picture of what the speaker is trying to impart.

Another example of getting participants present in meetings comes from Verne Harnish. I had been introduced to the concept of a stand-up meeting in a talk I attended about the Ritz Carlton’s famous service model. Verne further refined this concept for me with a three-step process, and I used it to great effect in a beleaguered organization I was asked to come and work with and reform:

This company’s flagship facility was struggling on every metric. There was a team of talented managers and department heads, but they were operating in silos. Within the first week of arriving, I decided to institute a daily stand-up. Normally, I would have started conducting these types of meetings weekly, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Now in the stand-up, we stood (hard to be on your phone when you’re standing in a circle facing each other), and each person briefly (ideally sixty seconds or less – this takes practice) reflected on the following:

The 6 Fundamentals of Active Listening Include:

  • Refocus when you recognize that your mind has wandered.
    • Even if you’re not distracted by devices or other people, your mind will wander. It’s inevitable. When you are distracted, or wandering off, what’s important is to Zoom back in on the speaker and their words, every time you find yourself drifting.
  • Create a mental picture of key words or phrases to describe in your mind’s eye what you’re hearing.
    • When you’re in a conversation, or a meeting, try and create a mental picture of key words or phrases to describe in your mind’s eye what you’re hearing. This skill forces you to focus on the meaning of what is being said and not just the words.

  • Stay away from formulating your response and just listen.
    • If you’re in an interactive communication, it’s quite normal to be forming your thoughts and responses and tuning out what is being said. Even though this is natural, it also disconnects you from the speaker’s words. If you find yourself formulating a response and not truly listening, bring your attention back to the key words and phrases. This discipline improves your listening skills enormously and makes you a good listener.

  • Pace yourself with the speaker to give them time to process.
    • The last point brings up another important listening skill, and that is to pace yourself with the speaker. Meaning: give people processing time. In turn, hopefully the person you’re communicating with will reciprocate by giving you the time and space to gather your thoughts, after you’ve listened intently to them.

  • Successful communication is a two-way street. Ask for attention if necessary.
    • Then there’s the gift of reciprocation. Communicating successfully is a two-way street. Obviously, we hope that the person on the other side of the conversation is working as hard as you are to be a good and active listener. If they’re not, it is incumbent on you to ask for their attention. That can be hard, and sometimes intimidating, but if you’re devoting your time and attention to a communication, it is not unreasonable to ask that person or people involved, to reciprocate appropriately.

  • Ask questions and seek to understand and interject at appropriate junctures.

    • Lastly, good listening often involves asking questions; seeking to further understand; interjecting at appropriate junctures to ensure you’re interpreting the message accurately. This is part of the art of listening involves staying focused on the speaker’s words, framing them in your mind, and in turn paraphrasing them at appropriate junctures.

As I discussed in my original piece, “Three Foundations and The First Step Toward Mindful Leadership,

The ability to be truly present in a conversation or meeting is a pillar of great leadership and underwrites great communications. 

If you are investing time in mindful practices, your ability to lead will be enhanced greatly by leveraging your focus in all your communications.

Re-Visit the other 2 chapters of “Next Steps Toward Mindful Leadership”:

1. Setting the Stage for Meaningful Interactions and Effective Communication

2. A Great Hack for Introducing Meaningful Communication and Teamwork – The Daily Standup

3. The Heart & Soul of Communication – Visual and Auditory Connection

Get In Touch

Send an email via the form below or call to set up a free consultation.

Charlottesville, Virginia

434.996.5510

Find Grant on LinkedIn:

People First, Always.

People First, Always.

The US Air Force has a mantra, “Mission First, People Always”.

Having been in the Royal Australian Navy, I understand the paradoxical nature of this statement. The armed forces of any nation are constantly preparing young men, and women to be sent into grave danger, at any moment, to achieve a mission.

I believe this mantra best reflects on the leadership interactions and the training that goes into making a combat unit effective, while maintaining the indivisibility and importance of its people and their families.

In building and growing businesses over many years, I have applied this mantra with a twist: “People First, Mission Always”. I have come to learn, through my leadership experiences, that there’s a far greater chance of achieving your goals when you put your people first.

People First, Mission Grant Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | People First Mission AlwaysAlways

In fact, studies show that people who are happier at work were 12% more productive than those that were unhappy. Companies like Google have seen employee satisfaction rise by 37% when they’ve invested in employee support to raise satisfaction levels1.

Putting your people first doesn’t simply mean giving them perks, or addressing their concerns. Putting people first means taking a real interest in your team members, who they are, what their individual wants and needs are, and not just what they are capable of achieving.

Talented, hard working professionals are attracted to companies where they feel the leadership has built a culture of trust and mutual respect. Where they know that the leaders of that organization truly care about them as an individual. An environment where they can explore their potential and where excellent failures are rewarded.

I believe one of the critical elements of putting people first is job crafting. Job crafting is the art and science around knowing a person’s strengths, and their potential to contribute in their own unique way. This involves crafting their position description around their competencies and ensuring alignment of their skills and interests. This philosophy obviously demands finding the person who is most suited to the position, but it also demands a degree of creativity and nuance to ensure the needs of the company and the team member are met.

Grant Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | Job CraftingJob crafting is the art and science around knowing a person’s strengths, and their potential to contribute in their own unique way.

When a person’s gifts, skills and interests are aligned with their role they come to see their work as more than a job, it becomes their calling. They move into a state of flow. This is a state where the individuals skills and strengths are optimized and  they are fully immersed in the activity, feeling energized, and focused.

If through your leadership, team members are more engaged, happier, and ideally in a state of flow, it is inevitable that your business will be more competitive and its potential for growth will be magnified. Engaged and motivated team members work well together and they rarely leave the organization that has helped guide them into that optimal state of performance. When their goals are tied to your company’s goals, this alignment of focus is transformational.

If through your leadership, team members are more engaged, happier, and ideally in a state of flow, it is inevitable that your business will be more competitive and its potential for growth will be magnified.

In the highly contested talent acquisition space, putting people first will help you attract and retain strong team members and ensure optimal outcomes for you and your company.

1 Research from the University of Warwick, Professor Oswald

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Charlottesville, Virginia

434.996.5510

Find Grant on LinkedIn:

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