Blog : mindfulness at work

Want to make your company the best place to work? You Need Awareness at Work

Want to make your company the best place to work? You Need Awareness at Work

IC3 Consulting – a firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve employee engagement.

In this 6-part series, How to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work, #2 is awareness.

The ACE Model
awareness + alignment = insightful companies
communication + creativity = innovative collaboration
(lead to lasting) employee engagement = intentional culture

Google is doing it. Intel is too. By this point, you have certainly heard of mindfulness in the workplace. But, what does it mean to be mindful, especially at work? To be mindful is to be conscious, awake – aware of what is happening now, in the present moment, without a knee-jerk emotional reaction (aka judgment).

Ok then, what does it mean to be aware? Awareness is knowledge, or an understanding of the whole – not just particular biases or schemas. Just like every person, every business has strengths and vulnerabilities and knowing these is imperative. Knowledge is power and awareness is at least 50% of the solution.

And, primary, even prior to awareness of your employees, is awareness of yourself. As a business leader, we understand that you are self-aware. You had to be in order to excel. So, how do you continuously put this practice into practice and remain aware of your internal biases and schemas?

There are multiple ways, but a foundational one is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is one of the key skills to create an integrated brain, leading to optimal functioning not only on an individual level but systematically as well. When your staff and managers are operating from this state, you will establish thriving teams that systematically innovate and collaborate with one another.

Quick Tips to increase awareness at work and overcome high turnover and achieve greater productivity and less burnout:

  • Employee assessments such as StrengthsFinder
  • Create opportunities where teams interact to co-create goals, objectives, and the values of the company.
  • Regular employee engagement surveys (Here is a quick 3-minute assessment you can take to begin to get a pulse on engagement within your company.)

This Week’s Action Steps:

  • How do you practice self-awareness?
  • What tools are already in place that helps you keep a pulse on the level of your employees’ engagement?

 

Want to become one of the best places to work? Learn how in this video series delivered to your inbox. Each video is under 3 minutes. 

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ic3 consulting is a staff engagement consulting firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve employee engagement. ic3 delivers improved employee satisfaction for their clients through customized corporate retreats, ongoing training, and executive coaching. ic3’s vision is to make the world a better place, one company at a time, through facilitating the creation of human-centered workplaces and business practices.

Your Business & Your Brain

Your Business & Your Brain

How Understanding Brain Function Can Help You Take Your Business to the Next Level

Basics of neuroleadership explained in ic3’s brain and business infographic.

 

Within each division of the brain, there are certain needs that must be satisfied before we can think and act from the more advanced, thoughtful and evolved parts of the brain. For example, imagine that before you even begin your workday, you wake up late, skip breakfast, and have an argument with your partner. It’s now 9:30am and you have to tackle a project that requires creativity and strategic thinking. It’s due by 2:00pm, but you’re feeling scattered and can’t seem to focus. That’s because you haven’t fulfilled your brain’s fundamental need for nourishment and connection. And until you do, you won’t be able to function at optimal levels.

So how does this relate to your business? Well, in each company there are basic day-to-day, or operational, functions that need to be taken care of before it can evolve to the next level. Only when those functions have been adequately addressed can the company begin to focus on:

  • creating a sense of purpose
  • cultivating genuine employee engagement
  • standing out from the competition, and
  • conceiving innovative solutions, products, and services

How does this happen? By leveraging specific characteristics and traits in its employees that, when combined effectively, support the ongoing growth of the company.

We call this the evolution from me to we.

Let’s take a closer look. Click on the brain and business infographic below to enlarge.

neuroleadership basics

 

Co-founders Dayna Wood and Jennifer Carey help CEOs and their teams create a fully engaged and innovative company culture through offsite corporate retreats, CEO intensives, and ongoing accountability services. Their diverse backgrounds make them uniquely qualified to address the critical human-element of business.

Want to become one of the best places to work? Learn how in this video series delivered to your inbox. Each video is under 3 minutes. 

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Running Toward Fears Every Day

Running Toward Fears Every Day

Do you ever wonder why your employees don’t always finish their projects or get their work done on time? Perhaps you can remember a time when you yourself avoided a particular item on your to-do list. There’s a good chance that when this happens, you and your employees are trying to navigate FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real).

Fear can creep up when we are challenged with tasks like making a sales pitch to a particular client, completing a critical task for a project, or coming up with an innovative product or service. Fear makes us uncomfortable, and most of us want to avoid that discomfort at all costs. But this avoidance becomes dangerous when it gets in the way of what it is we really want for ourselves or for our organization.

In our last article, we talked about creativity and how running away from fear, rather than toward it, can actually keep you from the highest expression of your ideas and the things or experiences you really want. George Addair, a real estate developer in post-Civil War Atlanta, summarized this beautifully:

 

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”

 

This article includes tips on how to use mindfulness to overcome fear-based blocks to flow, productivity and creativity. I’ll start with a quick story from my own experience.

I recently almost let my fears stop me from approaching a client that we really wanted to work with at ic3. We knew we could bring a lot of skills and expertise into their organization, and they could help bring us more clients. It was a win-win, with a tremendous amount of potential.

As you know, building any business relationship takes effort and persistence, especially in the beginning. Although we were in early talks with this client, we hadn’t yet come up with a specific partnership plan or strategy. When the moment finally came to call them directly and make something happen, I felt my stomach drop and I immediately began to search for ways to avoid making that call. I was overcome with the sudden need to scroll through my Facebook feed and thought about tackling any and all of the other (low risk) tasks on my to-do list — anything that would allow me to avoid that phone call.

But I quickly recognized what was happening. Fear was rearing its head, and I knew I needed to move toward my discomfort.

Why? Because this potential client was so important to me and to my company. Our business relationship would make us both better. And taking this step would be in alignment with our vision of serving more companies, which in turn would serve the greater community. Once I remembered that, I stopped, took a few breaths, got centered, and brought to mind our intention and goal: to create a partnership with this client. I noticed the discomfort in my body but I didn’t judge it. This enabled me to see it for what it was: fear. I looked closely at my fear, and realized that what I was really afraid of was “sounding stupid”. As I stayed with that thought, I realized that it wasn’t true. What I wanted to share wasn’t “stupid”, and it wouldn’t sound stupid. With that in mind, I moved towards the fear and made the call.

Moral of the story: I’m happy to report that the client was very receptive, and we’re now discussing lots of creative partnership options. If I had allowed myself to react to that uncomfortable feeling of fear, without bringing mindfulness and awareness into the picture, I might never have made that phone call, and the partnership may never have come to be.

Below, I’ve outlined mindfulness skills that you and your employees can use to keep fear in check. In following the steps below, you’ll learn to use fear as a prompt for moving toward all that you want to accomplish, rather than a feeling to be avoided at all costs.

The next time you feel fear, discomfort or unease about sharing a creative idea or bringing up a challenging issue, try the following:

  1.   Get Centered: Sit comfortably in your chair and take a few natural breaths. Notice your feet on the floor and notice how you feel in your chair. When we are in this quiet place, sometimes our mind starts to race or emotions come up. That’s okay. You don’t need to judge anything that arises as good or bad; simply notice what comes up and see it as helpful information.
  2.   Remember Your Goal/Intention: Bring to mind what it is that you wish to achieve, especially if progress is being blocked by fear.
  3.   Gather Information: Ask yourself the simple question: What am I afraid of? Wait for the answer, and simply notice whatever comes up for you. It may be a simple phrase, or an image or sensation. Whatever it is, make note of it. Bring yourself back to the present moment by feeling the temperature of the room, the chair beneath you and your feet on the floor. Write down any information that came to you around your fears or obstacles to achieving your goal.
  4.   Examine the Information that Came Up in Step #3: In a gentle and non-judgmental way, take a closer look at the thoughts, images and/or sensations that came to you in Step #3. Ask yourself if they make sense, and whether or not they are true. Just as important, ask yourself who you would be without that thought. (If this step intrigues you, check out Byron Katie http://thework.com/en – she offers a powerful process around confronting irrational thoughts and fears).
  5.   Reconnect with What You Really Want and JUST DO IT: Now that you’ve got a fresh perspective on your fear, and you’re willing to look at it as a signal to bring you closer to what you really want, bring your end goal to mind. Believe in yourself and your ability to obtain it. See the fear for what it is: false evidence appearing real. Respect it for trying to keep you safe, but take opposite action, so that instead of moving away from what you want, you move toward creative solutions for achieving your goal. I like to use the Nike slogan in these instances: Stop thinking and “Just do it!”

We encourage you to try the steps above — and let us know how the process worked for you.

If you would like further assistance in helping your employees overcome fear-based blocks to productivity and creativity, we can help! Contact us at  http://www.ic3consulting.comto start the conversation.

 

Jennifer Carey Employee Engagement Consultant

Jennifer Carey, EdS, LMHC

Jennifer applies her background as a Psychotherapist to help optimize company cultures through her writing, consulting and speaking on employee engagement. Some of these crucial skills include mindfulness, human dynamics, and interpersonal communication.

Jennifer is the co-founder of ic3 consulting. ic3 consulting helps business leaders re-engage, re-align and re-ignite their workforce to create highly empowered teams that communicate effectively, collaborate freely and work to realize their company’s vision. Want to become one of the best places to work? Learn how in this video series delivered to your inbox. Each video is under 3 minutes. 

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