CT meditates: a comedy (28). How does mindfulness contribute to effective teamwork?

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OK, lets review. We’ve learned how and why we meditate.
We’ve learned we can meditate in 3 minutes.
We’ve learned to forgive ourselves when we inevitably drift, and the Notice-shift-rewire.
We’ve learned to use meditation to improve mindfulness, presence, focus.
We’ve learned to use this focus to generate gratitude.
We’ve learned to take this gratitude and move into compassion for others.

So what? If it doesn’t contribute to the bottom line for my company, isn’t this a bunch of new age-y (#$* B.S.?

For me, pursuing daily meditation HAS improved my focus, my sense of calm, and I want to TALK ABOUT IT with everyone I meet (perhaps insufferably so). And then I form surprising connections with colleagues who have started similar habits. And then maybe our teamwork is riven with less strife.

Furthermore, my personal focus has me less distracted, seeking ways to find time for Deep Work (a future blog post), and more productive.

Finally, team meetings, or better yet, inter-team conferences with potential conflict is somewhat easier to navigate. One of my growing strengths is the ability to be even-handed and balanced. Being able to summarize the important positions of both sides respectfully can lead to more collaboration and a better group decision.

I love those moments in contentious meetings, when, about 2/3 of the way through the hour, when combatants begin repeating themselves, I finally speak up (Simon Sinek has a great YouTube talk on how leaders stay silent during meetings so that all voices can be heard; those who speak up in the beginning squelch creativity because the boss has already spoken). “So, I’m hearing at least 3 separate buckets of concern. One …., two …, three … I think one and two are easy solutions, can we agree? Three is where we should spend time. May I propose …”

And despite the appreciative looks from the committee leader and the nice after-meeting comments from others, I know fundamentally, this was a simple exercise in listening hard, staying focused, creating a clear summary and gently guiding to a win-win conclusion.

Remember: those coming on the journey: 3 minutes of meditation every day! I’m holding both of us accountable to this important habit!

CMIO’s take? Mindfulness, focus and deep work will be key skills that are future-proof in our age of acceleration, globalization and disruption.

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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