Transforming Boardrooms – Dare to be different!
Recently I was facilitating a workshop and noticed that by the time everyone had “run” in from whatever they were doing for the day (including me), everyone’s personal energy was way up there in the head space and beyond. I could see that they were jumpy, all over the place and were physically holding their breath as they plonked themselves down in their chair.
The look on their faces indicated that they were still thinking about how they got there, what had just happened at work/school/play, and they were already thinking about what they were going to do after.
No one seemed present, in the room.
How could they be focussed on or open to learning, listening or participating in the workshop if they were not really in the room?
As the one who was delivering the workshop I needed to “get people in the room” not just physically, also mentally and emotionally.
I asked everyone to sit comfortably and have a minute’s silence, to focus on their breathing and let go of what was happening outside and bring their attention to the reason for the workshop. I asked them to open themselves to hearing something new and to open themselves to new possibilities.
This had the effect of centring people, providing focus and attentiveness to what we were there to talk about and we ended up having a brilliant workshop where everyone actively participated. What a pearler!!
Does any of this sound familiar? Have you ever held a meeting and felt like no one was really engaging?
What has this got to do with business or any other group of people convening to make decisions, discuss or learn?
How many times have you organised a meeting at any level of your business (Board, Executive, Senior Management, Project level or even your daily team meetings) and the so called participants were not really there?
I know from experience how frustrating a meeting of the minds can be when everyone has different agendas and they are so "busy" they find it difficult to concentrate on the intent of the meeting.
Consider being a transformative leader, try something different and put at the top and bottom of your Agenda:
Agenda Item 1 - Contemplate, Centre and Focus (1 minute in silence)
Here’s how it would go …
Agenda Item Final - Gratitude and Close (1 minute)
Really! I hear you say.
That’s a bit airy fairy! That won’t work, I am not doing that!
Well consider this:
This morning I read the following from Reverend Deborah Moldow, advisor to the United Nations. She writes:
"In my experience of countless meetings -whether with the NGO community at the United Nations, among visionary evolutionary leaders, or in the tiny meeting room at my local church – I have noticed that a very few simple procedures help to dramatically shift the quality of the experience (meeting), and hence the result.
The real key is in the opening, which sets the tone for all that follows. At the United Nations we always begin with a moment of silence. This invitation alone signals to everyone that the meeting will not be business as usual, a contest of wills and opinions. In the silence the heart prevails. Unless it’s a very large group, it’s good to go around the table letting everyone introduce herself and himself or say a few words of greeting so that each voice is heard, if only briefly. Then we are all truly present. In this style of meeting, no single contribution is dismissed. Each person is honoured and gently brought back around if necessary. Voting is only to find out how people are feeling, not decision making, because if someone is not comfortable with a decision, there is something amiss. I remember one painful meeting where the group simply could not agree. So we stopped and went into silence again. We emerged clear, aligned, and on track, as though a little miracle had taken place.
Closing time is for acknowledgements in gratitude. If the exhilarating sense of group mind has been created, every person present at the meeting has helped in some way. I like to close with “May Peace Prevail on Earth”" (1)
If it’s good enough to take this approach at a meeting of the United Nations then it’s good enough for me.
Besides Einstein said that the definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
TRANSFORM your Board Room or meeting room!! Be a TRANSFORMATIVE leader and take 1 minute at each end of your meeting to Contemplate, Centre and Focus.
Dare to be different! I challenge you!
Learn more about how I could help your business.
(1) Schaaf, K., Lindahl, K. H., & Cheen, G. (Eds.). (2012). Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership - Where Grace Meets Power. Woodstock: Skylight Paths.
My passions are nature, people, and building cultures of cooperation, harmony, sharing and reverence for life. I enjoy working with people to help them understand themselves and others so they can reach their full potential in life.