Creativity and innovation are becoming the distinguishing factors for success in a world that is characterized by change, uncertainty and complexity. Using mindfulness in your business can help foster innovation and creativity and set you apart from your competitors.
Palma Michel, author of The Authority Guide to Mindful Leadership, suggests five practical ways to use mindfulness to create a culture for creativity to flourish:
- Ask Questions. Asking questions is an easy way to bring curiosity to any situation. Don´t assume you know the answer or something is a given, but continuously ask questions and challenge your assumptions. Mindfulness practice encourages openness and curiosity to what is arising in the present moment.
- Process-orientation Over Results Orientation. Instead of just being focused on the end-goal, get interested in the process and see what you can learn from it. Continue asking questions throughout the process and not just afterwards. Practicing mindfulness naturally instills a process rather than an outcome orientation as the focus is on our experience in the present moment without being fixed on a particular outcome.
- Manage Your Triggers.Whenever there is uncertainty, we are dealing with the unknown or there are setbacks, there is a tendency for people to get triggered and into “caveman” territory. If you feel this happening take a few conscious breaths through your nostrils, inhaling deeply all the way into your abdomen. Exhale through your mouth with pursed lips. Count to two on your inhale and elongate your exhale by counting to four. The key is to make your exhale slightly longer than your inhale.
- Listening. Google recently looked at what makes the best-performing teams and the result was everyone having an equal turn in conversation, no one shutting other people down and different opinions are appreciated (Duhigg, 2016). The next time you have a meeting, try to give your full attention to the speaker and listen to them with compassion and openness. If your mind wanders off or you are catching yourself already rehearsing your next question, bring your attention back to the speaker. Try to be open and interested in what they are saying. When they stop talking, ask them an open question such as “tell me more about it” or “what do you think” and resist the urge to immediately share your opinion.
- Letting Go. The skills of a team or group of people are always better than the individual qualities added together. So, notice if you have a tendency of wanting to control everything and everyone around you. Mindfulness practice encourages letting go, by observing what arises in the present moment, without being attached to it.
By following these steps to mindfulness you can create a culture within which creativity will flourish, ensuring that your team remains flexible and able to innovate as the world changes.
Palma Michel is an executive coach and author of ‘The Authority Guide to Mindful Leadership; Simple techniques and exercises to manage yourself, manage others and effect change’ published by SRABooks. www.authorityguides.co.uk