Embracing Mindfulness Leads to Better Decision-Making

BY Kathy Crosett
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Decisions. Decisions. Leaders are used to making them on the fly. Are you up for embracing mindfulness as part of your decision-​making process? Are you ready to expand mindfulness to your team in order to improve outcomes? These are questions you should consider if you're trying to boost productivity.

Embracing Mindfulness

Your strategic decision-​making can be enhanced by consciously embracing mindfulness. New research from Boston Consulting Group and Awaris suggests that organizational teams can also use mindfulness to improve their collective intelligence. The need for collective intelligence, “the capability of a group of people to solve complex problems,” is growing as organizations develop new products and services. Your company may assemble agile teams from various departments on a project by project basis. We all expect employees to collaborate well. But, if these folks aren’t accustomed to working with each other, a few exercises in mindfulness can improve team performance.

Behavioral Changes

Through workshops and coaching, employees can focus on mindfulness as it relates to their team and the work they need to accomplish. For example, at the start of each meeting, you can remind everyone to pay attention to the reasons they are gathered. And you can suggest that they leave their phones outside of the meeting space. That way they’ll focus on the meeting purpose.

Human beings respond to positive reinforcement. In a group setting, leaders and co-​workers can acknowledge contributions made by specific individuals on the team. This practice fosters a caring environment and makes people feel valued. When they feel valued, your team members will work harder to get along with each other and contribute meaningfully to the project.

The practice of expressing emotions also plays a role in creating team bonds. If the team votes down a member’s suggested solution to a problem, ask that person how they are feeling. Acknowledge that it’s okay to be frustrated or disappointed. Explain that, in a team environment, difficult decisions have to be made and the outcomes aren’t the result of animosity toward any one individual. Getting these feelings out during a group meeting helps everyone understand that they’ll be supported regardless of what happens. When they feel safe, emotionally and intellectually, they’ll be more willing to come up with ideas – some of which will be brilliant and contribute to the success of the project and the organization.

Before and after a 10-​week mindfulness training period at several companies, BCG and Awaris researchers measured the moral reasoning, creativity, output optimization, and judgment of teams. They summarized these measurements in their collective intelligence score. Altogether collective intelligence increased by 13% during the study period. That statistic should be enough to encourage you to try embracing mindfulness at your organization.