I came across a wonderful book of late entitled A Mindful Nation, by Congressman Tim Ryan from Ohio. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a thoughtful, insightful book coming from one of our Washington politicians. This book is about how the practice of being mindful can have a positive impact on our country on many levels as well as our workplace, home and so much more. In the simplest of terms, if we take time to be quiet, calm and centered–even for just a moment every day–we can be more focused, more productive, thoughtful and caring.
In the midst of planning for our annual retreat, I decided to give a copy of this book to everyone in the office with the intention of bringing mindful practice to our annual gathering at Steven’s house in the peaceful Missisippi countryside. We began our first session by introducing A Mindful Nation and having a few moments of silence. It was amazing to see what a little quiet time did to help everyone clear their heads, focus in, and open their minds to new ideas and perspectives. It set the stage for meaningful exchanges about where the company has been, where we are now, and new paths we should pursue. We continued this practice throughout the retreat and have committed to bringing this to our office. We also encourage each other to practice mindfulness outside the office as well.
Part of practicing mindfulness is understanding and respecting those around us, their unique perspectives, and ways of processing their individual experiences. So we spent a significant amount of time at our retreat discussing the “Human Dynamics” of each member of the Concordia team. The theory of Human Dynamics was developed by Dr. Sandra Seagal and associates in the late 1970s and is a study of the differences in the way people process information, learn, communicate, relate, and develop. There are 3 frequencies through which people operate–the mental (objective), emotional (relational), and physical (practical). Each person is a combination of 2 of the frequencies, the first being “how” that person processes information (linearly, laterally, or systemically) and the second being “what” information is processed. So for example, a person that is physical-mental processes information systemically and what they process is mental. After each person did a self-assessment to determine his/her dynamic, we discussed the various types and the similarities of the people within each type. This grew into a conversation about how each type works most effectively, how they learn, and how they relate to other members of the team.
We learned so much about each other and ourselves through this identification process. We learned to appreciate and value the inherent strengths and capacities in each of our own frequencies as well as those of others whose process may be different from our own. We realized that all of these frequencies are pivotal in creating a successful team. We now know to build our project teams more effectively and take advantage of everyone’s unique skills and talents.
We certainly see the benefits of mindfulness in the workplace and now strive to carry it with us each day. It helps us to deliver the finest quality work and also encourages us to have lots of fun doing it.