Are you a team leader? It might be time to switch up how you’re conducting your meetings. Going from a client meeting to a staff meeting often leaves us with a feeling that there’s so much more to do. We lose focus on our shared mission and connection to one another.
If you are like Trumpet, we want our team to enjoy the way they work, and not feel so focused on the never ending horizon, so a year ago we implemented a simple change at Trumpet that transformed our weekly staff meetings. We open each meeting with a positive focus.
Let me describe it to you and what a difference it makes.
Whether it’s personal or professional, we each share one or two sentences about a positive experience we’ve had recently. It only takes 10-30 seconds per person and we learned things about each other like:
- A colleague’s son won a medal in a Tae Kwon Do competition over the weekend. (How cool! He broke how many boards??).
- Another colleague has been working on adding a new piece of functionality to a software program and just got it working (yay!)
- Or a colleague is ready to launch a new marketing initiative they’ve been working on for several weeks (Way to go!).
We celebrate positive experiences but what does it do for the business?
We alter the focus.
People move from having a lot on their mind from whatever meeting they just came from, or whatever meeting they are headed to next, to suddenly being in the moment. They are engaged, nodding, smiling, and laughing. The atmosphere of the meeting changes almost immediately.
It’s a dramatic difference.
Instead of heads bowed over notes they plan to bring up in the meeting, people physically transform into forward leans and smiles. I feel like positive focus alters everyone’s brain chemistry.
We change the feeling in the room.
You can feel it happening – it’s like a stadium wave of warmth washes over the room.
Have you ever had a child share something silly like, “Can you help me get my hiccups to go hiccdown?” and you can’t help but partake in the joy of that moment? That’s the feeling of sharing positive focus – fun, joy, and tension released.
After positive focus, we become active and eager listeners to what each person is sharing or celebrating.
That translates into being able to work better as a team.
Pretty cool but wait. It gets even better.
We get collaborative.
As a leader, when your team is “so” busy, it’s crucial to create situations to foster sharing. Also, remote employees don’t get to take part in water cooler chat, or go to lunch or happy hour with the rest of the team. Remote employees, like those who lean toward introversion, can use a lift to provide a way to connect with their colleagues.
Even the smallest team has people who are introverted and who may find it more challenging to initiate conversation. Positive focus creates context for what’s going on in other peoples’ lives and creates personal connections that may not have otherwise been made.
It’s like when you went to camp and did the ice breaker exercise. Everyone gets in a circle, throws a ball to someone, and says one thing that’s their favorite (sport, food, movie, etc.). Positive focus makes everyone more comfortable interacting with each other.
Today I challenge you to give positive focus a try at your next meeting and let us know what happened.
At Trumpet, we kicked it off by saying, “We want to try something new. Let’s go around the room and in a sentence or two, share something you’re feeling positive about today. It can be professional or personal.”
Then start or pick someone to start the exercise. Of course, give them a heads up they’ve been “volunteered” for the exercise.
Continue the exercise around the room. People may be a bit hesitant so if they can’t come up with something after about 10 seconds, tell them you’ll circle back to them.
What’s amazing to me is that even when someone was stressed, not feeling positive, they were able to share. One parent said she was feeling positive about kids returning to school after summer break!
Positivity spreads. At Trumpet, while we began positive focus only in our weekly meeting and it has spread to other meetings, quarterly jam sessions, executive planning meetings. You just have to initiate it.
Are you willing to play with this? When you do, let me know how it goes. Post back after a few weeks and share your outcome.