The Drexler/Sibbet team performance model (A comprehensive tool for understanding the stages of team development developed by Allan Drexler and David Sibbet) identifies seven stages which teams move through to be highly productive. Two of these stages which I often reinforce in my corporate training deal with trust and renewal. We focus on trust in Stage 2. This is learning to trust yourself (your own inner wisdom) and trusting others. Trust in the workplace is critical to being engaged and feeling good about the work environment. Another important stage which is often overlooked in the workplace is Stage 7, focusing on renewal. We identify how we evaluate and renew after a project is completed. How well organizations plan for this aspect of each work strategy and outcome is a good indication of how well they nurture team member. Without renewal, we push employees to burnout or shut down and ultimately low production.
Too often business owners and their management teams shy away from anything resembling religion without understanding the difference and importance of accepting, recognizing and encouraging the spiritual lives of people and how doing so can help to clarify and find commonality of values between the company and employees. I find that in our hi-tech/low touch environments very little time is spent building community and/or connecting. That’s why training organizations to create structures and practices for how to give and receive feedback, share information, solve problems and appreciate each other increases the success of positive improvement in their work environments.
I am sure you have heard the expression stated in some form or fashion, “we attract what we think about”. Frequently, employees don’t trust themselves (their inner wisdom) and avoid being creative or innovate for fear of making a mistake. They are so focused on not making a mistake, that they make mistakes. Too often what we focus on we create more of, but we can reframe and change our thoughts and beliefs to “I am working creatively and efficiently.”
The new word is “brain plasticity”, which means we can rewire the brain with thought. Brain plasticity takes time, effort and practice. The goal should be to reframe our thinking to get different results…it’s the power of the mind. Using affirmation is one way to rewire the brain, create new grooves. Training focused on skills to support this “rewiring” gives teams new, positive ways to feel good about their work and the organization.
As an applied behavioural scientist, I recommend business owners and managers give employees opportunities to safely share their spirituality in the workplace. Here are just a few simple steps you can take:
- Find ways to help employees to de-clutter and create an orderly flow of peace. Employees bring a wide range of personalities and behaviours to your workplace. One way to create a sense of orderly flow is in visioning--getting in touch with personal and organizational vision, the very reasons for being and purpose of their work. Meditation or moments of silence will also promote orderly flow.
- Give employees new techniques for dealing with change and transitions in their work. Listening and communication skills are major components of change. I like to use dialogue groups as a way of getting heard. Storytelling is another way for getting team members to connect better with each other.
- Commit to learning more as a business leader how ingredients for spiritual living such as intentions, gratitude, affirmations, and forgiveness can be important to you and to your employees. Developing opportunities that support the individual in nurturing themselves and freeing up energy for work and play will improve the way the business operates.
- There is a reluctance to share information thus impacting the finish product; because we use the term “team” and each person is compensated based on their work only---instead of how they function as a team, the whole idea of community is missing.
How your employees feel about their work and the business is key to improving productivity and creating a nurturing, cohesive team. Take steps to encourage a spiritual environment and you will find a better sense of community within your organizations.
Ruth Littlejohn provides corporate training and coaching as an Applied Behavioral Scientist and ordained minister with Centers for Spiritual Living, holding an M.S. degree in Organization Development from American University/NTL and Master’s degree in Consciousness Studies from Holmes Institute San Diego in 2008. She may be reached at 757-271-1552.