If you truly believe that people are the most vital element of your organization, then one must “create practices for people to support each other in their inner work while doing the outer work of the organization.”
One way of being that is in meetings. Here are examples of simple practices to help participants keep their egos in check and interact with each other from a place of trust and respect in being mindful of each person’s presence.
- Start with a minute of silence to help people ground themselves in the moment.
- Start and finish meetings with a round of check-in, e.g., everyone is invited to share how they feel in the moment as they enter the meeting and conclude the meeting. This practice helps people to listen within and to know where others are.
- Start with everyone sharing a brief story of someone they had recently thanked or congratulated.
- Invite people to share briefly a “high” and “low” since they last met.
One mindful practice I’ve used for a number of years when facilitating groups is this:
“As we begin our day together, for the purpose we’ve gathered, let’s go around and I invite you to share a word or phrase that describes what you are feeling or thinking at this moment.”
- I write their word or phrase on a flipchart with just a simple acknowledgement by saying thank you or nodding my head in affirmation.
- When all is concluded (people may pass if they wish), I ask people to read through the list and share any observations they have.
You would be surprised how most people are very intentional before they respond and it serves as an “inner” window to how people are present. You may choose to do no more with this and then move into your agenda. However, at times I may offer an observation:
- “I see that many words and phrases are filled with energy, excitement, and hopefulness or reservation, caution and uncertainty. What’s your sense as to why that is?”
- Offer a few minutes for reflection and then move into your agenda.
All you’ve done is provide a safe space to support each other. All feelings and thoughts are valid and to receive them nonjudgmentally. This is the inner work that will enable everyone to do the outer work of your organization.
(Adapted from Reinventing Organizations – A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness by Frederic Laloux, 2014)