Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. (A. A. Milne)
Ever felt like you are bumping your head against something hard at work each day? Does it leave you feeling it is all a little futile at times? Do you wish you could change it?
Having just returned from a very pleasant week’s holiday in the sun, I realised that I had been bumping my head for some time. Working in the business rather than on the business had become the norm and naturally as I started to relax and unwind my mind began to work on new ideas, solutions to issues and things to change for the better.
What had happened was I had given my brain chance to think. Taken out of the busy work environment my thoughts had greater clarity, I was able to focus much better and formulate some plans to move forward. It was actually quite therapeutic!
A neuroscientist friend of mine then explained about the nature of our subconscious, how it constantly works away in the background and how you need to step back from the all consuming conscious thinking that the daily work stresses cause.
Unfortunately we are often faced with a culture of: “Hurry up, we have a deadline to meet” and “You’re not paid to think, just get on with it!” or worst of all: “We’ve always done it that way”
At TIPS we have a number of activities that demonstrate the power of taking time out to think. One in particular is called the numbers game, whereby participants have to circle as many numbers they can in 1 minute which are randomly distributed on a sheet of paper (up to 90). They must do so in strict numerical order.
Typically people jump in, and over the hundreds of times I have run this activity the average score is consistently between 15 and 20. The excuses for the poor performance ranges from the room conditions (too hot, too cold, too noisy) to numbers being omitted on the page (not true!)
Given the chance to think about the problem and collectively come up with new ideas, the final round averages around 85, with the majority hitting the maximum90!
Yes you did read that right, a SIXFOLD improvement in many cases…..
Now, who would not want that magnitude of improvement?
All it requires is to give yourself and others a chance to think, an opportunity to share ideas with the team and to take a moment to consider alternative methods.
As for Edward Bear he made one major change and became Winnie the Pooh. There’s a success story for you, and the rest as they say is history……..
Further information and detailed training programmes are available from TIPS for Good Management