Concentration Champions: Creating Your Team Thinking Room

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance your ability to concentrate. Reading time: 2:52.

          In the comic strip Family Circus a little girl is sitting in a movie theater with her mom. Mother and daughter are watching the coming attractions. Suddenly a ghost screams across the screen. The little girl gasps at the scene from a horror movie. Frantically, she climbs into her mother’s lap.

  “Mommy, mommy, hold me. I’m scared.” Her mother comforts her. Sniffling and rubbing her eyes, the little girl blurts: “I don’t mind the scary stuff on TV at home because I can put a blanket over my head.”

        Effective leaders always have that proverbial blanket at hand to block out any distractions. They preserve and protect a secure and safe environment for their staffs to work more creatively and comfortably despite the occasional “scary stuff.”

       The most effective leaders I have known even designate Thinking Rooms –creative concentration centers –where staff can escape the rigors of the workday and focus their thoughts.

      These effective leaders think of these Thinking Rooms the way Winnie The Pooh regarded  his Thoughtful Spot: as a haven to concentrate with all the vigor of Auguste Rodin’s famous 7-foot tall bronze sculpture The Thinker.

         Thinking Rooms are even used by  champions in professional basketball. The 6-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls had a sanctuary for their thinking, a place where they could go to get away from the screams of the fans, the whistles of the officials, the chastising of the coaches and the carping of the media.

    The Inner Sanctum Open Only To Your Staff

Phil Jackson Points the Way to the Thinking Room

         Phil Jackson, who coached the Bulls to through those wining ways,  designated and designed the team’s  Thinking Room.   The walls were festooned with Native American artifacts that stimulated thinking. On one wall there was a wood arrow with a tobacco pouch – a symbol of prayer. On another wall, there was a bear claw necklace – a symbol of power. In this space, players could parlay their thoughts on their individual and collective performances –past, present and future.  Without any repercussions from each other. Without any criticism from  management.

        How would you design your team’s Thinking Room? Would you bar yourself as the leader from having access to this inner sanctum? That’s what the most effective leaders do to better differentiate the Thinking Room from a conventional team room or work room.  Would your budget and allocation of resources reinforce the design and designation of The Thinking Room as exclusively for the practice of– and progress in– that one specific behavior:  thinking?

       After all, we have so many other rooms in our personal and work lives dedicated to specific behaviors: a Recreation Room, a Dining Room, a Break Room, a Sewing Room, a Reading Room, an Emergency Room, a Waiting Room, a Living Room, a Chat Room, a Briefing Room, a Game Room, a Control Room and a Dressing Room. Why not a Thinking Room?  Furnished, of course, with those comforting –and comfortable– proverbial blankets.

 Today’s ImproveMINT

Make room for a Thinking Room to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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