Thursday, 1 March 2012

"Maybe you wait a little longer..."

English: A Buddhist monk فارسی: یک راهب بودایی

I came across this interesting article, written 2 years ago, on digital overload. Nothing new in that. However, one phrase really resonated with me "Maybe you wait a little longer before answering a question".

This refers to a neurological experiment, where a group of scientists were taken to a retreat in the desert, with no access to electronic devices. After 3 days a feeling of tranquility descended.  The participants self-observed their behaviours and feelings, one of which was expressed in the quote above.

I was reminded of a conversation I had with a senior manager at BP a few years ago. He put 2 hours  aside in his diary every Friday afternoon to do nothing. This time was inviolate. He simply spent this time thinking. He was convinced this time for reflection made him a significantly better manager. Not many of us have the luxury of clearing a chunk of time for meditation, but have we really tried to reflect more?

Earlier this week, Liz Nottingham, HR Director of leading ad agency Starcom Mediavest (SMV) gave an inspiring talk to KIN about talent management and knowledge transfer. SMV have won the accolade of the Sunday Times 'Best Companies to Work For'. Liz has achieved this by putting a lot of emphasis on culture and collaboration. This includes sending staff on retreats to Marrakesh for reflection and energising. As she puts it "it may be mad, but at some point I really want to employ a Buddhist monk here".

Marrakesh and monks may not be achievable in your organisation, but how about giving a little thought to the lost art of reflection? I'm going to try something else too. I have an email 'drafts' folder; I'm going to park immediate responses there for a couple of hours and re-read them before sending.
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