Resilience, Mindfulness and Strategic Thinking

 

I had a very interesting conversation with Emma at the Farnham Business Hub the other day. We were talking about Mindfulness in business. Emma said she preferred the term Resilience to Mindfulness. I think this works well as, perhaps, a better way of explaining why Mindfulness is useful in business.

Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us (mindful.org).

Resilience – Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever (psychologytoday.com).

The way in which we learn how to do most things best, is by learning how to cope with small problems and then building on, or extrapolating from, these. Yet most people only seek out ways of solving problems when they have gone big. Once a problem has gone big, then the fixing it gets a whole load more difficult. Not just because of the scale of the problem but also because of the side effects or the complications – the knock-on effects. But fortunately, this also gives us the route to helping to fix the bigger problems. Splitting them up into smaller ones and tackling each one until it is resolved and consolidated.

For example, feeling overwhelmed by a lot of high pressure demands:

– firstly, calm yourself down as fast and as well as you can. Mindfulness is great for this and if you already practice it, you can switch it on relatively quickly. If not, try using some structured tools to get you there – deep abdominal breathing will have an immediate effect.

– secondly make a list of each of the problems (or problem areas) and note any immediate ideas for solutions (for use later);

– then prioritise the problems that will have the most impact the quickest – these are your Priority 1’s;

– the next group of problems are your Priority 2’s – these problems or aspects of the problem, that can be fixed within a day or two;

– the third Group is Priority 3’s – problems that can realistically be fixed at a more leisurely pace;

– there is another category of problems – the Urgent ones – the ones that demand your attention now.  Somehow, they have got onto your highest alert level. Yet if you look at the impact or cost of these, they can be further categorised as P1, P2, or P1 Problems. If they are P1 problems then they do deserve your immediate attention, but if they are not, then you should be able to safely shove then down your priority list.

What you will have just done by doing the above is: calm yourself down, take a higher-level view of what you need to do and then to focus on what is most important.

Generally, the more you can practise doing this, the easier it will become, the more focused (or Mindful) you will become. And overall, you will become more Resilient.

The more you know about in advance the less likely you are to get a surprise and the less likely it is to become an Urgent, Priority 1 problem.

To this end, there is little substitute for Strategic Thinking. Understanding the longer-term picture of where you are going and how you are going to get there. The enclosed mindmap is a map of the main components of Strategic Thinking that you can use to map out your longer-term picture.

Summary: Mindfulness and Strategic Thinking tools go a long way to giving you more Resilience.

If you have any questions on Resilience, Mindfulness or Strategic Thinking, or would like assistance please do contact me: julian@innovationinbusiness.co.uk