Mindful leadership

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Watch an athlete who is preparing for the start of their event. Sprinters, pole vault jumpers and swimmers are best. There is an opportunity to study them really closely as the camera focuses on them prior to the start of their event. You can see the mental rehearsal can’t you?

John Wooden, an incredibly successful basketball coach, shared a formula that he used with his teams. The formula was that they should not focus on winning the game. That kind of focus created a binary, success or failure, mindset which increased pressure on the athletes and so, perversely, diminished the chance of them achieving their desired outcome. Instead, Coach Wooden had the athletes focus on their technique in each feature of the game, experimenting with what was working and how to make it better. This reframed the context of the event and introduced a different dynamic. Now the focus was on mindful performance, not the high stakes experience of winning or losing. The changed focus gave a different perspective and contributed to the kind of performance that wins games.

This was reflected in a short piece in an HBR Ideacast, that described mindful, or experimental, leadership.

What could you experiment with that would improve your performance and increase your ability to lead successfully?

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