As we all know even the best of jobs can get mundane and tedious at times. People get bored, fall in a rut and become disengaged for a multitude of reasons. No matter the reasons it's in our best interest as mentors and leaders to encourage an alert and engaged person or team. One "trick" I love using for my own team at staff meetings is to mix it up a bit. We meet weekly but most weeks we don't just sit around and give status. Instead I start the meeting by doing something a little different. Here are some of my (hopefully) dopamine-creating activities:
- Bring in a puzzle to solve whether a clever riddle or some cast iron puzzle (such as these).
- Show and discuss some thought provoking video (perhaps something from TED).
- Discuss some ideas about communication and conversations. One of my preferred approaches is Fierce. (They have very useful techniques with an accompanying book as well as an interesting blog).
- Change the location of the staff meeting once in a while. Even a simple change of environment can have a positive and stimulating effect. Just go to another floor, or have the meeting in an open space or a coffee shop.
The goal of all of this is to reawaken everyone's brain and still stay in the work context. Sure it takes time to solve a puzzle or discuss a video but I strongly believe (and have seen the evidence) that when everyone goes back to work they are a little more energized and a little more excited to be working at our place.
How can you "mix it up" at your workplace and with your mentees? I'd love more suggestions!