Brain cross training is a potent strategy for becoming more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant, and strategically valuable. And this hybrid skill set is tailor-made for what is new and next in our workplaces.
Sound daunting? It’s easier than you think. Just give yourself permission to move one millimeter beyond what is currently professionally comfortable. Let’s deconstruct together, shall we?
My brain cross training started at an early age. How about you?
You see, my Dad was a trial lawyer. As a 10-year old, Dad and I had nightly, post-dinner meetings. The objective was for me to critique my Dad’s legal briefs prior to his arguing an upcoming court case. Yeah, I hear you. Lucky me, the 5th grader. 😉
What would you do if you had this type of meeting to look forward to every day? Because you do, even multiple versions of this same meeting each day. Do you look forward to these meetings or are they right up there with root canal?
At first, I absolutely dreaded the nightly mental exercise. However, as time progressed, I anticipated the meeting as a learning opportunity. Why? Because dear old Dad grilled me on how the jury, plaintiff, defendant, witnesses and reporters would interpret oral and written arguments, plus how the judge might rule.
Very quickly, I started asking questions and cross-examining my Dad on, literally, every statement. I anticipated three moves past where I was reading, simultaneously. I became part of my Dad’s unofficial trial team of two: him and me.
The object of each meeting was brain cross training, although I didn’t realize it at the time. As a result of learning to process information analytically, skeptically, and creatively, my Dad paved the way for my path as a business-oriented STEM professional.
If daily meetings are dreaded instead of highly anticipated, leverage simple activities for brain cross training to vitalize outcomes. Start asking the right questions the right way so people focus on problem solving together, instead of personality wrestling.
- First, bring an open mind because cross training your brain initially makes everyone a bit uncomfortable. It’s like putting on the perfect pair of shoes with great support, instead of those old bedroom slippers you got used to wearing during the pandemic?
- Next, be curious and inquisitive about how other team members “know” stuff. Then ask them about the source and context of their perspective. (Hint: Use “how” and “what” to lead questions instead of relying on the status quo challenging query: “why do you know/say that?” Put the idea on the table, not the individual.)
- As a result, team members become comfortable sharing the “how and what I know” concepts and processes involved in their respective disciplines. Before you know it, your team starts combining new ideas differently to create more robust and enduring client-focused outcomes. Together. That’s collaboration, not confrontation.
When you focus on brain cross training, you move one millimeter beyond status quo collaboration.
As a result, team members look forward to meetings because they are on the lookout for new ideas to share and new conversations to initiate. In addition, solutions become more innovative because you are willing to take chances with the status quo. Think about what is new, next, and possible as you vitalize your team into your organization’s go-to resource for successful collaboration. I’m happy to serve as a facilitator to kick things off!
Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Searching for a one-on-one catalyst to get you unstuck? Engage me to present a One Millimeter Mindset ™ program! Delivered virtually or in-person. Contact me here.
Change Agent | Collaboration Catalyst | Complex Problem Solver | Professional Innovation | Cross Functional Leadership | Speaker, Consultant, Coach, Author |
Babette Ten Haken, Founder & President of One Millimeter Mindset™ Speaking & Consulting, catalyzes trust-based, purpose-driven, cross-functional leadership. She leverages Voice of the Customer, complex problem-solving and storytelling to catalyze collaboration between professional disciplines and create more creative and robust business outcomes. Babette is a cross-functional, business-oriented STEM professional, qualitative Voice of the Customer facilitator, PMI-certified Wicked Problem Solver and Six Sigma Green Belt (Quality). She is a member of the ASQ, SHRM, PMI, the National Speakers Association. Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here. Image source: Adobe Stock.