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How to Use a Think Rhythm: A Proven Process for Business Breakthroughs

By Liz McBride

    Tue, Jan 23, 2018 @ 11:00 AM Strategies for Growth

    Creating a regular habit to think, or a Think Rhythm, can be a powerful way to:Proven Process for Business Breakthroughs

    The purpose of a Think Rhythm is to...wait for it….think. It’s not a time to ready, aim, fire at approaches; rather, it’s a time to slow down before you speed up on execution. It helps you to work smarter instead of harder on achieving breakthroughs for your business.

    Sounds fantastic! OK, so let’s pull people together. Great. Who exactly? How often should we meet? What agenda do I send out? Do I just say, “OK guys...let’s think!” Even when faced with the gift of thought, by nature we crave structure.

    I am currently facilitating two different Think Rhythms at Rhythm Systems, and here’s how I approached them:

    Who exactly?

    Think of who will be impacted by the outcome of your Think Rhythm. It’s a best practice to include those who will be instrumental in executing on anything that comes out of the Think Rhythm. By doing so, you are considering all angles while getting early buy-in. It’s important for those who will be impacted by change to be part of thinking through the solutions.

    • In one of my Think Rhythms, all aspects of Rhythm Systems would be impacted so I wanted to provide a 360-degree view of our organization. I invited a team that represented: Client Services, Sales & Marketing, Finance, Consulting, and Products.
    • In another Think Rhythm, our lens was more focused on Consulting; but, when considering who would be needed for input and to execute on our Think Rhythm, representatives from Client Services and Marketing joined our entire Consulting team.

    How often should we meet?

    I considered our current meeting rhythms and tried to tack on time when we are all assembled - at least to get the Think Rhythm kicked off. We added an hour to our existing monthly company and consulting meetings for the initial meeting. In our first Think meeting, I wanted to get everyone’s input on the meeting cadence we would commit to going forward. In both cases, we ended up committing to one hour per month.

    Again, consider the outcomes you wish to achieve. Would meeting monthly get you to your outcome in the desired time? If not, you may want to meet weekly.

    What agenda should I follow?

    I’ve had a few clients who read the BioPlus chapter of Predictable Results and called me all excited, “I get it! I’m ready to get into a Think Rhythm about our core customer...product...exit strategy, etc.” How do I do it?

    Here’s an agenda to get you started on your first Think Rhythm:

    • Create ground rules on how we will act during the think rhythm meetings, for instance, "listen without judgment"
    • Create an objective statement on the purpose, the desired outcome, and the way in which we are going to get there
    • Prioritize components of the objective statement (ways in which we are going to get there)
    • Assign any research or data to collect and/or presentations to make
    • Agree on meeting rhythm - how often and for how long
    • Discuss who else should attend
    • Agree on collaboration - where to capture notes and ongoing comments and findings

    How do we stay in Think mode?

    Allowing the team think time takes a facilitated approach to keep the juices flowing without jumping into execution. Here are some tips:

    • Start with a positive and fun icebreaker to get everyone speaking and thinking positively
    • Ask the team to write down their ideas rather than call things out. This engages the creative part of the brain and doesn’t entertain bias
    • Use the Six Thinking Hats and clearly define which hat we’re in, for instance, we’re in Green Hat, so let the ideas flow without commenting
    • Use the power of AND - add on each idea with a “yes, and…” rather than “or” or “but”
    • Have everyone stand up to wake up the mind
    • Throw a ball around where only the person holding the ball speaks so all thoughts are fully shared
    • Assign homework to keep the thinking going
    • Serve wine. OK, maybe not. Although, a single glass of wine is great for writer’s block (if you stick to just one).

    Watch this 5 Minute Rhythm by Patrick Thean to Learn how to Think Strategically

    Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

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