How To Encourage Intuitive Thinking In Your Team Meetings


You want your staff to be more intuitive. To have ready access to and trust in their own inherent wisdom to add more dimension and power to their ability to solve company problems and grow. But how do you facilitate this as a business leader or manager?

The bottom line is that it has to start with you. Whether you are a business leader or manager, when your team is synced up with each other and able to tap into their inner resources, it saves time, improves communication, encourages outside-the-box thinking, and is the great silent attracter of new ideas and leading edge actions.

And while being adaptive and agile is no longer an option to lead in today’s business landscape, how to encourage and grow intuitive decision-making remains a mystery. Here are three practical steps in bringing more intuitive, outside-the-box thinking into your company culture for powerful solutions and strategy.

1. A Safe Environment

In order for your team to take risks and venture into new territories, there has to be an environment that supports creativity and risk-taking. In other words, if your company culture has overt or even subtle ways of shaming and critically judging employee ideas and contributions, your team will shut-down and simply go into ‘agreement mode’ with the leaders’ ideas and suggestions.

This is a good reality check as you are reading this, to see just how ‘safe’ your company culture is right now in how freely staff can communicate. Can you take risks, offer possible solutions that might sound ‘crazy,’ or challenge the status quo approaches in your current company’s strategy? As Patrick Lencioni states in his groundbreaking book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, a company has to be founded on trust and vulnerability, or no one will try to stand-out and offer creative solutions, for fear of being scoffed at and disregarded.

2. Guiding Your Team To Listen To Their Gut

We are often so conditioned to stay in our heads and analyze the pros and cons of each possibility. Yet intuition lives in the subconscious mind and the body. In fact we have tens of thousands of neurons in our gut and heart. That’s right, we have three brains, not one. And while we are a top-heavy society and collectively worship our cognitive function, neuroscience shows us that we take in far more information in our subconscious mind than our conscious mind. In fact, in stem cell biologist Bruce Lipton’s research, the subconscious mind processes 20,000,000 environmental stimuli per second vs. 40 environmental stimuli interpreted by the conscious mind.

The bottom line: get employees out of their heads! You already know what you know. Change happens on the fringe. If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten -- just more of it. If you want something different do something different.

If you find yourself in a team meeting and the ideas are seeming to go in circles and not providing new breakthroughs: stop. Get your team to pause for a second and be willing to interrupt their usual mode of thinking. State something like: “Let’s all stop for a second. I want you to get out of your heads and take a breath. Feel into your gut and from there, what’s the best solution? What’s the first thing that comes to you, no matter how crazy it may sound?"

This provides 1) the openness to come up with creative possibilities and 2) includes more wisdom and outside-the-box thinking as each team member is now engaging their gut and heart centers along with the cognitive function. This will bring a more holistic view and approach to your top challenges.

When I interview and work with top business leaders and managers, they often speak about interrupting the usual flow of a team meeting and directing the team to listen to a different resource inside, as the pivotal moments of breakthrough ideas. This is the difference that makes the difference.

3. Listening To What Wants To Happen

Top negotiators and group-decision facilitators all agree that the key to harnessing the collective wisdom of a group is by listening. And more specifically, listening to what wants to happen. This is where anticipating the future and using intuition becomes such a powerful force. When your whole team is focused on the problem at hand and everyone is now offering creative solutions that are literally coming from outside-the-box (your head), you can leverage the hive mind to listen for when something really feels right. Often when the solution clicks in that you didn’t see before, you will hear or feel a collective gasp or moment of relaxation as everyone settles into: yes - that’s it! If you haven’t gotten their, keep listening or be willing to change the environment, get the team off-site, and find a new space that is conducive to strategic thinking.

Put this into practice and share your experiences and key takeaways from this new approach to team meetings. We are all here to learn from each other, and the more we can share our results, the more we can all keep refining how to get the most out of our teams in a way that is creative, enjoyable, alive, and offers new solutions that keep you ahead of the competition.