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Driving Innovation through Well-Being programs?

Driving Innovation through Well-Being programs?

Most would agree a key pillar of future growth is through Innovation. Whilst the age of digitization is accelerating our time to market products and services but ultimately Innovation comes from the inquisitiveness of the human mind. It is in asking questions such as “How can I make this better?” “What would the world look like in 10 years time” that Innovation can take root. We have to create the space for our minds to wonder about the future. Therein also lies the challenge when instead of creating the space for innovation, our minds are preoccupied with worries, anxiety, boredom and many other distractions.

2020 has been a particularly challenging year. We worry about the virus, our loved ones, financial stability, political uncertainty, racial inequality….on top of our usual worries. Even the dream of working from home quickly became a nightmare when we found ourselves working longer hours in isolation without the in-person support of our colleagues. We mindlessly scroll the news feeds only to find one bad news after another. The future seemed so uncertain with no end in sight. Market is up one day and down the next.

There are 2 broad approaches companies can implement to help manage these mental distractions that stand in the way of innovation and performance:

Mental Resilience

This is about our ability to bounce back when difficult things happen. Think of it as a trampoline. Mental resilience is like the springs that hold the bounce mat (the piece of the fabric where you jump on). If it’s stretchy and elastic then we can bounce back from difficulties more easily. But if the springs are rusty or broken then the trampoline will lose it’s ability to bounce. In material science, prolonged stress will weaken metal. It’s called “Metal Fatigue”. This causes the trampoline spring to lose its elasticity. Sounds familiar? Under constant duress, our minds are unable to bounce back from the stressors we face from COVID19 to political uncertainty to economic instability to racial inequality. Mental Resilience is a skill that can be learnt. We use a 7 step approach to build Mental Resilience. Your Well-Being program can include helping employees to acquire these skillsets to bounce back from challenging situations.

Positive Psychology

More specifically Positive Thinking; can help us to balance out and counter life’s challenges. It’s like storing these positive cookies in our cookie jar which we can tap into when we feel down. Positive thinking is not wishful thinking though. Rather, it is a thought pattern that is grounded in reality and like Mental Resilience, this is a skill that can be acquired. Your Well-Being program can incorporate different scenario modeling to train the mind to tune-in to this positive frequency. In the current environment when we are surrounded by so much negativity, not only do we need to bounce back, we also need to inject some positivity to change our trajectory.

Only when the mind is free from distractions, can we start to see things clearly and see possibilities. This is the environment where Innovation flourish.

If you are grappling with how to drive performance of your team, refer to our earlier blog published on May 6, 2020 where we talked about Intrinsic Motivation and achieving the “Flow” state.

If you want some ideas on Well-Being programs, you can drop us a line at helpme@releaf.com.hk.

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