Brace yourself – Winter is Coming…

21 Jun 2017

As we head into Winter, with its shorter hours of daylight and coughs and sniffles, I want to take a leaf out of nature’s book (pardon the pun!) and adjust to the rhythms of Winter to make it a season of productivity, rather than inertia.

I walked past a gym yesterday and saw a sign with ‘Summer bodies are made in Winter’ emblazoned across the front, and it made me think…

What if, instead of dreading the dark, grey days ahead, we saw them as an opportunity to create something new?

Without the lure of long days on the beach to distract us, we can turn our attention instead to what we want to improve, change or grow.  We can hole ourselves up with great books, and talks, and take the time indoors to start a project that could come to fruition by Spring.

What is it you want to grow over Winter?

Counter to what most of us think, recent research by Harvard Business School Associate Professor Francesca Gino suggests that bad weather can actually be good for productivity, that our team’s results can improve in Winter.

We can help harness this by focussing on Winter as a time of high performance, rather than succumbing to the lethargy and low moods (not to mention inevitable colds and flus) that we often associate with this time of year.

Try asking your team what they want to grow over Winter – as a team and individually?

Their answers might surprise you…

To keep our teams (and our own!) energy up over Winter, we can focus on:

  • Chunking work into small tasks that contribute to a sense of achievement – and celebrating the milestones when we achieve them.

  • Creating opportunities for connection – within, and between teams, both social and work related.

  • Give our teams permission to strategically stop and reset, by doing so ourselves.

  • Take our leave (rather than pushing through} to ultimately become more productive

  • Nutrition, exercise and sleep for energy and wellness

  • Practicing mindfulness – to get a cognitive break during the day.

And if that all sounds like too much, here’s my one must-do Winter hack that will bring your team together with a spring in their step – get outside! Sunlight and fresh air are important for our energy levels and state of mind, so is exercise. Get a little of both during these shorter days by taking the team meeting outside – walk and talk  (with a specific destination in mind such as a loop of your building or to a coffee shop where you can end your meeting) and watch how the dynamic of your group changes.

What are you looking forward to about Winter?