Leadership Tip: Find Closure for 2012 Before You Move on to 2013

An important Leadership Gift principle I teach is that all teams need closure. Don’t miss the opportunity to find closure for 2012 before you start working on your goals for 2013!

Closure is a way of marking off an experience together so that participants feel complete and can move on to new activities. Getting closure serves us well in many life experiences.

Consider a specific example: studies show that the capacity of adults to maintain attention in a classroom falls off rapidly after fifty minutes. For this reason, I schedule frequent breaks in my corporate seminars. But we don’t just break. We BREAK!

I ask participants to stand up and, in unison, “Let it go!” which entails a hand-clap and a leg kick. Declaring the “break” takes just a second, but it changes everyone’s mental state in an instant and frees their minds to rest and come back refreshed for the next segment.

We can all give ourselves a sense of completion by commanding ourselves to “let-it-go” in a way that actually works.

We can also complete things through conversation, celebration, or other means. What’s important to be aware of, as indicated below, is that completing and letting go cause each other. The causal loop is a complete circle.

closure system loop

Think about this. There may be no room for New Year’s resolutions until we’ve cleared space by letting go of some things.

For many years now, a couple I know gather friends together at their home for New Year’s and conduct two exercises. One is a let-it-go and the other is a closure/completion exercise. Borrow them for your next meeting about your goals for 2013.

The Let-It-Go and the Closure/Completion Exercise:

1. Let it go. Build a roaring fire or go to the edge of a cliff with a scenic overlook. Review the letting-go/completion dynamic and distinguish letting something go from “stuffing” or denying it.

Then, offer strips of paper and pens (or smooth rocks and felt markers). Invite people to write on the strips or rocks what they want to release. Then, ceremoniously wad up the strips of paper and toss them in the fire or throw the rocks off the cliff).

2. Getting complete. Sit in a circle. One person speaks at a time while the other group members listen. Begin with one participant saying, “What I feel like saying is….”

The team member is free to say whatever helps him or her to feel complete with the experience. When complete, say, “And that’s what I feel like saying.” Listeners are then to respond, “Thank you!”

Proceed around the circle with the next person beginning, “What I feel like saying is….” Anyone may pass on any round. Continue going around the circle until everyone passes. (Anyone who has previously passed may have something they feel like saying on a succeeding round.) This is a powerful group process!

Get Started With This Week’s 5-Minute Stretch

Reflect on what you need to let go of from 2012 so that you can be even more resourceful in 2013. Do what you need to do to get closure.

I wish you a year of productive relationships in 2013!

Leaders and coaches: Get Christopher’s best team building and leadership strategies collected over two-plus decades of solving teamwork problems for smart people. Attend the acclaimed Creating Results-Based Teams workshop, or get this FREE Special Report while it lasts: The Five Flawless Steps to Building a Strong Executive Leadership Team.

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide.

Posted in Leadership, Responsibility on 01/07/2013 01:05 am
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