Recap: Cultivating Teamwork When Everyone's Distracted with Shani Harmon

Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 12.43.01 PM.png

On Tuesday, we welcomed Shani Harmon and her team at Stop Meeting Like This to a Strategy Breakfast for the Ignite Community. Shani facilitated an inspiring conversation about distractions and how to combat them to foster greater teamwork, relationships and leadership.

Shani did an incredible job framing the challenge and providing a solution.

  • The Challenge:

While devices and people can certainly be distracting, one of the most significant distractions is the fact that we think we can multitask. After a brief competitive exercise that humbled most of us in the room, Shani explained, that the term multitasking comes from computers, which - have many processors, and are therefore able to complete many different tasks at once. The human brain however, only has one processor - our brain - which is capable of only processing one thing at a time. When we (as humans) think we are multitasking, we are actually just “task switching” at a fast pace, which takes energy and actually slows us down. When we are focused on too many different tasks, we are also hurting relationships and teamwork, as we hear, remember and experience things very differently due to lack of focus and being present with one another.

  • The Solution:

Deep listening is one of the best antidotes out there for distracted people and teams. With deep listening, we give someone our full, undivided attention  focusing fully on what they are saying without looking at our emails, or thinking about how we are going to respond. Turning off notifications, leaving devices behind during meetings, taking notes on paper, asking questions and clarifying information are all examples of ways to demonstrate deep listening. Great listening requires an orientation of curiosity, not knowing what someone will say next and being willing to change your mind based on something you haven’t heard yet. Great leaders take the time to truly listen and ask good questions… and this will lead to greater connection, productivity and enjoyment of your work!


Thanks to Shani and her team for an inspiring and actionable discussion. To learn more about the Ignite Community and how you can become a member, click here.

Ryan JefferyComment