5 reasons your employees should be actual jugglers (and not the multitasking kind)

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No, I’m not talking about people who are good at multitasking. Research has proven that multitasking is a myth and that attempting to multitask often leads to a lack of productivity and burnout.

Instead, I’m advocating that we train our employees to physically juggle.

Recently, we invited Jen Slaw – a speaker, entertainer, and trainer, to lead a presentation for our firm. Jen focuses on using performing arts and, specifically, juggling to open a dialog around change, innovation, work-life integration, and more.

The takeaway was clear: Jugglers have many of the skills that are in hot demand and short supply across businesses of all types and sizes.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management’s 2019 State of the Workplace, businesses are having trouble finding candidates with the right mix of soft skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and innovation. These organizations also need talent that can operate effectively in complex and ambiguous environments.

Here are five reasons why a juggler might fit that bill.

1. The Juggler’s mindset is good for business

The Juggler’s mindset is about embracing a clear goal and adopting a growth mindset to reach that goal. This involves cultivating skills through effort and hard work, being open to feedback, and looking at challenges as an opportunity to grow. Jen shares what she calls the B.A.L.L. formula to demonstrate how the juggler’s mindset works:

  • Break it down
  • Ask for help
  • Learn from the drops
  • Let it go

These four principles can help us to feel more productive, fulfilled, present, and nimble in today’s workplaces. This mindset also allows us to better navigate change, as well as to create positive change for ourselves and our organizations.

2. Jugglers can handle anything thrown their way

Jugglers don’t give up. They keep going until they get it right. The simple act of learning to juggle allows us to see that something once thought impossible is achievable. When we’re able to open our minds to new possibilities and can do that in a supportive, respectful work environment, we are more willing to let go, fail, learn from mistakes and apply those learnings to the next try.

3. No one can focus like a juggler

Juggling is an activity that requires a real focus on what is happening at the moment. When we get into the zone – the flow – everything else fades away. The workforce is dealing with massive distractions of multiple communications channels, meetings, social media, devices, and open offices. These are very real challenges and being able to focus and concentrate on a task is critically important for our productivity and effectiveness, not to mention our mental health and wellbeing.

4. Learning is a sticky science for jugglers

When we experience something physically, the learning that takes place is lasting. Learning to juggle can be intimidating at first. There is a natural tendency to physically hold on to the ball. Yet, the physical experience of tossing the ball, seeing where it lands, and continuously adjusting to improve, creates a lasting imprint that jugglers carry from one experience to the next.

5. Jugglers are cool with making mistakes

The concept of learning from the drops encourages being analytical about our mistakes, assessing what we can change to get the desired results, and using what we learn as a stepping stone for success. Those drops, and the iterative process of adjusting our approach, often leads to creative solutions that we may not have considered otherwise.

There is no question that finding the right talent is a difficult task, so adding juggling to your list of competencies and requirements may not be entirely practical. Still, it could make all the difference.

For more information about Jen Slaw and her approach to juggling, work, and life, visit JenSlawSpeaks.com.