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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, May 28, 2017 1:00 am

Boost morale, build teamwork with dance

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Never mind the cubicles and computers. Disregard the corner offices. Let's dance.

It could help managers improve teamwork and productivity, according to the author of “The Dance of the Business Mind: Strategies to Thrive Anywhere from the Ballroom to the Boardroom,” which was released in March.

“When you are dancing, it's the dynamics of relationship that are built,” Valeh Nazemoff, author of the book, said in a telephone interview last week.

Listening skills, trust and social bonding can be strengthened through dancing with others, said Nazemoff, a competitive ballroom dancer. Her book uses metaphors to provide lessons on how to approach and execute any initiative the same way dancers use chor­eog­ra­phy, practices and rehearsals to achieve success.

Many workers find themselves in a slump around 2 or 3 p.m. in the day. Rather than head to the vending machines for a sugar high, dancing to one or two songs might be the stimulus needed, Nazemoff said.

Some prominent businesses, including Accenture and Kaiser Permanente, have used dancing to break the monotony of the work day, Nazemoff said. She thinks the concept has potential to become widespread, just like taking short naps.

And Nazemoff isn't the only dance enthusiast promoting workplace benefits. An April 2016 article on the website of dancewithmeusa.com, tied to an internationally recognized dance company, listed several reasons dance could improve productivity, morale and teamwork. Among the basics, it pointed out that dance is essentially low-risk exercise, which could help with wellness. Dance often requires quick decision making, which bolsters intelligence and can build confidence.

“Dance can boost energy, enhance communication, and help co-workers connect in a beneficial way,” Nazemoff said. “Think of it as team building, with music.”

Nazemoff is also the author of “The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind: How to Rewire Your Brain and Business for Success.” She is executive vice president and co-owner of Acolyst, a strategy and business performance consulting services company.

Always recruiting

With low unemployment, keeping a continual eye on the next talent you'd like to hire may be more important than ever, the author of a book released this month suggests.

Even if you already have a great team, you should find ways to keep meeting potential employees, said Bill Green, author of “All In: 101 Real-Life Business Lessons for Emerging Entrepreneurs.” By keeping the pipeline open, you won't have to scramble if someone leaves or settle for less than you want.

“You'll always have someone waiting in the wings,” he said through an email.

I think most would agree the philosophy seems sound. The challenge is that unless normal business relationships or social functions allow you to frequently engage with future prospects, many managers who have responsibilities far beyond human resources and recruiting might be hard-pressed to find the time to really execute the strategy well.

As workplaces evolve, the potential recruit you're connected with today might not be the one who would be the best fit for your team tomorrow – should an opening occur or as expansion requires adding staff. Many employers might be willing, however, to reshape job functions if they can attract a strong candidate with strengths that could be applied in various ways.

But the ongoing approach is at least worth some effort, according to Green, who has invested in many companies including startups, has served on the boards of 12 companies and numerous nonprofits.

“I'm not saying run ads and interview people every Friday,” Green said. “But you need to keep the mindset that you are never finished recruiting.”

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/