September 2, 2016

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Mindfulness In The Workplace (Or, Better, Work in the Mindfulness Place)

The human mind appears more and more to be an emergent property of the complex system of interactions of our brain, body and interpersonal relationships.  Our organizations are just processes around which our minds and bodies and relationships interact. Understanding how to create the best environment containing the best business processes and the best conditions to maintain healthy relationships would result in creating an ideal business. Mindfulness, a conceptual state of mind -that now has mounting scientifically sound evidence to support it's influence on reality- is a key concept for positive change that your organizational leaders should consider.  


Many executives may find that this mindfulness 'soft' stuff is unnecessary, hard to grasp, too abstract, or too high-level to matter on the floor of the concrete jungle.  They may also point to history and suggest that their business has been just fine running for years without the mention of the word.  A keen, cold focus on the income statement, cash flows and balance sheet seems to have been enough. This may well have been a reality, but is it enough today? 


There may be yet another lesson we would want to learn from Kodak's well-studied business case in missing the digital revolution.  The feeling that a new idea or approach is getting bigger (like digital photography in Kodak's case) always precedes the reality of it taking over and disrupting, if only by the 0.8 seconds it takes for each of our unconscious thoughts to move into consciousness. In only 0.8 seconds, one very mindful creative person can change the direction of an entire business or industry.  Every executive I've known actively searches for that individual, the white knight. Give up the search.  There is no good way to execute the search.  Focus on building that brilliance in the people already in your organization. 


The practice of mindfulness has been shown to create an effect also called mindfulness, and it actually increases the integrative, information processing regions of the brain.  Maybe the organization would benefit from all your employees increasing their capacity for awareness and integrated thought?


When you have a team of mindful creatives working together, supporting each other's well-being with fact and balance and ever-improving scientific understanding, you needn't worry as much about if you are making the right changes in your business, they'll find them.  You needn't worry that is, unless your competition is becoming more mindful.


Both the practice and the outcome often described with the same word, mindfulness, is gaining momentum as more and more people come to understand the vast, free benefits of working in a mindfulness place and becoming more mindful.  As the practice of mindfulness remains out of reach by most of the population (perhaps due to the seeming incoherence of meditation and people's intellectual models of how to maximize their potential), there is a way to pursue it purposefully, methodically, systematically to maximize human and organizational intelligence.  



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