The Power of Corporative Mindfulness
Traditional Mindfulness has been reinvented for the digital age. Its focus on the present moment attention, with a non-judgmental attitude, allows one to pause and consciously decide how to act. Mindfulness counterbalances overload and constant distractions of the digital-age.
Mindfulness programs help executives and their employees reflect, focus on the task at hand, master levels of stress, and recharge. On a corporate level, mindfulness limits sick days, enhances trust in leadership, and increases employee engagement.
But integrating mindfulness in the corporate context is challenging. Some companies have vocal skeptics; others struggle with habitual ways of working and traditional linear management style. Leaders and employees who are keen to try out mindfulness may find it hard to start.
To realize the power of mindfulness, corporations will have to assume a holistic approach, adapting themselves to new mindsets and cultivate open-mindedness and clarity to navigate unpredictable environments.
Nevertheless, corporations like Panasonic and Toyota have understood that the personal benefits of Mindfulness support business objectives at the same time. Also, big western companies such as Beiersdorf, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Intel and even the UK Parliament have turned to Mindfulness, conscious of the benefits derived from its practice.
For instance, at Bosh Automotive Electronics, Petra Martin, responsible for leadership development says: “Mindfulness is an essential lever to shift from a culture of control to a culture of trust. Communication has fundamentally changed since we introduced our mindfulness training to more than 1,000 leaders in the organization.”
On the same line as Bosh, Aetna, a US insurer, has trained 13,000 employees in mindfulness practices resulting in a 28% reduction in stress levels. Annual productivity improvements are estimated at $3,000 per employee. Aetna launched the mindfulness initiatives gradually, starting with brief meditations in executive-team meetings and then continuing with yoga and meditation classes for all employees. “We have demonstrated that mindfulness-based programs can reduce stress and improve people’s health,” says Mark Bertolini, Aetna’s chairman and CEO.
Finally, focusing just on top executives who meditate, we find leaders like Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, Jack Dorsey CEO of Twitter, and Google cofounder Sergey Brin. A meditation class is becoming a popular way to begin the workday at companies like Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
By Westley Eckhardt (Adapted from an article by C.Greiser & J. Martini, for Boston Consulting Group, 26 April 2018)