Your mind at work: is mindfulness good for business?.

27 May 2014

Mindfulness, or bringing your attention to the present moment, can fundamentally transform the way you cope with stress, other people and the pressure of the modern world. But can mindfulness be good for business?

MIndfulness image (embed into story) courtesy of mindbalance.co.nz

The concept of mindfulness has gone beyond its traditional roots as a Buddhist meditative practice, entering the business realm as a tool to unlock transformation within yourself, and your business.

In today’s fast paced business world, ‘think fast, work faster’ is a common mantra. Creativity and productivity are two yard sticks used to measure performance and success; but amidst the smart phones and information technology, the secret to productivity is the ability to pay attention to what is going on around us, which boosts performance, unlocks creativity and reduces stress.

“Mindfulness itself is actually the source of creative new ideas for business innovation, marketing and sales,” says Richard Bolstad, Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) Trainer at Transformations International. 

“One of the most dramatic insights that people get from our NLP trainings is how the stress of business has prevented them from being present in each moment and making effective decisions,” Richard says.

Mindfulness highlights the importance of being not only physically present with someone, but also mentally and emotionally present. Research has shown that mindfulness can reprogramme the brain to be more rational and less emotional, which has been linked to rational decision making.

“Many people feel they simply can’t cope with the speed of change and conflicting demands on attention, which takes a toll on our ability to perform at our best,” says Nicky Benson, consultant at Stepup Coaching and Facilitation.

Cultivating attention and awareness through mindfulness allows leaders and their workforce to become more adaptable and flexible, thriving in a global environment that moves and changes at lightning speed.

“If we can be present, take control of our energy and build healthy habits that support physical vitality, emotional connectedness, mental focus, and create alignment with our values and purpose within the organisation we work with, we can work much more effectively,” Nicky says.

Mindfulness has entered the mainstream: some huge corporate names including Apple, Nike, and Google are running sessions on mindfulness for their staff.

At Google, more than 4000 of their 35 000 staff have voluntarily taken part in a mindfulness programme designed by the company. For Google, mindfulness was about achieving peak performance and optimising productivity for their staff, achieved through more mindful practice.

According to Nicky Benson, mindfulness in business can result in:

  • Improved self-esteem
  • Increased coping and stress management skills
  • Enhanced ability to relax and enjoy life
  • Improved energy and greater sense of happiness
  • Improved work-related performance, creativity and productivity
  • Enhanced ability to respond (rather than react) to situations
  • Improved concentration and mental focus
  • Enhanced self-management skills
  • Fewer sick days taken

Here in New Zealand, mindfulness training is offered by several SBN members:

If you’d like to find out more about mindfulness and practical ways to apply it, check out this article from the Harvard Business Review blog.

Image credit: www.mindbalance.co.nz

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SBN is working with businesses in four transformation areas.
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