At this moment you or someone you know is sitting in an office trying to figure out how to return to work safely, healthfully, and with greater productivity. No matter the industry, business model, or even the size of the workforce the question is the huge elephant in the room. For the past 10 years, I’ve said – the only answer for leaders in companies large and small is mindfulness. While mindfulness may not be the answer for everything, it is the answer that guides us to the answers for most everything.
In April thru all of our Leadership Solutions International offerings, we will elevate the conversation about the practical application of the secular and neuroscience-based practice of mindfulness in the workplace. Study after study demonstrates that mindfulness can be offered in a variety of ways to create more productive employees, more satisfied customers and deliver on a companies vision and mission.
So, where to begin?
The first step often is going within. As the leader take time out to ask the questions you wish you had answers to. Listen to your own heart, then listening to the hearts of the company at every level. Where are your employees and customers in their post-pandemic journey? What do they want to happen? Create safe places for this conversation is key. Now is the time to hire a mindfulness consultant in support of your post-pandemic leadership efforts.
The Institute for Organizational Mindfulness offers monthly business case studies that I am consistently listening to, analyzing, and applying to our consulting clients. From Walmart to L’Oreal, Google to Moss Adams companies begin by acknowledging the problem. The employees that left your business in March of 2020 are not the same employees that are returning. When a company becomes aware interaction with all people who interact with the organization is not sustainable they choose to be better the door opens.
At that time an organization may have an internal champion to begin the conversation of, what next? If an organization does not have an internal champion they may hire a company like ours to educate and facilitate mindfulness programs.
Next, choose your words carefully. At the recent Mindful Change Maker Summit, Mark Lesser interviewed Sharon Salzberg in that conversation Sharon paused to outline the nuances between social action, social justice, and social change. Pause read that again. What do those words mean for you? Do they mean the same thing to the person next to you? They are not. We must be exacting with our words and making sure that everyone at the table agrees on the words or we risk huge misunderstandings that can make the problem worse.
Mindfulness is one of those words. Does it mean my mind is busy? Does it mean I am being religious? Does it mean I am being woo-woo? No – It is none of these things. Mindfulness is the secular practice of being present in the moment. This practice when offered is both a self-help and collective/team practice that drives more focused results.
Careful word choice is key to a successful mindfulness/wellness conversation. Passionate leaders, doing these practices for themselves internally are key to a successful mindfulness/wellness program. In our consulting work we find the first hurdle explaining what mindfulness is, what it is not, and making that a safe conversation for discovery. People become curious and want to at least give it a try.
Now the opportunity for greater self-care and mental health has been identified and mindfulness brought to the forefront a conversation in your organization can begin. A company can start offering short, secular mindfulness-based experiences for employees in person or online. I will share with you one easy example you can try this week. Start small and simply invite your teams voluntarily to participate in an optional awareness of breath/focus meditation. Check out one of my audio programs on our website. Even one minute of mindfulness can support your team to reduce stress, connect them more authentically, and increase success. Just like baby steps these programs and participation in them will grow over time.
I want to highlight one keyword in this initial phase. Voluntary. All mindfulness-based leadership practices are more effective when the participants choose to be there. We strongly encourage our clients at first to offer any mindfulness-based offering as voluntary and then invite participants to share. Results are often faster when your internal champion participates visibly.
Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month as if we needed more awareness stress is taking over our post-pandemic life? Don’t let stress get to you. We can help, join us this month at the Chaos to Calm Challenge (April5-9), on Clubhouse every Thursday, Insight Timer Live programming, and LinkedIn as we establish that safe space to explore the challenges leaders face and how applied mindfulness strategies can solve workplace problems.
As always, mindful matters and so do you,