- On November 25, 2014
What has Mindfulness got to do with Leadership?
The awareness of the present is at the heart of mindfulness. But what has that got to do with a leader’s preoccupation on moving people to the future, to inspiring a shared vision?
To me, these sounded like ideas at opposite ends of the spectrum—on one end, focus on present reality…at the other end, driving relentlessly towards the future vision.
In my novice exploration into mindfulness—conscious breathing, short attempts at meditation, weekly yoga–I perceived mindfulness to be a very personal practice. Something I could do to achieve relaxation, clear my mind, and direct my focus.
A rookie mistake it turns out; that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I was curious about how to take mindfulness from a personal practice to an organizational practice. Are yoga mats and meditation cushions one of the job perks? Maybe organizational mindfulness could work for a holistic wellness business…but how could it survive the intensity of our super-charged corporate world?
At the Mindful Leadership Summit, I listened as a number of very successful leaders—
- Tom Gardner, Co-Chairman and CEO of the Mötley Fool
- Eileen Fisher, Founder and CEO of the Eileen Fischer fashion house
- Mark Tercek, former Wall Street executive and current CEO of The Nature Conservancy
- Congressman Tim Ryan and former Congressman Tom Andrews, among many others—
shared their success in creating organizations with a mindfulness focus.
Their inclusive moment to moment awareness is the daily implementation of the company’s long term strategic vision. It is how they stay the course, create passion, and build engagement to make the organization’s vision a reality.
It turns out that mindfulness is incredibly necessary if you are going to be an effective leader.
Mindfulness with its present focus awareness is what helps leaders stay the course for the long term. Mindfulness insulates leaders from the daily buffeting of changing priorities and reactionary approaches. Without it, a leader’s vision will never become a reality.