The business and mindfulness connection

By Maureen Aylward

The Wall Street Journal reports that business schools are interested in how mindfulness as a technique can be used in business and education. Taking a look at business culture, we asked our Zintro experts of comment on how a mindfulness approach can impact business.

Betty Doo, an organizational psychologist, says that mindfulness has several potential benefits to an organization that implements it. “Mindfulness helps companies improve teamwork, develop strategic relationships, and avoid unnecessary conflicts,” says Doo. “By using mindfulness techniques, an employee will become more aware of his or her own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which can lead to a more collaborative and authentic interpersonal approach. For example, when coming into a potentially stressful meeting with a customer or client, peer, or other stakeholder, a person who utilizes mindfulness techniques can enter with greater self awareness, be more engaged in the moment, and avoid unnecessary conflicts.”

Doo says that she uses mindfulness techniques in her executive coaching to help clients develop greater awareness of behaviors in business situations, especially stressful ones that can have a major impact on performance. “This has a ripple effect throughout the organization leading to improved relationships and more productive employees,” she says.

Meir Jacob, an expert in leadership development, says that mindfulness should be implemented as a meaningful aspect of organizational culture before a company can see results. To achieve this, he outlines the following:

  • Identify the basic assumptions and set the supporting belief system;
  • Implement the right values and norms; and
  • Create opportunities in the workplace for dialogue, rapport, mentoring and feedback.

On a task level, Jacob says that results can be found in:

  • Higher attention for and detection of irregularities and consequently, less denial;
  • A more open interpretation of phenomena that can lead to creative, innovative solutions;
  • A higher level of readiness to spot and capture opportunities as there is less fear of making mistakes, knowing that no one will be punished by making a false alarm; and
  • A higher team and personal efficacy and productivity.

On a relationship level for team, interpersonal and personal growth, results are:

  • Continuous team growth as result of the open dialogue and candid feedback;
  • A more effective interpersonal rapport among peers;
  • On personal level, a higher sense of self efficacy, daring, accomplishment, and job satisfaction; and
  • Across all levels, higher resilience and cohesion that results in a more stable team.

By Maureen Aylward

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