Introducing Mindfulness in Organizations

Daniel Goleman talks to Mirabai Bush about bringing mindfulness to work. 

A topic that often comes up—especially among coaches—is the challenge of introducing mindfulness into an organizational setting. My colleague and a key adviser to Google’s Search Inside Yourself curriculum, Mirabai Bush, has vast experience with introducing mindfulness methods to a wide range of organizations. Of course she’s run into some resistance—at first. Her rule of thumb for overcoming obstacles? Pay close attention to the situation that exists in the organization and the culture. Below she explains why that’s important.

“When I meet with prospective clients, I listen not just for what they need—but what they perceive that they need. That helps me determine my approach. There are so many different ways to talk about mindfulness and its effects. For example, in the military, where we worked with caregivers, chaplains, and medics, they talk about mindfulness as situational awareness, and they refer to it as S.A. —it’s abbreviated. At Google they talk about searching inside yourself.

You have to understand the language that an organization uses to express these ideas, and their needs. Obviously it’s different in each place. For example, an organization may say they’re undergoing huge amounts of stress. I did work with the Federal Trade Commission once—it wasn’t so long after 9/11, and their building was right in between the White House and the Senate. Every time a truck went by or stopped outside their window, people were just getting stressed immediately and leaving, or losing their attention on their work. So, they wanted us to help them look at factors of stress and how mindfulness could help.

Every organization has a different need—and opinion—about mindfulness. In my experience, listening and framing accordingly has been more successful than pitching a one-size-fits-all program. When you try to understand what the actual business and organizational needs are, the usefulness of mindfulness approaches to their obstacles and opportunities becomes more obvious.”

This post was originally published on Daniel Goleman’s LinkedIn page. To view the original post, click here.