Mindfulness @Ernst & Young
- Make mindfulness relatable and accessible. Avoid spiritual or esoteric language and focus on tangible benefits.
- Build a network of mindfulness champions. Start small and gradually build your network, pitching the concept to potential champions at every introductory class.
- Collaborate with curriculum developers to integrate mindfulness into the learning and development curriculum. Ensure that programs remain true to their core principles while making them accessible and practical for employees.
- Emphasize simplicity in mindfulness practices. Introduce exercises that can be seamlessly incorporated into the workday to enhance focus and stress management.
Mindfulness is becoming increasingly recognized as a valuable tool for corporate leadership. In a thought-provoking session at the 2022 Mindful Leader Summit, Clif Smith, author of the bestselling book Mindfulness without the Bells and Beads, shared valuable insights on the pivotal role of mindfulness in guiding leaders and their teams toward growth and resilience.
Demystifying Mindfulness in the Corporate World
Smith began his session by emphasizing the importance of defining mindfulness in simple, accessible terms that resonate with business professionals. He steered clear of spiritual or esoteric connotations, instead focusing on practical, real-world applications of mindfulness.
In a business environment where ROI and tangible benefits are often the driving forces, Smith acknowledged the need to present mindfulness in a way that aligns with these priorities. He highlighted the following key benefits:
- Improved productivity
- Reduced costs
- Enhanced diversity and inclusion
Smith also stressed the need to deliver mindfulness classes effectively, ensuring a clear and practical presentation of what mindfulness entails.
Building a Network and Leveraging Allies
Creating a network of mindfulness champions within the organization is essential for success. Smith encouraged practitioners to start small and gradually build their network, pitching the concept to potential champions at every introductory class.
He also emphasized the importance of leveraging allies. While some individuals may be genuinely passionate about mindfulness, others may harbor misconceptions or skepticism. Champions can help spread the message and create a sense of community among employees.
Transitioning Learning and Development Curriculum
To ensure the integration of mindfulness into the company's learning and development (L&D) curriculum, Smith stressed the importance of working closely with curriculum developers. However, he cautioned against over-modifying mindfulness programs, highlighting the need to preserve their essence.
He also emphasized the significance of simplicity in mindfulness practices, offering exercises that can be integrated seamlessly into the workday to help employees manage stress and maintain focus.
Clif Smith's presentation at the Mindful Leader Summit shed light on the profound potential of mindfulness in corporate leadership. By demystifying mindfulness, leveraging research, building a network of champions, and collaborating with curriculum developers, leaders can successfully implement mindfulness programs within their organizations.
As leaders navigate the challenges of the modern world, mindfulness stands as an invaluable tool, helping them achieve greater self-awareness, improved decision-making, and enhanced employee well-being.
In addition to the key themes discussed above, Smith also shared some additional insights on mindfulness in corporate leadership:
- Mindfulness is not a magic bullet. It takes time and practice to reap the benefits of mindfulness. Leaders should be patient and persistent in their efforts.
- Mindfulness is not about being perfect. It's about being present and aware of the current moment, both the good and the bad.
- Mindfulness is for everyone. It's not just for leaders or for people who are already meditating regularly. Anyone can benefit from mindfulness, regardless of their experience level.
Smith's presentation was a valuable reminder of the power of mindfulness to transform corporate leadership. By embracing mindfulness, leaders can create more mindful, resilient, and productive workplaces.
Clif Smith is an award-winning author of "Mindfulness without the Bells and Beads," a veteran with 25+ years of defense, intelligence, and business experience. He founded Ernst & Young's Global Mindfulness Network and Mindful Leadership program. Clif has trained over 100,000 people globally, enhancing leadership and well-being. He also led multi-million dollar deals at EY, worked in private investment, and served at JP Morgan Chase. As an executive coach and speaker, he motivates individuals to overcome self-limiting beliefs. Clif is a sought-after expert in mindfulness, certified coach, and public speaker. He holds degrees from Bellevue University and Harvard University and lives in Virginia with his family.
To learn more about Clif Smith visit www.clifsmith.com
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