1. Thanks for sharing both sides. As a recovering HR exec (~30 years in HR, including VP and SVP roles at Aetna and Pfizer) and now executive coach and mindfulness consultant (instructor of yoga, karate, diving) I feel both sides. Megan Reitz and Michael Chaskalson treat this nicely in their December 1, 2016 HBR article, How To Bring Mindfulness to Your Company’s Leadership. The article reinforced what I knew as a Fortune 50 chief talent & leadership officer – training without application opportunity, support, and practice is a waste. It also reinforces what I still learn as a mindfulness coach – same lesson.

    The clinical data on mindfulness practices (in the clinic) is very well established. But the clinical data from MBSR and similar programs is based on successful completion of 8 weeks of daily practice. I felt the effect with the practice (and still do). My yoga and breath practice clients now get the same message that my global leadership clients got from my HR practice then – there are no silver bullets and you will have to change before others will. Mindfulness is a discipline – a practice that improves with practice (don’t they all).

    As with any initiative or program, mindfulness is more successful when integrated and aligned with other company programs, benefits, or training – without requiring participation.

    • Make clear the company’s intention behind introducing mindfulness in the workplace, focusing on performance and wellness as well as cost and productivity.
    • For employee wellness, include mindfulness training as part of the basket of wellness options provided in the workplace. Provide training in a basic set of yoga poses and breath practices suitable for the desk as well as in class.
    • For teams, if you have a template of team-start practices such as chartering, goal setting or norm development, include a mindfulness practices overview and process to accelerate familiarity.
    • For leaders, if you have a leadership development curriculum, include mindfulness training for self-management and the challenges of leading.
    • Communicate well enough that the adoption of mindfulness practices, breath exercises, yoga power poses, and meditation are not unexpected at the desk or meeting room.
    • Do not make participation or practice mandatory. Allow the practices to happen in the workplace while maintaining non-religious standards.
    • Integrate mindfulness with your other workplace wellness strategies, including personal and workplace fitness and nutrition.
    • Get professional advice. Just as you engage reputable professionals for employee services, team consulting or leadership development, engage certified professionals to inform the introduction and provision of mindfulness practices in the workplace.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful feedback and suggestions, Chris!

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