Mindfulness programs have been implemented successfully across Fortune 500 companies & beyond. Prominent, successful leaders credit the types of mindfulness methods we cover here as central to their success, and they come into play in almost all of my hundreds of executive coaching engagements.
- Mark Bertolini was an executive at the Fortune 100 company, Aetna, in 2004 when, on vacation with his family, he was horribly injured in a skiing accident. He broke his neck, would never regain the use of his left arm, and suffers continuous debilitating pain. He said, "The pain is as if somebody were burning my arm "with a torch all day long. "and to this day, it feels this way. "It's never stopped." Drugs and other methods didn't help, and coworkers encouraged him to accept disability pay and quit working.
But he very much wanted to keep working, and when other options to manage his pain failed, he tried meditation and mindfulness techniques along with yoga, and he was able to continue his job. In time, he did much more than that. He improved in a leader in ways that he didn't anticipate. But he, and others, could see. When the world economic crisis came, his mindfulness practice helped him stay steady and clear-headed, and others responded to his mindful leadership presence. So much so, that in 2010, he was promoted to CEO of the company.
Because he experienced so many benefits from mindfulness, he tested and rolled out mindfulness programs in the company, and workers reported impressive reductions in stress and increases in productivity. The company realized an 11:1 return on investment in the programs. Such programs have been implemented successfully across many Fortune 500 companies and many others. Bill George, who teaches Mindful Leadership at Harvard Business School, and is a board member of Goldman Sachs, says, "If you bring mindfulness to how you lead, "you're aware of your presence, "and the ways you impact other people.
"You're able to both observe and participate in each moment, "while recognizing the implications of your actions "for the longer term." Think of Mark Bertolini and those pressure cooker meetings during the economic crisis, when no one knew what to do, and needed a calm, strong, centered presence to unite around. In a statement that touches several specific items we covered in The Guide to Mindful Methods, Bill George also points out that, "Regular mindfulness practice helps leaders "gain focus and clarity in making "their most important decisions, "creativity in transforming their enterprises, "compassion for their customers and employees, "and the courage to go their own way." I can add that mindfulness techniques we cover in this program come into play in almost every one of my hundreds of executive coaching engagements.
They help leaders to deal with stress, pressure, fear, to feel more confident, to inspire confidence in others, to deal with difficult people, and to integrate the demands of work life while finding fulfillment in doing well in their roles at home, in their families, and with friends and loved ones. As a mindful leader, Mark Bertolini is exceptional in many ways, but not in mindfulness. It's not the exception, but the rule that mindful leaders are better leaders. Bertolini would agree. So, don't follow his example.
Actually, I should say in another way, follow his example even sooner than he did, sooner than I did, sooner than most of us do. Bertolini turned to mindfulness not to be a better leader, but in response to a personal crisis and extraordinary physical pain. That's how mindfulness works. Undertaken for one challenge, it gives much more. And isn't this what great leaders do, too? It's what Bertolini did. After he learned the benefits, he helped others be more proactive to apply mindfulness insights to how they lead. You can, too.
Apply mindfulness to how you lead in everything you do with others in professional life. Mindful leaders are better leaders. Don't wait for a crisis to use mindful methods at work, and you'll be much better prepared for whatever crises or opportunities come your way.
UCLA professor and executive coach John Ullmen, PhD, explains the fundamentals of mindfulness and provides step-by-step methods that anyone can use. Every technique is confirmed by research and validated in practice to give you results for dealing with stress, anxiety, fear, worry, and self-doubt, and for increasing confidence, peak performance, and connection with others.
- The fundamentals of mindfulness and practicing mindful meditation
- Dealing with unwelcome experiences, such as stress, fear, and self-doubt
- Strengthening your connection with others
- Mindfulness for peak performance
- Practicing mindful leadership