For the past seven years, employees at General Mills have been practicing meditation and yoga in the workplace, which started as a side project by one executive, according to a recent article by FT Magazine.
“It’s about training our minds to be more focused, to see with clarity, to have spaciousness for creativity and to feel connected,” Janice Marturano, General Mills’ deputy general counsel, who founded the program, recently told the magazine. “That compassion to ourselves, to everyone around us – our colleagues, customers – that’s what the training of mindfulness is really about.”
Now known as “Mindful Leadership,” the program involves sitting meditation and yoga, and more than 400 executives have taken part, according to the article.
General Mills also researched the results of the program, and after taking the seven-week course, 83 percent reported “taking time each day to optimize my personal productivity,” which was up 23 percent from before taking the course, the magazine reported. Additionally, 82 percent said they make time to eliminate tasks that offer limited productivity value, which was up 32 percent from before taking the course.
There were also significant results from senior executives who participated in the program, specifically, 80 percent reported a positive change in their ability to make better decisions, and 89 percent believed they became better listeners, the article stated. Even the CIO of General Mills completed the program in 2007, and still meditates for 30 minutes to one hour three to four times per week.
“The premise is to be open to what is happening right now,” he told the magazine. “There isn’t such a thing as multitasking. What people call multitasking is really shifting attention back and forth between activities very fast.”
For the full article, visit FT Magazine.
It’s great to see mindful leadership becoming more mainstream. I was recently on a leadership development programme when someone asked me why I meditate. To illustrate the benefits I used the example of not being present in the meeting because you’re spending time thinking about what happened at the previous meeting or planning the next. The leader told me that from the whole programme this had the biggest impact on him. With everyone being so busy at work I think there is a real demand from leaders for learning how to be present and mindful.