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The Art of Mindfulness at Work

May 5, 2015

mindfulness and management

Mindfulness is the art of living in the moment. AMA’s global study on “Mindfulness in the Workplace: Practices and Implications” by Miles Overholt and Mark Vickers, finds that mindfulness is strongly endorsed by those who practice some form of it. But how did mindfulness become something other than a therapeutic technique or a part of a meditative practice?

In his 1968 book, The Age of Discontinuity, management legend Peter Drucker argued that leaders should have “trained perception” and “disciplined emotion.” Since then, some mindfulness champions have argued that mindfulness techniques can be used to achieve those goals. Another influential management thinker, Daniel Goleman, wrote about emotional IQ in his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Since then, Goleman has suggested mindfulness as a practice that leaders can use to become better aware of their thoughts and feelings, as well as improve their concentration.

By the turn of the twenty-first century, mindfulness and mindful living was gaining the attention of the business world. Michael Carroll, a former Wall Street and major corporate executive, wrote about mindfulness in the workplace in his seminal book, Awake at Work. His work was widely accepted, and mindfulness became known as a performance-enhancing tool in the workplace.

More recently, James Scouller, in Three Levels of Leadership, has taken the concept of mindfulness and integrated it into previous leadership models. In his 3P model, mindfulness, meditation and calmness are seen as keys to building the “inner core” of a leader.

Mindfulness clearly has come of age and become more mainstream as a management tool in the second decade of this century. Perhaps the best evidence of this — in addition to the proliferation of mindfulness trainers, consultants and experts — is that the influential World Economic Forum at Davos in January 2013 invited speakers on mindfulness. In April 2014, a Time magazine cover declared “The Mindful Revolution.” Today, hundreds of organizations across the world are using mindfulness techniques in their training programs. Among them are General Mills, Google, eBay and National Health Service in the UK.

Want to learn more about mindfulness and how it impacts business? Check out these statistics from a recent report on mindfulness conducted by Miles Overholt and Mark Vickers:

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Being an effective leader means incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine. Use AMA's tools to learn how to improve concentration and discipline your emotions.
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About The Author

Dr. Miles H. Overholt is the Principal of Riverton Management Consulting Group and a founding member of the Business Research Consortium. His work centers on leading individual, team and organizational transformation. His primary research focus is on identifying the drivers of organizational performance and developing better methods to manage organizational transitions. He also researches team behavior and performance. He has over 30 years of consulting and research expertise in strategy execution and organizational design, as well as in guiding change for organizations, teams, and individuals. His clients range from entrepreneurial start-ups to the Fortune 500. He is the author of Building Flexible Organizations: A People-Centered Approach and has written numerous articles on strategy execution, change processes and organizational alignment. Currently, Dr. Overholt is the Principal of Riverton Management Consulting Group. His undergraduate degree is from Lafayette College and he earned his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania. Mark Vickers is a Principal at Vigoré Publications and a founding member of the Business Research Consortium. He has worked in the research field for most of his career. He was a research analyst and, later, managing editor at the Human Resource Institute at Eckerd College. He has also worked as a writer at Nielsen Media, a senior analyst at Bersin by Deloitte, and vice-president of research at the Institute for Corporate Productivity. He has authored, co-authored and edited hundreds of research reports and articles. He graduated with Honors from Eckerd College.

One Comment »

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    […] Have you ever felt overwhelmed and let your emotions take over? Miles Overholt and Mark Vickers explain how mindfulness can help you keep your composure.  […]

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