Why mindfulness is transformative

by Brett Henebery30 Jan 2017

Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for L&D professionals, particularly when it has the power to transform their organisations’ leaders, teams and broader culture.

Steve Hoskins is the managing director of Stop At Nothing (SAN) Australia, a consultancy that works with clients around the world to increase leadership and management effectiveness, improve team performance, expedite change and increase self-awareness at all levels of the organisation.

Hoskins told L&D Professional that his company has seen teams – as well as entire organisations – thrive when mindfulness is put into practice.

“We have a saying at Stop At Nothing: ‘The person with the most awareness has the most responsibility in any relationship’,” Hoskins said.

“This is to say that, when you know who you are, are in control of your emotional well-being, live life free of drama and ego, you have the power to avoid being triggered by others’ opposing states, and hence live with less stress and more productivity in life and work.”

Hoskins said SAN has seen organisations transform from “dysfunctional under-performing entities” into highly productive, happy and profitable companies.

“If you imagine an entire organisation whose people are self-aware and working together, everyone would be looking to ensure their workmates are looked after, that their emotional states matter and looking to help wherever possible,” he said.

“This collective direction away from self towards others removes the drama and ego that inhibits optimal business performance in workplaces. Employees are naturally happier, motivated to do great work, provide excellent levels of service and delivery of results, so everyone wins. It’s amazing to observe,” he said.

Hoskins pointed out that what many organisations are missing is that rather than asking how they can get more out of their learners, they should ensure reflect on what they can do so that their learners are on purpose with their life goals at work.

“Our PEAK Performance off-site Program works with employees on connecting with their life goals, their motivating factors and looking at what their purpose is on the planet. They can then see that working for and in their organisations, is aligned with that,” he said.

“Aside from this – and something that we encourage our partners and their employees to do – is to ensure that the workplace does not feel like ‘work’.”

Hoskins said studies have shown that the more individuals feel that their occupation – and ultimately the daily tasks they perform – is connected to their purpose in life, the more productive and emotionally balanced they are.

“In turn, they’re more likely to encourage that in others,” he said.

“The classic saying ‘Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life’ is what we’re referring to here. Workplaces should encourage individualism, open dialogue about employees’ life interests, their loves, their hobbies, their unique nuances and idiosyncrasies.

“Managers and people leaders should take time out to address even departmental alignment within the organisation with the people in that division and their connection to their life purpose and the focus of that area of the business.”

Hoskins said this involves taking time out of the office or workplace and – with the help of a good facilitator – capturing everyone’s aligned goals and coming up with a vision for the next few years for their division and the company.

“Once the colours are nailed to the mast in this way, everyone pulls in the same direction and help each other to succeed. It’s wonderful to see,” he said.