Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Mindfulness in the Coporate World

Mindfulness in the Corporate World
I have become very interested in the topic of mindfulness recently. It’s a ‘buzzword’ at the moment. I have ‘liked’ a mindfulness facebook page and so I get the regular reminders to be mindful. I knew it meant living in the moment. I know we are supposed to do that. I have plenty of ‘self-help’ books that tell me how I should be living. But I have become intrigued by the merging of Mindfulness and the Corporate World. Of course it makes sense. Every day our daily interactions not only in our personal but also our working world affect how our day goes. As a business owner and manager each day you interact with your employees and customers and it is these daily interactions that create the web that becomes who we are, they are and what the business is.
I am intrigued to see how Mindfulness strategies can actually affect our daily interactions. We are told perception is everything. Get up in the morning and say to yourself that you will have a good day and it will be good. Say positive affirmations all through the day at night and they will be true. Act as if you have all you want now. I do try these but by the time the kids have breakfast and we are out the door I have forgotten to do these let alone by the time you get to work.
The basis of my business is practical applications of theory. I decided to start reading up on mindfulness to see could I really apply it to my work life. I picked up a book entitled ‘Mindfulness at work’ and started reading some blogs. A few simple points even already have stood out…

Speak with compassion: No matter what you have to say to the other person speak with compassion. I think a smile on your face when appropriate is always good too.

Consider your ego: Your ego is what you have become. If you have been doing things a certain way for a while now, this has become you. Take a look and see if this is really who you want to be. I have found work very stressful for quite a while now and recently had a light bulb moment. Although I am the owner of the business and do bear the ultimate responsibility I realised I was holding too much in fact all the responsibility and not letting my employees take their share or even if they were,  I was still taking their share. This is different from delegating actual physical work but the responsibility is different, it’s the intangible and that’s what causes the stress.

Meditation: Provide the opportunity for employee to take a few minutes to be by themselves to regroup their thoughts. A thought struck me that children in school should also be able to do this.  Perhaps this is one reason children can become disruptive.

Assume Nothing: I am constantly messing this one up. Heading into interactions knowing what I need to say but making assumptions on the part of the other person. Being in the moment means you haven’t even thought ahead to what that person might think of what you have to say.

Know yourself: Mindfulness at work points out how important it is to really understand who you are. Think about what makes you excited and what makes you feel burdened. We all know the feeling of stress where you feel it’s too much and we all know the butterflies in the tummy when you are excited and there is a bounce in our step. Life is too short, we need more of the latter.

Act as if it’s the first time: My children amaze me. They are so open, so observant. Somewhere along the line we lose that. My three year old will spot details that I totally miss.

I do think all of these strategies will take time to build up. I am a busy working mum of three and I know I do my best every day. So my goal is to slowly bring these strategies into my life. It’s important for us to look at who we are and what we want out of life. Learning to handle situations that cause stress, to relinquish some of the responsibility and let go. 

Friday, 27 June 2014

The World of Work

As I watch my husband run his International consulting business while sitting on the couch beside our 7yr old there is no doubt that the world of work is changing. We often can and do work from anywhere and anytime for part of the time anyway. Don't get me wrong, he isn't sitting there all the time. In fact he hasn't been 'home' in five weeks because he has been based in his offices in the US, on business in Belfast and Dublin so although he's physically here, he is working.

While so much of what we do can be accomplished by technology, there is and I'm not sure will ever be a subtitute for facetime and relationships. My husband bases his business on building relationships, often not sure where if anywhere they will lead to but he knows every relationship and every meeting is valuable. A connection is made that may someday piece together a puzzle leading to business and value for both parties. He has spent years and thousands of hours meeting and networking to build this circle of relationships and he not only builds them but he sustains them.

David McWilliams discussed on his blog this week how technology will destroy the middle classes. In it he highlights how much of the function of so called 'experts' such as lawyers and accountants can now be replaced by technology that these are in a way dying careers.

However, I feel that in this changing world of work and noisy environment of communication that we live in we will start to drown out much of this automation and go back to the basics of relationships. If we are looking for help what is often the first route we turn to, its looking for a recommendation?

The key lesson in this for us as business owners or operators is to consider it vitally important to add value for your customers. What differentiates you from your competitors. Have your marketing done and know what it is your customers want. If you are a newly established business then you will have most likely done this but what if you have been in business for five years and sales are slowing down. Are you listening to your customers, do you know what the market place needs? When you know what your customers needs then you can not only offer the service but add that personal touch that makes your business special.