“Develop a daily habit of introspection.” According to Harvard Business School Senior Fellow Bill George, this was the Dalai Lama’s simple response when he asked him how the nation could develop a new generation of compassionate, mindful leaders. In a recent article for the Huffington Post, George acknowledged that while this would be no easy feat, many companies have taken steps in the right direction to promote mindful practices. He offered these examples:
- Google trains 2,000 engineers in meditation each year.
- Financial services firms Blackrock and Goldman Sachs offer mindfulness courses for their employees.
- After partnering with Duke University to study meditation and yoga, Aetna, the nation’s third largest health insurer, now offers similar programs to all employees as well as its insured customers.
George also offered this observation about the connection between leaders’ emotions and their ability to make good decisions: “Our hearts are where essential leadership qualities like passion, compassion and courage reside. By practicing mindfulness, mindful leaders exhibit high levels of self-awareness and intentionality in their actions.”
For his part, George has meditated daily for the past 30 years. According to him, “[his] most creative ideas come from meditating, and meditation has built resilience to deal with difficult times. No doubt it has helped [him] become a better leader.”
Regardless of what form they may take for you personally, George’s primary argument in favor of practices that foster more mindful leadership seems not only reasonable to me, but essential to the future success of associations.
George writes, “As our lives have become filled with technology, the distractions we face increase exponentially. With it, our ability to focus has diminished, but our need to think clearly in order to make complex decisions has not. More than ever, leaders need to train themselves to be fully present.”