How a company can be mindful!
The beginning of a new year provides a great opportunity to consider what we would like to focus on during the year ahead. As the year began I evaluated the virtues I needed to work on, and it was no surprise to me, or my family, that patience was back on the list. Making a debut on my list was something I wanted to include as a daily practice…mindfulness. Many call this a calming awareness and the concept has been traced to the Buddhist way of meditation.
For me, mindfulness means a few minutes of quieting the noise around me. I’d like to specifically focus on appreciating the day before me; the work ahead of me, the people I may encounter, the help and encouragement I might be able to provide. My hope is to work on being grateful for the gift of each day, and, yes, even the opportunities that would no doubt, be provided for me to learn patience.
And as many companies face the year ahead, I wonder if mindfulness has any place in Corporate America? Besides the usual business goals, what else could an organization be mindful about?
Mindfulness is not always easy. In fact, it can involve risks and obviously it takes time to be mindful. One recent example of mindfulness in a corporate setting showed up right after the Superbowl….CBS’s new series, “Undercover Boss.” Where Larry O’Donnell, COO and President of Waste Management, poses as an entry level employee, named Randy, to get a feel for the employees out in the field. Larry explains his motive, “
“This is going to give me the opportunity to really see what its like to work at Waste Management. I am sending out targets and cost cutting goals from my office. I want to see if the targets are realistic on the ground. If I am able to pull this off I may be able to revolutionize some of our processes. It could make us more efficient which could mean saving jobs and that is what I’m looking for.”
This is great example of how morale filters down and not up! Larry “stepped out the box” with the ulterior motive to learn about his employees and how the day-to-day operations function. He got so much more than that! He was able to see first hand, their dedication to their jobs, how well they perform their jobs, in spite of some company policies and best of all, Larry got to witness, first hand, what motivated and good quality people he had working for Waste Management.
Due to Larry spending week doing different ‘front line’ jobs, he facilitated changes in company policies, expressed his appreciation and awe in their commitment to Waste Management and even promoted one to a managerial position because she was overworked, and doing three jobs in order to keep her family in their home.
Way to go Larry!
Every decision that affects a population in your organization should have some input from that population. A decision from “on high” without input from those affected, sends a negative message to the rest. How could you and your organization put mindfulness to the test this year? Here are a few ideas:
1. Form a committee of those employees who would be affected, to provide input to the situation, BEFORE the decision is made. This doesn’t mean that the decision will be changed, but it does provide the chance for collective wisdom.
2. Have a hot line established for a specific issue you may be facing, to allow anonymous input before a decision is made. This gives employees a sense that their opinion does matter!
3. Have an informal lunch once a week in an open forum, with a group of different levels of employees. Keep the sole purpose of the lunch to listen to what’s going on in their lives.
Even if you choose one thing that you may be able to implement this year, to help become more mindful of your team members, clients and customers…don’t you think it would be worth it?