What Are Secret Business Mondays? #MindfulnessForLife

What Are Secret Business Mondays?
Gil Scott Heron
“Have you heard the word, Johannesburg”, was the refrain from a 1970’s protest song by Gil Scott Heron and Brian Jackson. I used to listen to it on Radio Caroline.
There have been many ‘Words’ since then — Calls to Arms, Signifiers, Totems, Attractors — &, one that today is creating quite a buzz, both on the streets and in Board Rooms, is Mindfulness.
It already has cult like status in the Business World and CEO’s from all sectors are calling it their new secret weapon; giving both them and their companies added potency and greater oomph!
Secret Business Mondays
Are in fact Mindful Business Drop-Ins and they’re happening everywhere. In New York and London, Paris and Mumbai.
Indeed, if you’re reading this and it is a Monday, one could be happening just around the corner from you now. But why has Mindfulness become the new best friend of Business and what difference can it make to the hard-nosed corporate world?
Indeed, such differences that one multinational company reported +147% higher earnings per share following the introduction of an in-house Mindfulness programme.
Boosting the Bottom Line
Mindfulness is not just about zoning out, but zooming in — Its paying Attention to the present moment and decluttering the brain to make room for creativity — &, in Business that can mean boosting the bottom line. We’ve already seen in a previous newsletter what the practice of Mindfulness can do for Leadership; well it also makes business better from the inside out, because it puts the heart back into the workplace.
It gets people talking about stuff that is human and relatable — &, do you know what? People do business with people!
Perhaps that’s why Hedge Funds and Banks, Public Transport, Distillers, Insurance, High-Tech, On-Line and Social Media companies like Adobe, Apple, eBay, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, are all embracing it.
Constant Motion and Commotion
But, if you ask me, there’s more to it than that… We live and work in a world that is in constant motion and commotion and on the edge of change, if not chaos, day-in day-out.
Nothing particularly new in that though, is there?
In the 1980’s Tom Peters was telling us we were ‘Thriving on Chaos’. A few years before that in the late 1970’s, John Kotter and Leonard Schlesinger wrote in their book ‘Strategies For Change’, that organisations experience some form of change once a year and a major upheaval at least once every five years.
And one hundred years before that Henry Ford observed that people were constantly going about their business, “with nervous hands and worried minds”.
Some Results
There is an increasing recognition amongst employers today that a high stress and non-supportive working environment can have a highly toxic impact, not just on performance and productivity, but on labour costs as well.
But in the companies or organisations where Mindfulness programmes have been introduced — & these can be as far apart as Transport for London & the US Army — Goldman Sachs & Carlsberg — the results have been pretty awesome:

  • 88% of participants from one multinational insurance company reported improved concentration, greater creativity and higher productivity;
  • A 71% fall in the days taken for anxiety, stress and depression, were reported in a major UK Transport Company; &
  • A 7% fall in Health Care Costs followed the introduction of a 12 week Mindfulness programme for employees working in a US company employing over 47,000 people

Hard-nosed figures
These are some pretty hard-nosed figures I think you’ll agree, but this is just the tip of a pretty mighty iceberg.
More generally though, following the introduction of Mindfulness programmes in the workplace, we are talking about:

  • Greater employee engagement and enhanced employer/employee relationships
  • Increased mental and physical resilience
  • Marked reductions in overall stress and feeling overwhelmed
  • Better decision making; &
  • Greater tolerance and less workplace conflict

I think this all adds up to a pretty compelling case for why even the most hard-nosed business — Large or Small — Local, Regional, National or International — &, in whatever sector — should be taking a long hard looked at what Mindfulness is and how it might introduce it into the workplace!
But how do you introduce it?
This might be through lunchtime Taster Sessions, encouraging staff to stop multi-tasking and rather to focus on doing just one thing at a time. Or, even suggesting that employees should have regular screen breaks, or time away from the shop floor.

Just start. It’s that simple. Begin your journey to uncovering mindfulness today.

To start, &, here’s the thing — Just start — It could be as simple as having a daily Mindful Coffee Break, where you begin with a deep breath and take a few moments to notice where you are and how your body feels. Then how you feel — taking note of the thoughts passing through your mind. Allow yourself to feel the sensation of the cup, the shape, surface texture, the touch as it fits snugly in your hand, and the rising warmth. Enjoy the rich coffee aroma and then the taste, followed by the memory of past cups of coffee and then return to the present moment experience as you remind yourself that it’s OK if your mind wanders — You just simply bring it back to the present moment, whilst you take a sip, savour and enjoy.
Or, what about having a pre-presentation or pre-meeting Mindful Stretch, where in a quiet place you simply stand up straight and open up your chest. Then with your feet at hip-distance, lift your hands in the air with palms facing forward and take some deep breaths as you enjoy the sensations of the open body posture and the feel of release as you stretch your body.

So, promise me one thing. Let’s put Well Being and well Doing onto the corporate agenda and bring Mindfulness into every workplace, However large, however small.

If you’re an employer, set aside time and room, Start to offer lunchtime Mindfulness Raster sessions, encourage staff to stop multi-tasking and instead focus on doing just one thing at a time, and to take regular breaks.

And if you’re an employee, why don’t you get together with your colleagues and set a Mindful Challenge for your workplace. Start each day with a positive affirmation, keep daily Gratitude Journals and practice Mindfulness breathing before undertaking difficult or repetitive tasks.
What It Is, Is What It Is

James Brown called it Mind Power and wrote a song about it that featured on his 1973 LP, ‘The Pay Back’.
“What it is, is what it is” he sung and that is the essence of Accepting and being Mindful.

My book, Uncovering Mindfulness’ has a lot more on Mindful Business, and in the next newsletter we’ll be taking a look at Mindfulness and Coaching, based on my work with both Business & Executive Coaches.
Meanwhile you can follow the continuing journey Uncovering Mindfulness on Twitter @TheMindfulBook and check out the podcast series, From Mindfulness With Love’, on both iTunes and YouTube.
So, until the next time, Be Mindful!

Paul :)