There are human resources development programs that are being introduced one after another by world-leading companies such as American Express, LinkedIn, and SAP. Its name is "Search Inside Yourself (SIY)". It was developed by Google based on brain science research with the aim of increasing EI (emotional intelligence) by practicing mindfulness. In fact, there is a correlation that employees with high EI improve work performance, leadership, and physical and mental health.
The author offers mindfulness-based leadership and organizational development programs in Japan, and is also a certified SIY instructor. The author, who is a leader in human resource development through such mindfulness, explains the merits of introducing mindfulness into an organization and the process of introduction. Based on case studies such as Yahoo, it even describes the steps to take the habit of mindfulness into the organization, so the action to be taken is clarified.
In Japan as well, mindfulness-based training has been introduced by more than 150 companies, including Yahoo, Recruit, and Panasonic. Skills needed to continue to deliver results and increase productivity and team strength in the unpredictable VUCA era. That is mindfulness.
We hope that you will make use of this book to build the foundation for human resource development and organizational development.
The main points of this book
Mindfulness means a state of concentration on "now, this moment." Mindfulness is also a technology that keeps demonstrating the power of awareness by letting go of evaluation and judgment and observing oneself and the surroundings.
By introducing mindfulness into an organization, it is possible to realize "improvement of individual human resources", "improvement of individual leadership", "improvement of relationships" and "improvement of organizational strength".
Mindfulness practices include mindfulness meditation, journaling, and mindful listening.
Why is it mindfulness now?
Mindfulness has scientific backing
Mindfulness means a state of concentration on "now, this moment." This is also a technology that keeps demonstrating the power of awareness by observing one's thoughts, feelings, and surroundings as they are, without making a judgment of right or wrong.
So what is the impact of practicing mindfulness? This has been scientifically verified by monitoring the active brain using fMRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). According to a Harvard University study, eight weeks of mindfulness meditation for about 30 minutes a day revealed the following:
The first is that the thickness of the "hippocampus" increases. The hippocampus atrophies due to chronic stress. Therefore, the increase in the thickness means that the stress tolerance is improved in terms of brain function.
The second is that the reaction of the "amygdala", which controls emotions such as anger and anxiety, becomes slower. In other words, you can control your emotions and improve your self-management ability.
Other studies have also shown that it activates the "anterior cingulate cortex," which deliberately determines what to focus on. The anterior cingulate cortex is the site that controls optimal decision-making based on self-suppression and learning. In other words, practicing mindfulness makes it harder for people to become distracted and improves the quality of decision-making.
Thus, because of the scientific backing of mindfulness, world-leading companies like Google are introducing mindfulness training.[Must read point!] Four stages of change that mindfulness brings to the organization
Improving individual human resources
So what exactly is the change when introducing mindfulness into an organization? This change can be broadly divided into four stages.
The first step is to improve the human resources of individuals. In meditation, which is the basis of mindfulness, strengthening attention and concentration will make you aware that you have distracted during work. What's more, you can return your attention to work, which improves work efficiency.
Also, by concentrating on "now and this moment," you can reduce the feelings of negative emotions such as regret for the past and anxiety about the future, and keep your mind calm.
Improving personal leadership
The most important ability for leaders is said to be self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to know one's emotions, body, qualities, likes and dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and intuition.
By training self-awareness, the intrinsic motives of "what I am excited about" and "how I want to live" become clear. When you become aware of these things, you will be able to find ways to enjoy working in your own way at work. Such a figure attracts the people around it and leads to "improvement of individual leadership". This is the second stage.
People unconsciously make negative evaluations, criticisms, and judgments on the people around them. These actions prevent people from accepting others as they are, and hinder good relationships and communication with them. Moreover, criticisms and judgments against others are often due to selfish beliefs and stereotypes.
Therefore, in order to improve the relationship with others, it is important to be aware of the criticisms, criticisms, evaluations, and judgments that have been made unconsciously to others. By practicing mindfulness and improving the ability to be aware of yourself (self-awareness), you will become aware of the criticisms and evaluations that are occurring within you, and it will be easier for you to develop empathy. This deepens the understanding of others and leads to the third stage, "improvement of relationships."
Improvement of organizational strength
If the productive teams have something in common, what are they? A Google study from 2012 to 2014 revealed that they all have in common that "there is mental safety within the team."
By practicing mindfulness, psychological safety can be built within the team. Then, by directing the self-awareness enhanced by mindfulness to the subordinates, it becomes easier to grasp the feelings of the subordinates. Then, you will be able to sympathize with the pain of your subordinates, and you will develop compassion (compassion) to think, "What can I do for this subordinate?"
Compassion is the understanding of the essence of the suffering and pain of others, and the passion and action to improve it. When leaders have empathy-based compassion, psychological safety is created within the team. As a result, subordinates will be able to take the initiative and play an active role, increasing the productivity of the team and reaching the fourth stage of "improving organizational strength."
Introduce mindfulness to your organization
Step 1 Become an internal champion
There are three steps needed to bring mindfulness into your organization. The first step is to experience mindfulness for yourself. You should avoid feeling that you understand just by reading a book. The important thing is to embody the transformation that makes you want to change as much as you do through the practice of mindfulness.
He has the motivation to introduce mindfulness based on his own practice and has the potential to change the organization positively. The author calls such a person an "internal champion." The existence of an "internal champion" is indispensable for introducing mindfulness into an organization.
Step 2 Conduct in-house practice and training
Once you decide to introduce mindfulness, the next step is to practice or train in-house. If you have been trained by an expert, recruit applicants in-house and practice mindfulness in a small group.
If you are a top management or a person in charge of human resource development, you should consult with a company introduction expert and conduct in-house training. In this case, it is possible to consult from the planning of "how you want to change the company through mindfulness".
Step 3 Create an in-house environment that can last for 8 weeks
In order for an organization to maintain mindfulness, it is necessary to create a place where participants can easily participate. So, here are four points that the person in charge of introduction should keep in mind.
The first is to secure space. You can practice mindfulness as long as you have a place to sit, but it is desirable to have a private room such as a conference room.
The second is to set a time and notify. Let's set a regular time of 15 to 30 minutes before the start of work, break time, after work, etc. and let us know. The frequency may vary from company to company, such as once a week or daily on weekdays.
The third is the theme setting for mindfulness. Try to convey the theme every time, such as "Today, concentrate on the basic breathing."
And the fourth is a continuation of eight weeks. As with muscle training, by continuing, you can feel the increase in concentration and self-awareness.
How to practice mindfulness in an organization
"Mindfulness meditation" to improve individual human resources
"Mindfulness meditation" is the basis of the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation can be done in about 1 minute of free time. However, it is ideal to continue for 5 to 10 minutes until it becomes a habit.
The basic attitude is this. First, sit on a chair and sit with your pelvis upright. Put the soles of your feet on the ground without crossing your legs. Next, stretch the spine with the image that the spine stretches straight. Then turn your shoulders 3-4 times, lower your arms with your chest fully open, and place your hands on your thighs. Finally, close your eyes or half-open and hold yourself relaxed.
So how do you do basic breathing? First, inhale and exhale air through your nose, and then slowly perform abdominal breathing in a relaxed natural body. After that, pay attention to your breathing and be aware of the flow of air entering and exiting your nose. If you are worried about the sounds around you or the pain in your body and notice that you have distracted from your breathing, let go of your thoughts and return to your breathing. If you find yourself deciding that you're wrong, don't criticize that decision, just take it as "I think." And let's concentrate on breathing again.
Mindfulness aims not to "become nothing" but to pay attention to "now, this moment". I want to be aware of what happened to me, saying, "Now, I have some thoughts."
"Journaling" to improve leadership
In addition to mindfulness meditation, what leaders want to practice is a work called "journaling" called writing meditation. Here are some journaling procedures to improve self-awareness.
Take a note and pen first and move to a place where you can relax and concentrate.
Let's decide the theme to write next. Any theme that allows you to delve into yourself is fine. The following three themes are recommended. (A) What do you really care about, (B) What is your best condition, (C) What makes you irritated?
Next, set the timer for 7 minutes and keep writing what you can think of about the theme you chose. Then, read back what you wrote down after the end.
The text I wrote by moving my hand before I thought about it shows my true intentions. In the case of the previous theme, the theme (A) reveals one's own values, the theme (B) reveals one's productivity highest, and the theme (C) reveals one's beliefs and stereotypes.
"Mindful listening" that enhances relationships
It is "mindful listening" that creates psychological safety in an organization. Mindful listening is simply silently listening to the other person's story, without interfering with your own opinion. The procedure is as follows.
Make a pair of two people and decide the "listener" and "speaker". The speaker is free to talk for two minutes on a pre-determined theme. The theme can be anything. Even if you don't talk anymore, wait until you have something you want to talk about. Continue to talk about the content that springs up.
Next, the listener concentrates all consciousness and listens to the speaker's story with all his heart. Pay attention not only to conversation, but also to the other person's gestures, facial expressions, and breathing. It's okay to nod during the conversation, but don't answer or ask any questions aloud. As you become more accustomed to being aware of the other person's story, at the same time turn your attention to your own voice. Concentrate on the other person's story → listen to the evaluation and judgment of your own heart → let go of the evaluation and criticism → return your attention to the other person's story again.
If you face the other person with such mindful listening, you will realize that the relationship of trust with the other person will grow.
Recommendation of reading
In this book, three more methods of mindfulness practice are introduced. If you are interested, please try the "Body Scan", "Rubbing Kindness Meditation", and "Pre-Meeting Mindfulness Meditation" works.
In addition, the case studies of Yahoo and Sansan, which practice mindfulness, are also worth reading. I am grateful to know the background of the introduction, the process of establishing mindfulness within the company, and the real response within the company. This is a book for those who are considering the introduction of mindfulness training.