Why do businesses need to incorporate stillness for success?

by Christian Kurmann

Think about your life in the here and now. What do you do every day, from the moment you awaken, to the moment you go to bed?



Introduction – Stress in the 21st Century

What do you do every day, from the moment you awaken, to the moment you go to bed? Do you remember something of your day, or all of it, or simply nothing? Do you try to block out things that happened during your day, because they are too distressful to think about? How do you feel from moment to moment?

Many people have very stressful days. Stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”.  Stress can cause change but often this kind of change is negative. Health and wellness are affected adversely. There is a lack of equilibrium between mind, body and soul – the way we think and act. It is time business people heard about the Mindful Revolution and the latest buzzword, Mindfulness.


What is Mindfulness?

For the layman, it is about being aware in the moment, now; taking stock of where you are right now without analysing anything. “A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique”.

An increasing number of corporate workers are starting to see the benefits of bringing this so-called craze into their daily commercial lives. The benefits revolve around being able to cope – on a mental, emotional and concrete every-day basis. Ask yourself as a business owner: do you see the worth in mindfulness?


What is Mindful Leadership?

How do we apply this to business? Mindful leadership involves being present, for yourself and for your staff and for what you are working towards. This is a very difficult task to achieve in a world driven by technology, by the linear clock and by deadlines. Rush, rush, rush. Sound familiar? Even the global capitalistic economy measures time in seconds, internet nanoseconds – a world that uses the past to assess the here and now and to plan for tomorrow, the future.

Leaders can cultivate presence, mindfulness.  Look at Google, one of the most successful companies in the world: employees can go to a class called “Search Inside Yourself”. Here they study mindfulness by learning useful academic practices. They are taught how best to show attention, how to go deeper into themselves, to know themselves and about self-control.

Imagine working in the engine room of the biggest search engine on earth? Stressful! Now employees are saying that they can cope better. They are handling their frustrations better, their unstable emotions and challenges that come their way. In a ripple effect, this ensures customers are more content and friendships don’t suffer. Change can be good!


Change can be Good

Change is difficult to deal with but change happens every day, every hour, every minute and corporate leaders need to be on top of their game to deal with this phenomenon. What is change? For most people change is about making something different – its form, nature, content or future course, for example. It can also mean transformation, modification or alteration. Variation or deviation or substitution. It can be the passing from one state into another, such as social change.

Change is possible only from the known to the unknown, but not from the known to the known. That is why we must discipline ourselves to learn about ourselves and our teams, to learn to trust and be courageous. Change often happens when there is a crisis. This forces us to deal with something out of the ordinary, in the here and now. So how does a business leader change to follow mindful leadership? Or use change to create the best working space possible?


Change and Mindful Leading

The first step is realising that continuous changes require flexibility and customisation that we must learn and cultivate. This means that leaders and decision-makers must maintain their inner balance when external changes occur. A strengthened inner balance gives them more security and confidence in making the right decisions. If we learn to let go of doubts, fears and attachments, unconventional decisions are better accepted and can be firmly established.

Mindful leadership training is about shaping one’s inner balance and inner attitude. Silence is practiced in order to provide clarity in the assessment of new situations when challenges occur.

When someone leads mindfully, or consciously, with intent, it creates a sense of real leadership. This kind of leader can focus on issues with a clear mind, at the same time being imaginative and feeling empathy with the colleagues around him/her. Leading mindfully needs complete, open-minded kindness in the here and now. Those in the presence of a mindful leader feel the positive energy and their attentive presence. This is inspiring and can work against all odds to add value to any company, from the bottom up.


How does mindfulness work?

“Mindfulness is often defined as ‘non-judgmental, moment to moment awareness’. As leaders, it can also be thought of as the cultivation of leadership presence… But presence can be cultivated and is necessary for a leader to bring all of his/her mind’s capabilities to leadership”.

When we have learned to let go of our doubts, fears and uncertainties, we can feel deeply grounded with our inner selves therefore towards our immediate community. We can cultivate an impenetrable belief in our abilities. This level of confidence gives us certainty that so much more is possible than we ever previously anticipated. The brain is always geared to adjust, especially if we do it with enthusiasm and willingness, without striving.

Change can happen without choice. We must understand that required change management, for example, cannot be successfully implemented using compulsion, fear, influence, discipline and reinforcement. Since we are educated and trained to be good, rational and intellectual leaders, our leadership and development approach cultivates a sharp, thorough, acquisitive organisational environment.

But this is tumbling away. To re-balance, we must cultivate self-knowledge so that all teams gain a deep understanding of the total process within themselves.

This brings us to the idea of clarity and bringing love into leadership. These qualities can transform a company emotionally and professionally, if only the leader cultivates them. The first step is to have a very clear vision and to make sure your staff understand and agree with this vision. Form the vision with your staff, as a combined effort. Be a great leader and inspire your staff! Be compassionate and yes, loving. People follow those who have presence and who know where they are going. This will avoid frustration and disheartenment and stress within your people who ARE the company.

Be a loving leader and lead with clarity. This is mindful in itself.

Christian Kurmann