Mindful Leadership – The Mindful MBA?

Mindfulness at Harvard?

Mindfulness is certainly gaining popularity in the “West”.  When I started this blog, it was purely out of my interest in practicing mindfulness.  Now, it seems to be almost everywhere, including the hallowed halls of Harvard Business School (HBS).

For those of who don’t know Bill George, here’s a video of him speaking about Mindful Leadership.

Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bill George, Professor of Management Practice at HBS, who writes a column for the Huffington Post (the irony alone… hahaha) revealed that he’s been practicing meditation for years.

I began meditating thirty-seven years ago after my wife Penny dragged me “kicking and screaming” to a weekend training program in transcendental meditation at the University of Minnesota. I started meditating twenty minutes, twice a day, and stayed with the practice because I felt better and was more effective at work and at home…

…After I meditate, I feel calm and centered, having slowed my mind from the adrenalin-fueled, frenetic workday pace. Consequently, I am able to focus deeply on the big questions and do my most productive thinking. The clarity that comes with meditation enables me to escape from my never-ending “to do” list…


I Commend Bill!

Thirty-seven years of meditating is a great accomplishment, especially if he’s done it every day, or close to that.  I congratulate him for coming out of the closet as a meditation fan, especially running in the circles of HBS, which has a reputation for being very conservative and conformist.  Doing what he did could be thought of as being the guy who shows up to a board meeting of a “too big to fail bank” wearing shorts and sandals.  It’s just not “appropriate” in the eyes of the polished and programmed crowd…zzzzzzz….  I digress…

Meditation and mindfulness practice certainly do allow you to clear your mind and filter out unimportant information.  I use it every day to focus on higher priority tasks while either delegating or setting lower value tasks aside.  I don’t feel the need to get caught up in the details of everything right off the bat, and I don’t feel a compelling need to speculate much either.

Before I started practicing mindfulness regularly, I used to obsess about those two things all day long.  I’d get caught up in endless loops…

The Mindfulness Tipping Point

Mindfulness is indeed reaching a tipping point.  If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s books, it certainly seems to be on the cusp of becoming very mainstream.  If it does, it could be great for humanity, although like any trend, it risks the stage of burnout as well.

I’m hoping that it’s more of a gradual curve up than an exponential rise.  I’d like to not see a “mindfulness bubble”.  It’s too deep a practice and can take a lifetime to master.

In The Hallowed Halls

If mindfulness has permeated the halls of Harvard Business School, then there’s hope for more mindful leadership. it seems as if many of our leaders hail from there.  Exposure to mindfulness for the coming crop of graduates can only be a good thing.  If they embrace mindfulness, they will certainly have a much broader and clearer understanding of themselves and the world.

This could lead to a new era of enlightened leaders.  At least, more enlightened.  If you look at the current state of DC, we could sure use some mindfulness.  Save for Congressman Tim Ryan, he has the right idea.  We could use more like him, regardless of political party, which is just a stupid smokescreen anyway.

What are your thoughts?  Leave a comment.

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