Most businesses aspire to building a highly talented, ultra efficient, creative and resilient senior management team. Yet many indicators suggest that the corporate mind is under intense pressure and struggling to cope with stress. Derek Leddie and Samantha Graham are this edition’s guest columnists, exploring how meditation can help build resilience and assist in developing a high powered mind.
In Australia, more than $133.9 million was paid in benefits to workers who made claims relating to workplace stress during the 2004/2005 tax year. Indicators suggest that this is significantly increasing. Talk with your senior team and many, in a quiet moment, will admit that they are struggling.
The last 20 years has seen a plethora of corporate wellbeing programs introduced. From full day innovation workshops, to motivational seminars and corporate team building exercises; we’re witnessing a range of programs designed to deliver smarter, integrated, healthier, creative workforces.
However, the true sustainability and return on investment of such programs is often questionable. Do these practices really lift our mind potential in a sustainable way? Or are these just band aids that make us feel better in the short term?
US statesman, Colin Powell has suggested a different way: meditation. In a recent paper delivered at the Los Angeles Leaders Conference, he outlined the success experienced by US Militaries in using meditation to build resilience amongst fighter pilots. He also highlighted the strong associations between meditation and creativity, mind focus, innovation and mindfulness.
The question arises; if meditation is so powerful, then why has it not yet been integrated with the business world?
We’d like to propose that meditation is a powerful solution held back by a major image problem, a dosage problem and an understanding problem that makes it a very difficult pill to swallow in business in2013.
If we remove the gurus, the hippy image, integration issues (do I have to sit on the side of a mountain to meditate? Do I need to find time to go to a two hour yoga class?) and religious overtones – what’s left is a tool that is far easier and more relevant to digest in today’s corporate world.
After all, nothing can survive and thrive so profoundly for so long without true integrity, substance and value.
With an open mindset, meditation can be integrated into today’s ever switched on world with just a few simple techniques:
- Yoga classes can take as little as 10 minutes
- Meditation can occur anywhere, even in the car on the way to work
- Strategies can be employed to access 30 second rapid resets throughout the work day.
In stressful situations, having meditation tools can allow you to pause and use the breath to calm the nervous system rather than reacting instantaneously. After just a short time, people often find that they are sleeping better, diets are changing, efficiency is escalating, and above all better decisions are being made.
Derek Leddie (a long term client of William Buck), founded, led and chaired The Leading Edge from 1990 till 2005, which ultimately became a $35million turnover business. Since then, Derek has spent much time researching yoga and meditation and is a fully qualified yoga teacher. Derek has the unique ability to understand both these worlds.
Dr Samantha Graham has trained many people in the skill of meditation. Samantha has developed her own approach to mediation called Freestyle Meditation.