Mindful staff make creative companies. A creative brain needs to be open, flexible, attentive and not over-stressed. This is the state of mind that mindfulness encourages and this boosts the creative part of the brain.
Mindfulness brings bigger-picture views. An open mindful brain has flexibility to step back from habitual thinking. This brings perspective and bigger-picture vantage points to view problems and opportunities. This promotes creative forward-thinking decision making. The larger picture also widens thinking from just the immediate threat bringing a calmer clarity under intense pressure
Mindfulness develops the focus and attention ‘muscle’. Mindfulness trains the brain to concentrate and strengthens attention. This means that the mind wonders less and is more on the task at hand. People enter a ‘flow’ state of mind, giving a feeling of well-being. Staff are less distracted and more productive. And since an ‘un-wandering’ is a happier mind, morale increases while more gets done in less time.
Mindfulness encourages problem solving. Instead of operating in “avoidance mode” to escape perceived risk (often over-estimated, subjective and defensive), mindfulness encourages an open “approach mode”. Operating in “approach” eases creativity, engagement and problem solving. Mindfulness inspires curiosity of important new information, challenges preconceptions and supports more rational and proportionate decision making.
Innovation and creativity for business competitiveness. If staff overuse specific problem solving strategies, or take decisions are based on previous decisions, creativity is stifled. Staff may need to learn how to take account of new information to bring fresh innovative ideas to the organisation.
Mindful leadership. Leaders on overtaxed schedules present a risk. Rushed thinking becomes narrow and uncreative, leads to careless decisions and reactive behaviours. These choices could harm the business, staff and the community. Leaders need focus for clarity, an open mind for innovation and excellent people skills to lead by example.
Problem solving and decision making. ‘Sunk-cost bias’ wastes time and costs businesses money. This is the “tendency to continue to keep driving a decision once an investment in money, effort, or time has been made.” Employees then invest more wasted resources unconsciously trying to make a bad decisions good, ignoring more productive solutions to the problem. The same old unworkable strategies are used yet again.
Research on improving focus and attention shows that mindfulness can enhance the ability to sustain attention after just four days of meditation training. Meditators were able to maintain focus and accurately retrieve information from working memory even under conditions that demanded a rapid response. In another study, researchers measured attention performance and ECG activity. They found that practicing meditation increases the speed with which attention can be focused and refocused. This increased the depth of information processing. They also found that meditation improves attention after just a 4-day meditation retreat.
Research on improved problem solving through mindfulness measured behaviour and fMRI scans in meditators and non-meditators playing the Ultimatum Game (where players win by accruing play money). This showed that meditators activate different neural networks to regulate their emotions more efficiently. This improved beneficial monetary problem solving based on rational rather than emotional responses. Another study measured mindfulness and sunk-cost bias. For example, it is difficult to ignore expensive bad advice or to delete badly written text that has taken time to draft even though it would be better to start again. Such biases can cost businesses time, money, business and reputation. The researchers said that: “It is particularly notable in this set of studies that increased resistance to the sunk-cost bias occurred after only a brief recorded mindfulness-meditation induction”
Learning & Developing Well at The Being Well
Boosting productivity is a concern of every workplace. The issue of productivity embraces a whole range of human psychological skills. This includes being more in the present to focus on the job at hand, making decisions that enhance job efficiency, thinking creatively to spot better solutions and leading others to be better workers. Mindfulness has been proven to bring changes in all of these areas.
LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT
HOW MINDFULNESS HELPS
THE WORKPLACE ISSUE
Research on creativity and mindfulness explored meditators vs non-meditators in tasks such as verbal fluency and creative perspective switching. Meditators outperformed and showed decreased habitual behaviour and repetitive negative thoughts, and increased ability to identify and use novel yet obvious solutions. The benefit of mindfulness was found following just a six-week intervention.
Mindful leadership as an important development can be seen in the fact that more MBAs and organisational psychology courses now include mindfulness. Findings from the Institute of Mindful Leadership showed that 93% of leaders surveyed said mindfulness helped them create space for innovation. Around 89% said it enhanced their ability to listen to themselves and others, and nearly 70% said it helped them think strategically.
MINDFULNESS AT WORK
Mindful Work Overview
"Problems can not be solved at the same level of awareness that created them."
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