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Mindfulness in Organizations: 1st European conference in Amsterdam 2018

Mindfulness in Organizations: 1st European conference in Amsterdam 2018

I had the opportunity to participate in the 1st European conference about Mindfulness in Organizations. This event happened in October 2018 in Amsterdam and I hope that it will be the first one of a long list of conferences regarding this topic.

We started the day in a completely uncommon way for a professional conference. We were invited to discuss with our neighbor about how mindfulness was fitting into our life. I found this icebreaker really powerful to directly connect to the topic of the day.

Then, before to start the presentation, all the audience was invited to close their eyes for 2 minutes of meditation. I can’t repeat enough how stopping for a moment and connecting to our breath and to the present moment is a powerful tool for our well being.

The first part of the morning, we had 2 presentations, and instead of paraphrasing what they introduced us, I prefer to share with you their presentation (that you can find on the website of the conference)

  1. Wibo Koole - Director of the Center of Mindfulness in Amsterdam

  2. Britta Hölzel a neuroscience researcher and a MBSR teacher

Then during the second part of the morning, Rasmus Hougaard, Founder of Potential Project and author of '“The Mind of the Leader” made his presentation. Here few words from him:

“The world is facing a global leadership crisis. 77% of leaders think they do a good job of engaging their people, yet 88% of employees say their leaders do a bad job with engagement. There is also a high level of suffering in the workplace: 65% of employees would forego a pay raise to see their leaders fired.

This is an enormous waste of human talent –despite the fact that $46 billion is spent each year on leadership development.”

From his research based on the assessment of 35,000 leaders, Rasmus Hougaard concludes that organizations and leaders aren’t meeting employees’ basic human needs of finding meaning, purpose, connection, and genuine happiness in their work.

For him, to solve the 21st-century leadership crisis, managers need to develop 3 key skills;

  • Mindfulness

  • Compassion

  • Selfness

I found this trio skills really innovative and so pertinent. I really loved this presentation.

At lunch, we had the opportunity to practice a mindful exercise by two: during 10 minutes one of the pair was talking (or being silent) while the second person was listening in silence. Always really rich to do this practice with a stranger, especially when you are the first one talking! (which was my case ;-) )

In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to choose between parallels sessions.

I attended the following sessions:

  1. Kiki Vreeling: Master class presentation about Mindful leadership:

  2. Ginny Chequer (Cisco) & Marloes Telle (Dutch Ministry of Education): Business cases (only one available to share)

  3. Silke Rupprecht: Mindfulness in the workplace: What do we really know and how can we advance the field?

I found really interesting to have people from different background: scientific and business people. It gave me different approaches to Mindfulness in organizations.

The last presentation was done by Daniel Goleman who is specialized in Emotional Intelligence and Leadership & Meditation.

For him, the ingredients of a star performance for leaders are based on 85% of emotional intelligence and 15% on technical skills. And, he reminded us that Mindfulness is the essence of emotional intelligence.

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At the end of the day, I was full of hope that Mindfulness is coming slowly in Organizations and will have a positive impact on the employees, managers and organizations.

In that sense, I hope that the world of tomorrow will have less burn out and more engagement and happiness from the employees.

Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash

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