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A New Way To Work: Mindfully

January 11, 2012

Enlightened Mindfulness Meditation As former Medtronic CEO and acclaimed author Bill George has stated “Leaders who do not take time for introspection and reflection may be vulnerable to being seduced by external rewards, such as power, money, and recognition. Or they may feel a need to appear so perfect to others that they cannot admit vulnerabilities and acknowledge mistakes.” In 2010, he teamed with Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche to present a conference on “mindful leadership,” a secular process to explore the roles of self-awareness and self-compassion in developing strong and effective leaders. Over 400 people participated actively in the retreat. “To our knowledge, this is the first time that a Buddhist Rinpoche and a leadership professor have joined forces to explore this subject and see how Eastern teaching can inform our Western thinking about leadership and vice versa,” George says.

Bill George: Reflections on “Mindful Leadership” Retreat

I have previously published my interview with renowned executive coach Marshall Goldsmith. His coaching philosophy is based upon Buddhist principles.

Marshall Goldsmith on Personal Values

There is a school of thought in business coaching that believes in strict adherence to a behavior modification model, one that is based on changing a client’s reaction to external conditions. However, in Goldsmith’s new book Mojo, he states that a person’s identity, her self-definition, is one of the building blocks of a positive spirit. He believes that we have no “fixed identity” but instead we are ever changing. During our video interview, I first asked him to explain how coaching to change a client’s identity is different from coaching to change behavior. Goldsmith also described his talk with Bono and the evolution of U2 singer’s identity from rock star to include a humanitarian persona.

Marshall Goldsmith on Identity(video)

Later in the interview, he gave his advice on how to be happy and let go of guilt. Goldsmith used parables to deftly illustrate his insights for releasing the emotional burdens that chain us to habitual patterns and prevent us from experiencing self-acceptance.

Marshall Goldsmith on Letting Go of Guilt (video)

Meng Tan, whose official title at Google is “Jolly Good Fellow,” is an early employee of Google who for years worked as a software engineer at the company and is now Head of Google University’s School of Personal Growth, where among other activities he oversees and teaches the mindfulness-based program, “Search Inside Yourself.”

TEDTalks: Google’s Meng Tan at the UN (video)

In a powerful example of the effectiveness Eastern philosophy can have in a business environment, executive coach Pamela Weiss, founder of Appropriate Response, and Todd Pierce, former CIO of Genentech and now EVP at, have demonstrated the amazing ROI of teaching mindfulness to workers. Their work has been highlighted Harvard Business Review and O Magazine.

The Amazing ROI of Mindfulness

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 20, 2012 7:47 pm

    Bhutan is introducing mindfulness practice into their school system, believing that self-awareness provides grounding and a valuable life “skill” for people of all ages and all walks of life. I believe the practices of yoga and Tai-Chi offer similar approaches to mindfulness.


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