“When you’re mindful… rules, routines, and goals guide you - they don’t govern you.”  Ellen Langer (Harvard Business Review, March, 2014)

The skill of “observation” is a lost art for many leaders.  Observation, or “mindfulness”, is the art of actively learning new things from our daily experiences.

Mindfulness makes you more sensitive to context and culture.  Mindfulness is intentional, but not stressful or exhaustive.  It comes naturally once you develop the skill.

Why is mindfulness important?  You can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. The rules you have been given are the rules that worked for the person who created them. If someone says, “This is the way we do it, learn this until it is second nature”, bells should go off in your head.  If they are speaking about values, that is one thing, but if they are speaking about methods, that is another thing entirely.  Principles never change, but methods always do.

Benefits of mindfulness:

  • You learn to observe what others are doing, how they are feeling, and what they are communicating non-verbally
  • You pay attention more easily
  • You ask better questions
  • You learn by listening and observing
  • You become more innovative
  • You are more fully present
  • You are able to take advantage of opportunities when they are available
  • You become less judgmental about others
  • Mindfulness alleviates boredom