going to inspire other people, and the best in other people, to go through a similar process. On a practical level, you can foster that in the way you lead your organization, creating policies and space and time that honor people’s need for renewal. Create avenues for them to learn these kinds of practices. It provides greater levels of creativity and innovation within the fi rm. But then it’s also the way that you handle decision-making. For example, Patagonia went

through a period where they faced major shortfalls. There was likely to have to been cuts of up to 150 people in order to meet needs in one particular quarter. The leadership went into a refl ective process and asked, “Are we making these decisions, imposing them from

the top down from a place of fear? How else could we do this more mindfully?” They decided to be transparent about what they were facing, and the entire staff worked together to create a much more innovative solution that cut costs. Not one person had to be laid off because of that approach.

Knowledge@Wharton: Do you think other companies are willing to take a mindful approach?

Steidle: I am seeing signifi cant shifts that are taking place. A lot of the tech companies are looking at mindfulness. It’s starting as an investment in the well-being of staff and understanding that it supports productivity, creativity and morale. But I think that it is starting to be recognized as a tool that goes beyond the individual benefi ts.

It is a way of shifting, creating change and doing business more eff ectively and more collaboratively, especially with your stakeholders.

Knowledge@Wharton: Do you think this acceptance of mindfulness marks a generational change?


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Steidle: That is a great question. I am seeing it across all generations at this time. There are individuals who have been practicing this for decades who are really leading the charge and helping us see the applicability of mindfulness in settings beyond where it initially emerged out of more wisdom traditions. And I think young people today are seeking a professional experience that brings a level of meaning and purpose, in addition to the other forms of success that we seek from our professional endeavors. By investing in a process of mindfulness that may come from something outside of the workforce, they are recognizing that this is integrated into the way in which they choose career and life balance. This is relevant. Companies that can embrace this now will really be on the cutting edge of creating workplaces that support the well- being of all workers. This is not about self-indulgence. This is about recognizing that there is a diff erent way of leading, of understanding each other, and creating environments and cultures that support the best from each individual.

“You lead better as a manager who approaches things from a place of curiosity as opposed to judgment and blame.”

46 | | mar 2018

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