Mindfulness Benefits Decision-Making

I have previously mentioned how the special US special forces practice mindfulness so that they are not distracted high pressure situations and are able to make better decisions.  (Here.)

Yet even in the relative calm of the C-suite, business Leaders must also demonstrate  strong decision-making skills – focus, analysis and objectivity –  yet few have been trained in the subject.

I notice that INSTEAD, one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, are now providing training for those seeking to enhance their decision-making abilities –  and the training includes a technique that can make a world of difference: mindfulness.

INSTEAD says that in terms of decision-making tools, the evidence is mounting to show that mindfulness can have a powerful, positive impact on the process, leading to both better decisions and faster implementation.  Remaining mindful means that you’re present – conscious of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment. With mindfulness, the decision-making process becomes a thoughtful, cognitive exercise, rather than an impulsive reaction to immediate needs.

Natalia Karelaia, Associate Professor of Decision Sciences at INSEAD says “This once esoteric idea is now becoming more generally accepted in the mainstream. Meditation and other mindfulness practices are being introduced in corporations worldwide (for example at Apple, Google, Nike, General Mills, Proctor & Gamble and more), and the trend is only expected to continue. Leaders who want to remain at the forefront of progressive ideas are wise to consider the value of Mindfulness as a business tool.”

INSTEAD says that analysis of mindfulness research shows that such heightened awareness allows for early identification of decisions that need to be made.

  • More creative problem-solving
  • More thorough ethical evaluation
  • Improved ability to recognise the limits of knowledge
  • Improved ability to identify trade-offs and unintended consequences of potential decisions

These benefits are just the beginning. Ultimately, those who practice mindfulness in the workplace are more capable of aligning their intentions with their behaviours — a key trait for gaining respect as a leader.  See here: Why Mindful Individuals Make Better Decisions | INSEAD Knowledge

Randel S. Carlock, INSEAD Professor of Entrepreneurial Leadership says, “Meditation creates space in one’s mind to think. Research indicates its positive effects also include stress reduction, improved clarity and focus, and enhanced physical well-being. Doing meditation is easier than some people think. In fact, Carlock suggests to make it part of your life, and you can start by setting aside a simple five minutes of mindfulness before you start your day, and again before you go to sleep. Then cultivate the habit as you become comfortable with it.”

It seems that incorporating meditation into day-to-day worklife may also have a positive impact on the bottom line. From better decisions to greater emotional intelligence and higher morale, this simple tool can dramatically improve the overall work experience for every employee at all levels.

I have also written about making “high stakes decision” – and again the traits of mindfulness are key in any such situation: https://carinasciences.com/2019/09/04/high-stakes-decision-making/

There will be no time to inculcate mindfulness when the chips are down.