Why CEO’s Are Using Meditation to Improve Company Performance

What if it was in your job description to “do nothing” as part of every day? This may just be one of your future work duties if you are employed by a CEO who values meditation as a key to company performance.

Meditation is no longer considered the far-out hippy practice it used to be. As more CEO’s and business leaders embrace the role of calming the mind, the scientific community has risen to meet the demand with multiple studies that suggest its importance.

With meditation, the world’s most powerful business people are “doing nothing” to actually get more done.

Meditation Gone Mainstream

It’s a part of the corporate culture at Google, Ford, Cisco, Apple, and various other powerful Fortune 500 companies leading the way in business. Meditation has become not only what CEO’s and executives engage in daily, but it is being offered to employees via on-site classes and group forums.

Here’s why meditation is becoming a common practice for the most successful CEOs in business:

Pushing the Proverbial Pause Button

There are various times when we get an enraging email which we know should require some time to cool off before sending a response. This is something that Padmasree Warrior, CTO at Cisco Systems does with meditation to avoid conflict while managing thousands of engineers.

Warrior incorporates meditation into her evening routin, and takes Saturdays to do a “digital detox” as a way to press the proverbial pause button on life. This allows her to take a break from the hustle and heat of being a high-powered executive. “It’s almost like a reboot for your brain and your soul,” she said to the New York Times, “It makes me so much calmer when I’m responding to emails later.”

Puts Panic at Bay

Many financial executives will know how it feels to experience a market crash. The lead-up, the sense of imminent doom, the crash itself, and the fallout, can induce crippling fear and panic when high stakes are involved.

Alak Vasa, former trader at Goldman Sachs and now founder of Elements Truffles, put mediation at the forefront to help mitigate the perceived disaster of a market crash during her early financial career. “The trading desk was an organized riot,” she told Harvard Business Review,  “Thanks to my meditation practice, I was able to keep my composure and propose solutions to reduce the impact of the market crash.”

Enhances Decision-Making

A study in Psychological Science observed the effects of mindful meditation for the process of decision-making. Meditation and mindfulness encourages the person to be in the now, rather than stuck reflecting on past experiences, or looking too far into the future.

With meditation, the leader can learn to move away from the biases they have developed through past decision-making efforts. People are often afraid of loss when making decisions and can be held to past biases that have developed because of poor decision-making.

By shifting into the now (and cutting ties with the past, and even the distant future), CEO’s make decisions based on feelings, emotions, and thoughts achieved in the present moment only.

Improvement of Relationships

Sometimes when you’re in high-stress moments with people you’re all too comfortable being around, you can snap, get into heated debates, and in extreme circumstances, risk damaging relationships. Similarly, clients can get difficult, and it’s not always easy to behave gracefully through frustrating interactions.

Meditation is a natural mood elevator, which brings about positivity and connection to people around you. A study published in Psychology Today looked at the connection between meditation and compassion. It found that in situations where someone is in observable pain needed a seat in a waiting room, meditators were more likely than non-meditators to offer their seat.

When you develop more compassion for people, you change the way you see people. Clients aren’t just numbers and transactions, but actual humans, likely with a lot happening in their own lives. Your coworkers are not a cog in your work machine; they are working towards their own best life as well. Meditation enforces a connection and helps you value the people around you.

Making the “To Do” Out of Meditation

Meditation may sound like a tall order to the busy business person as it can be daunting to think about putting a whole 30 minutes or even an hour into an already packed schedule.

Arianna Huffington told Harvard Business Review what her secret is to ensuring she includes meditation in her every day. “Finding time for meditation was always a challenge because I was under the impression that I had to ‘do’ meditation. And I didn’t have time for another burdensome thing to do,” she said. “Fortunately, a friend pointed out one day that we don’t ‘do’ meditation; meditation ‘does’ us. That opened the door for me. The only thing to ‘do’ in meditation is nothing.”

If you’re looking to make positive improvements in your every day, take some pages from the books of these executives who put meditation at high priority. Take the time to “do nothing” so that you’ll be more effective in your life and work.