Many of us discuss Mindfulness and its application to today’s workplace.
Many of us debate the benefits it may bring to employees, the success stories and pitfalls we have seen in rolling out large-scale Mindfulness training programmes in organisations, the Mindfulness research we conduct or have read about.
All of that is evidence.
Evidence that can help me, and you, make the right decision about what Mindfulness means for our particular organisation, and how to translate this knowledge into action.
Yet none of this evidence should be used in isolation, nor should it become ‘best practice’ without critically evaluating its validity and applicability for specific organisations and settings.
Only if we carefully consider the different types of evidence that people bring to the table, and explore their synergies and contradictions, can we make truly smart decisions about Mindfulness at work.
For example, it is necessary to consider the expertise of seasoned Mindfulness teachers who have trained senior board members in Mindfulness. But it is not sufficient.
Also needed: hearing about the experiences of those at the receiving end of Mindfulness trainings, and of organisational leaders integrating Mindfulness into their workplaces. But this is not sufficient either.
What’s more, scientific evidence on Mindfulness and its effects that has been evaluated externally is necessary.
But not sufficient to help real people make real decisions.
And finally, the voice of policy-makers and those shaping public opinion about the role of Mindfulness in organisations must be heard. Not in isolation, however.
Only when all four of these distinct sources of evidence – the practitioner experts, the target groups for interventions, the scientific community, and the policy perspective – come together and are considered simultaneously can you and I benefit from the synergies between them, and make wise choices about Mindfulness in our own workplaces.
Then you get evidence-based management in action, applied to the Mindfulness at work space.
Evidence-based management is a term that originated in medical science, but has recently become popular in management – because many managers have started to question the quality of evidence that underlies famous CEO success stories or so-called ‘best practice’ promoted by consultancies and conventional wisdom. More and more leaders of organisations and institutions demand a more critical evaluation of the evidence on the table, assess how generally applicable it is, and in this way get to the ‘best possible’ evidence for the situation at hand and their own organisation.
At Cranfield University, it is my goal to bring evidence-based management to the – currently hotly debated – topic of Mindfulness at work.
For this reason, I am organising a public conference, to physically bring together each of these four distinct bases of knowledge. Alongside my collaborator in this quest, Juliet Adams of Mindfulnet.org, I am co-hosting the 2014 Mindfulness at Work conference on 23rd September at Cranfield University.
We have lined up an unprecedented 29 international thought-leaders who will share their cutting-edge work in Mindfulness practice, research, and policy and connect with the audience. The vision for this conference is to aggregate, appraise, and apply this knowledge, enabling us to establish our first evidence-based baseline of this important topic.
I strongly encourage you to join us if you want to be part of this effort and help generate the latest evidence-base on Mindfulness at work – book your place before 23rd July to benefit from the conference Early Bird Discount rate, by clicking here.
Let me have your comments – and I look forward to discussing this with you more at the conference in September.