Wisdom 2.0: Mindfulness and business

Wisdom 2.0 Conference, San Francisco, February 27 – March 1.w21

Billed as “the intersection of wisdom and technology,” the Wisdom 2.0 conference drew 2,500 people who spent $625 for two and a half days of secular Buddhism.

I am interested in the interaction of mindfulness and business. Mindfulness – the opposite of mindlessness – is a natural component of Working Smarterw2-2

I generally sit in the front row at conferences. You can see better and often get to schmooze with speakers. But this time I opted for…w2-11

…the bean bag chairs in front of the front row. I spent most of the main stage sessions on my back, Mac balanced on my knees.

w2-5When I got tired of the main sessions, I’d head to Inspiration Village.

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Part of the Village was set up as summer camp. Let’s play.

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In the hallway outside, four Tibetan monks made an elaborate sand mandala. w2-10

Jack Kornfeld seemed so authentic and emotion-laden, not what I expected from a meditation leader. “Quiet your mind.”

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Richard Davidson spoke on Well-being as a Skill. He reported on progress in neuroscience, a field that has come a long way in 20 years. What’s important?

  • neuroplasticity. need to intentionally cultivate it. take advantage to if.
  • genomics. epigenetics: how genes are expressed. can change this through experience. eights hours of practice is enough to change the brain. had thought brain was fixed.
  • bidirectional highway between mind and body. how alterations in the body will feedback back to the brain. data are clear. cultivating well being will change the brain in ways that change the body.
  • we come into the world with innate basic goodness. Animals demonstrate basic goodness as well.

Well being is a skill. You can get better at it.

47% go through life without thinking about what they’re doing.They report as unhappy.

Which kinds of people need which type of practice?

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Sherry Turkle, advocate of face-to-face communications, ironically the only person to use PowerPoint, had this unscientific view of artificial reality. The slide drew applause.

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Eileen Fisher advised us all to shut our eyes and take a deep breath. She rang finger cymbals to bring us back.16065114033_26cc9aa59b_z

Eileen has a daily practice. At age 64, she feels more energetic than twenty years ago. Her aim: to feel totally in my body.

Her employees take two days a year for spiritual retreats.

Blackrock, at $4.7 trillion and 12,000 employees, is the world’s largest asset manager. They’ve popularized meditation sessions 30 minutes, taking place in conference rooms around the world. Employees receive weekly emails with tips. Mindfulness is a topic at leadership off sites.

How do we bridge the gap between mindfulness and business?

Starbucks is the “perfect environment for exploring mindfulness.”

Their mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

(see mission statement)

100% said the campaign was very effective. Partners are hungry for mindfulness. Able to make it real, mesh authentically with others.

Barristas love it. It’s taking a life of its own. Bubbles up, organic.

16477779127_836797b6dc_zNeed a break? Visit the Meditation Studio.

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Flashing lights and booming noises didn’t help me meditate. For $249, you can try it for yourself.16498921319_1ce0164f4d_z

BuHaGirl, which appears to make yoga bangles, was a major sponsor and had an exotic tent set up in the Inspiration Village.16065117023_24fd67b993_z

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The Mandala nears completion.

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Googler Chang-Meng Tan

Born at Google and based on brain science, SIY uses the practices of mindfulness to train Emotional Intelligence skills, leading to resilience, positive mindset, and centered leadership. In the midst of complexity, it’s about finding the inner capacity to create, to thrive, to lead. And it’s surprisingly fun. Backed by some of the world’s leading experts in neuroscience and mindfulness, SIY is changing thousands of lives in over a dozen countries.

With that vision in mind, Meng connected with Daniel Goleman and Jon Kabat Zinn to develop a unique program for Google. He then assembled a team that included mindfulness teachers, business executives and scientists. The Search Inside Yourself (SIY) program was born and launched, refined and tested over four years at Google, where it is currently one of the most popular, impactful and highly rated programs focused on wellbeing and sustainable high-performance.
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Mindfulness in Business

“Once upon a time I was young….  I joined a startup called Google.”

Mindfulness day. Search Inside Yourself.

All leaders in the world are wise and compassionate, thus creating the conditions for world peace

Need to define wisdom + compassion.

Wisdom.

  • Clarity and insight to know what to do.
  • Calm mind. Leadership: the ability to think under fire.
  • Self-awareness. Seeing beyond self

Compassion.

  • Beautiful intentions (do no harm, ahimsa). Generosity.
  • Loving kindness. (The wish for others to be happy). Create inner joy. It’s born of kindness. 
  • Compassionate action.

All of these are born of mindfulness. Self as process.

Business at its best is about helping people.

The best leader makes the team shine. They practice wisdom, impersonate

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Video of the event is here.

Does mindfulness have a place in business? Not yet but it’s inevitable.

pendulumThe focus of business is shifting from Institutions to Individuals. Mindfulness helps individuals perform better — and be happier and more fulfilled.

Mindfulness shares many values with Working Smarter, digital transformation, social business, and Product Knowledge Mastery, for example openness, transparency, and self-determination.

Years ago, a professor named Herbert Benson wrote a book and a compelling article in Harvard Business Review on The Relaxation Response. He met with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Here’s the message: repeat a mantra; assume a passive attitude. A best seller in 1975, this Buddhism-without-the-Buddha book has faded from the scene but it leaves us a valuable lesson: putting the mantra in English makes the practice of meditation more acceptable to business people. (Benson’s medical school colleague had refused t meet with the maharishi.)

Mindfulness will go mainstream; it’s that essential a practice. I don’t think it’s going to win executive hearts and minds until we separate it from the Tibetan monks, BuDaGirl bracelets, and Patchouli oil.

Be a humanist

An intimate group of Fortune 50 CLOs invited me to talk with them about how to make the most of informal learning. Jane, Charles, Clark, Harold and I chatted at length. We came up with twenty-four suggestions which I’ll soon walk the CLOs through.

One piece of advice stood out for me as the crux of it all.

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That’s my personal view. I haven’t asked my The Internet Time Alliance buddies.

Working Smarter, January 2015

Top twenty posts on Working Smarter in January 2015.

Me and AT&T


bell system
I’ve done this dance with the phone company too many times. We have history. My internet access, part of the AT&T Uverse bundle is spotty. A few weeks back, AT&T upgraded my service to Power (45Mbps) Internet. A technician installed a new modem/router to handle the increased bandwidth.

My net connection is unacceptable
Skype and Google+ and FaceTime start but soon crash; even audio-only fails to work. Sometimes I can’t even open my own sites, jaycross.com and internettime.com. Every now and then, gmail refuses to open or other sites come up with weird notices of time delays. It feels like somewhere along the line my connection is being throttled. I spent 90 minutes on the phone with Apple: they concluded that my Macs are functioning properly and that my wi-fi is working as it should. There seems to be some bottleneck between the router and the net. That part of the connection is the purview of AT&T.

Once bitten, twice shy
History tells me that I should expect to experience a lot of drama before I get the right prescription for a viable broadband connection.

pacbellI hope it’s not like a dozen years ago when I signed up for an early-adopter DSL connection. The AT&T data guys would come and mess with the box in the house and on the pole outside and get the net connection up. But the phone stopped working and the “Bellheads” would come by and curse the clueless data installers, and screw up the net connection. I endured this ping-pong of incompetence and perhaps sabotage for eighteen visits to my home and my inside wiring. I’ve seen the underbelly of AT&T.

sbcAt the time I reported on my struggle on this blog. People talk about “learning out loud.” Good concept. I believe in Living Out Loud. This is what customer service was like thirteen years ago.

My blog posts eventually got the attention of a SVP at AT&T and my problems were solved. He retired.

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I’ll keep track of my interactions with AT&T and others this time around, so bookmark this page if you want to see the follow-up.

Can you help me figure how to solve this? If you have advice, I will sincerely appreciate it.

I feel cut off from the world.

speedThis just in:

 

 

Chronology
Jan 19 – I called the technician, who’d kindly left me his business card. He said he’d look into it and get back to me. Jan 21 – I spoke with Thali in the Philippines. We changed the router channel to 10. I was able to Skype. However, just now my download speed is 6.56 and I can’t open several sites.

Ebbinghaus was a pessimist

ebbinghausMore than a hundred years ago, Hermann Ebbinghaus formulated the forgetting curve, which describes the relationship between memory and time. During a lecture, if your absorption rate is at 100 percent on day one, there is a 50-80 percent loss of learning from the second day onward, which is reduced to a retention rate of just 2-3 percent at the end of thirty days.

The forgetting curve is so unforgiving that if it applied to all learning, you’d question the value of investing time in learning at all. But Ebbinghaus’s findings don’t really apply to most learning situations.

Ebbinghaus measured the retention of random numbers. This is explicit knowledge. He learned by concentration, entirely on his own.

Ebbinghaus’s list of numbers to memorize don’t connect to anything else. Yet most learning is exactly that: connecting new concepts into existing frameworks.

Most learning comes from experience. I retain lessons learned in the company of doing things with others.

I wonder what the forgetting curve for tacit information looks like. I hope I can retain more than 3% of the lessons of experience I gain in concert with others.

Walking in nature once more

After brunch, I read part of Thoreau: Walk and Be More Present in Brain Pickings. This inspired me to get off my duff and take my first walk in nature this year. The heading of my chosen trail is a five-minute drive from my house.

This is Wildcat Canyon. My path is relatively flat; it runs along the western rim.

Wildcat Canyon is a protected regional park although cattle graze the slopes. I have a Boy Scout medal for walking along the bottom twenty years ago. It’s inspiring western scenery big enough to get lost in and it backs up to residences built right on the property line.

Back in history, the De Anza Party missed finding San Francisco Bay on their first expedition because they were walking in Wildcat Canyon. You can see the Bay from the end of the trail I’m walking. So near and yet so far.

Thank you, Henry David Thoreau for rekindling my walking spirit.

 

Future of Conferences: Why People Attend

I’m investigating the future of f2f conferences. Will conferences be disrupted à la newspaper business? Will successful events become communities instead of one-shot deals? What’s the future for L&D conferences, say five years out? How can we make conferences more effective?

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First of all, Why do people attend conferences?

Participants attend conferences to network and to learn. Specifically, they attend to:

  • Meet face-to-face with peers
  • Gather information about products, techniques, trends
  • Develop in their careers, see and be seen
  • Get the latest news, find out what’s hot and what’s not
  • Learn techniques and practices to apply back home
  • Socialize with members of their profession
  • Find out about new products, kick the tires, hear from vendors
  • Learn the basics of L&D from experts
  • Attend workshops and be certified
  • Get out of the office day-to-day scramble, retreat, break routine
  • Expose mind to new ideas from other fields
  • Add people to personal and problem-solving networks
  • Build reputation in the industry (speaking, presenting papers)
  • Represent one’s company as a leader
  • Pick up an award for performance for your company or product
  • Hunt for a job, add potential hirers and hiring companies to personal network
  • Renew acquaintances with old friends, refresh the Rolodex
  • Learn a particular skill to apply back home
  • Corporate has already picked up the bill; it’s a free-ride, time off
  • Form opinions on Big Data, informal learning, LMS, Open API, MOOCs, and other buzz-topics
  • Basic foundation skills for those new to the field: ROI, design, media
  • Earn a Certificate to put on the wall
  • Peruse recent books, meet authors, buy trade books
  • Prestige of being the employer’s representative
  • Another “Badge” 
  • Drink with pals
  • Be treated by exhibitors
  • Gossip about vendors and peers
  • Free drinks and h’ors d’oeuvres
  • Chance to brag about accomplishments
  • Find solutions to problems
  • Set benchmarks, compare employer to others
  • Introduce new products and concepts, e.g. The Experience API
  • Allay fears of missing out
  • Visit exciting cities like New Orleans, San Francisco, and (for some) DisneyWorld
  • Meet with vendors, see demos, compare products
  • Have fun!

What have I missed? Why do you attend conferences?

As with learning, conference-going is a much different experience for an experienced participant than for a newbie. The newbie will be enthralled to hear to likes of Ken Blanchard and Bob Pike. They’re inspiring speakers with great foundational messages. The veteran has heard it all before, perhaps from those same guys, and hangs out in the hallways, not the breakout rooms.

My gut tells me people attend conferences for Learning, Networking, Career Development, and Socializing. These activities blur into one another. The unifying theme is learning, the participant learning how to improve performance and fulfillment on the job.

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Related: my Scoop on the future of conferences.

Trade fair – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Trade fair – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A trade fair ( trade show, trade exhibition or expo) is an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products, service, study activities of rivals and examine recent market trends and opportunities.

Source: en.wikipedia.org

I’m curious about what’s going to happen to L&D conferences in the next five years. Will their business model be disrupted? How will they change? How can they be more effective? I’m doing this study on my own, unsponsored, and there’s no hidden agenda.

See on Scoop.itFuture of Conferences

Dumping my land line

I’m cutting the copper cord. My long-time business land line [(510) 528-3105] goes dead on Tuesday. I’ve been encouraging people to use my smartphone [(510) 323-5380] for the last six months. Please make a note of it.

phone

The stupid land line is a phone-spam magnet. It rings two or three times a day. I can’t count the times my “Google specialist” called to put me on page 1 of people’s results. Indians call, offering to help me figure out Windows (I am 100% Mac.) Most of the time, there’s no one on the other end at all; I just get dead air. Getting rid of this nuisance will also cut my ATT bill $15/month.

Speaking of which, let me pass along a tip. Sticker prices for tv/phone/net bundles are a starting point, not what you need to pay.

uverse

I’m an ATT U-verse customer. My bill was due to rise to $250/month as my “discount bundles” on various services expired. I told ATT I could get comparable service from Comcast for $120/month and that I didn’t see why I shouldn’t move my business over to them. “Would I stay if they dropped the price to $170?” I agreed, so long as they threw in their fastest internet connection and a new modem. Deal. A five minute conversation shaved $80+ from my bill.

#JAYCROSS