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Rethink Leadership—be mindful!

February 21, 2017

New special workshop for managers

4 photos: building, woman working on laptop and holding a sound bowl, building LC, women with closed eyes

Not only top athletes such as Novak Djokovic swear by the positive effects of being mindful. Major companies like Google, SAP or BASF also place great importance on mindfulness and have integrated the topic into their executive education programs. Although the results speak for themselves, there still is a degree of skepticism on the part of managers.

“Rethink Leadership - BE mindful!”, the latest addition to the WU Executive Academy's range of Special Workshops, teaches managers that being mindful can make a fundamental difference as far as the packed schedules of everyday executive practice are concerned: Consciously practicing mindfulness not only helps to reduce stress and keep one's head in difficult situations; it also, and even more importantly, enhances creativity and problem-solving skills, and makes it easier to focus on what really matters. For executives, this means that, despite the ever-increasing demands placed on them, they will be able to both make more efficient use of their resources and expand their range of possibilities in a strategic manner.

Developed in collaboration with Erwin Glatter, a former Buddhist monk and mindfulness expert of Grenoble Ecole de Management, and Anna Werksnies, a psychologist and behavioral therapist, the new workshop is all about mindfulness. Practicing mindful leadership in the face of increasing digitalization and information overload can help executives focus on what really matters and anticipate future developments correctly.

Being mindful in the here and now

The magic of mindfulness happens when you live consciously in the here and now, concentrating on what you are currently doing and directing your focus and your mind 100 percent on the task, the people or the situation at hand - no matter how much stress you are under or how many other things there are to distract you.

writing and drawing on paper
Special Workshops WU Executive Academy

“Researchers have found that nearly half the day people are thinking of things that have nothing to do with their current activities. This also applies to managers. In our fast-moving, uncertain and increasingly complex times, the ability to focus for an extended period has become almost as important as subject-matter expertise and management skills. And this is where mindfulness comes into play, as an additional source of power and inspiration for executives,” explains Helga Pattart-Drexler, Head of Executive Education at the WU Executive Academy.

“Mindfulness is actually the direct opposite of multitasking,” adds Erwin Glatter. “A number of strategies that you can develop from within yourself will help you to organize your own and your team's days with mindful awareness. Mindful executives are not only able to cope with stresses and strains more easily, and have better control of their emotions, but they also unlock their creativity, allowing them to overcome problems and challenges more quickly. In addition, they find it easier to attend to new situations in a relaxed and focused manner, and are capable of delivering high performance over an extended period of time.”

Added value through an interdisciplinary approach

By joining forces with Erwin Glatter and Anna Werksnies, the WU Executive Academy has fruitfully combined academic excellence with the know-how of creative practitioners.

Prof. Barbara Stöttinger, Dean of the WU Executive Academy, considers this a welcome and meaningful development: “Comprehensive management skills alone have long ceased to be enough when it comes to achieving executive success in the modern world of work. In the face of ever-increasing demands and an overabundance of information, it is essential that executives keep their heads in difficult situations and expand their room for maneuver. After all, you cannot lead others unless you can lead yourself. In this context, it is crucially important for executives to not just perceive themselves as management professionals but to regain consciousness of who they are as human beings and as individuals. This is exactly what they will learn in the course of our new workshop.”

The workshop, which the WU Executive Academy offers as of now, can be delivered in English or German and is designed for executives and managers at different organizational levels. In terms of content and duration, the training will be tailored around the specific needs of the organization in question.

3 Personen
From left to right: Liselotte Schoell (MBA alumna and a participant of the mindfullness workshop), Anna Werksnies and Erwin Glatter

"It's about time that the mindfulness, which is so cherished in the private sphere, finally arrives in the business LIFE. I am convinced this is the best motivation for employees for a long time! The success will be shown in the numbers," says Liselotte Schoell, an MBA alumna and mindfulness workshop participant.

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