Mindful Leadership Development

I was recently heartened to come across a Harvard Business Review article (Dec 2011) on Leadership Development, which clearly articulated the achieving of internal ‘hearts & minds’ shifts as the key requirement for successful organisational change. I always find it exciting to read real examples where organisations have achieved significant transformation using group-based efforts over planned journeys. Through T-Space, I am regularly supporting groups within organisations to deliver deep, internal change within their dynamic & private transformational processes, and it’s great to hear of these successful formats delivering excellent results elsewhere too.

The author, Polly LaBarre, highlighted the impactful example of PEP (Personal Excellence Programme) ‘mindful’ leadership development within Genentech. She contrasted its extended and meaningful focus on creating a deep sense of internal and relational change within leaders, with the sharper, more objective, curriculum based, tick-box, assessment led process normally offered to ‘high potentials’ on the corporate ladder. Using baseline input from the programme creators (CIO, Todd Pierce & Executive Coach, Pamela Weiss) she concluded that aspiring leaders need to learn how to access their emotional intelligence and internal change capacity in order to ultimately inspire this in others. Pierce and Weiss felt that the mindfulness approach could be utilised within groups to create these rich social development conditions within which leaders could actively learn their trade.

Over 6 years from 2005, Pierce and Todd developed and perfected this participant-led, group-based, and open access programme taking 800 leaders through a process of releasing human capability, feeling compassion, building resilience and developing well-being. Their evaluation reports showed that employee and customer satisfaction grew by 20 and 12% respectively, and collaboration amongst employees increased by 50%. The interpersonal skills developed within the programme resulted in Genentech being consistently ranked amongst the best places to work, and also actively supported leaders through the successful Roche merger in 2009.

As Pierce said ‘we have created a smarter, more agile and responsive organisation through building the capacity to deal with difficulties, enhancing the level of engagement, reducing suffering – these are things you can’t teach or buy, you have to cultivate and practice them in groups’. He did it with the support of Weiss, and together they effected an excellently mindful transformation.

Likewise T-Space can support your leaders to build emotional intelligence, effect powerful internal change and drive significant organisational transformations – talk to us about the options.


Reference: Developing Mindful Leaders, Harvard Business Review, Dec 2011