Here’s a case study you won’t find at Wharton or the Harvard Business School.
Sid, the wealthy CEO of a highly profitable multi-national corporation, notices that even his best employees have trouble focusing for extended periods of time. Needing to devise a plan to maximize productivity, he heads over to a quiet spot near his favorite river, where he can sit and think clearly without distraction. For hours, Sid watches the ebb and flow of the currents in the river and in his own stream of consciousness.
Then, recalling his childhood, he has an “aha” moment. “Dudes,” he says to an imaginary audience, “I learned to sit for hours this way under a rose-apple tree years ago, perfectly calm and joyful, focused on the present moment.”
Sid groks that he must leave his cushy job behind and devote himself to teaching other business leaders and their employees the benefits of what he calls “mindfulness.”
The wisdom of Sid (aka Siddhartha, aka the Buddha) resonates thousands of years later as modern-day companies experiment with mindfulness programs that combine spiritual guidance, business orientation and social consciousness.
One such experiment pairs enso, an award-winning creative agency that, according to its mission statement, “amplifies businesses bettering the world” — including Google, Khan Academy, TOMS and Omidyar Network — with its Santa Monica, CA neighbor InsightLA, a center for mindfulness.