The Importance of Mindful Culture in Start Ups

start up

One of the biggest trends of the past decade in the start up space is the Lean Start Up movement. Through a combination of careful observation and research, leaders like Eric Reis and Steve Blank have helped map out an approach to launching an enterprise that increases success and decreases the time spent flailing around.   I think that’s a great thing – unless you LIKE failing around. 🙂

This is a huge service to the startup world. We now have a road map to better organizing the conversations and iterations that lead to a profitable company.

And yet, much of the conversation in the start up world reminds me of the culture at Google that Search Inside Yourself author Meng Tan describes. Meng talks about how Google and other tech companies were constantly “looking outside ourselves” for increased effectiveness and profitability.   As someone with a lifelong interest in awareness practices, Meng couldn’t help but wonder what kind of benefits would be available to companies if they would consider the research about “searching inside ourselves first”.

For instance, research done by TalentSmart when they placed emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs.

Because of results like these, the conversation about self-awareness and emotional intelligence in larger business settings are rapidly growing. Google has Search Inside Yourself. Linked In has it’s Compassion in Business project. Arianna Huffington has launched GPS for the Soul.

Yet the conversation in the startup world about the importance of awareness and Emotional Intelligence practices seem to be lagging behind.

Business leaders like Arianna Huffington and Seth Godin have begun the conversation about the importance of mindful attention to the cultures we create in start up.   However, on the front lines of the organizations teaching and mentoring the next generation of entrepreneurs – incubators, accelerators, entrepreneurship programs at universities and the like – practices like Emotional Intelligence are rarely mentioned. How many programs do you know where start up leaders are taught that Emotional Intelligence and similar practices are among the single biggest factors about whether a start up fails or thrives?

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said:

Daily mindfulness and compassion will make you a healthier, more productive person. Additionally, the people you work with are going to respond better and do better work. The outcome is going to be a superior product or service, a happier user or client, and in the best case—a positive global impact.

A positive global impact. That’s the vision of the startup community that I serve. And in order to take the next step towards that, I believe it’s essential for the start world to make it a priority to deepen our commitment to and awareness of creating more mindful culture in start ups. It’s something I’m saying yes to with every cell in my body.

This post was reposted with permission from The Awakened Company blog: http://www.awakenedcompany.com/the-importance-of-mindful-culture-for-start-ups/

I’m a big fan of Catherine Bell and her work!

Paul Zelizer

Paul Zelizer is one of the first business and marketing coaches to focus on the needs of conscious and social impact entrepreneurs. In addition to marketing, social impact, mindful leadership and values based business, Paul is passionate about just about anything you can do in the mountain high country, yoga & fitness, dark chocolate, and poetry. He lives near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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