The Seven Most Influential Things I Read in 2014

IMG_5751Amidst the flurry of year-end recaps, several bloggers did an iteration of “This Most Influential Things I Read This Year.” This is a very interesting question—here’s my take.

Theory U. “Theory U proposes that the quality of the results that we create in any kind of social system is a function of the quality of awareness, attention, or consciousness that the participants in the system operate from.”

Continuous Productivity: New tools and a new way of working for a new era. “Continuous productivity is an era that fosters a seamless integration between consumer and business platforms.“

Davos: Mindfulness, Hotspots, and Sleepwalkers. All the signs are present that mindfulness is reaching the tipping point.

The Re-working of “Work”. “This report analyzes key drivers that will reshape the landscape of work and identifies key work skills needed in the next 10 years.”

Build a change platform, not a change program. How to make change the status quo, not an interruption.

Lost and Found in a Brave New World. At a time when so many feel culturally, organizationally and/or personally “lost,” how can we find our way back to the values and beliefs we hold dear? In the new world, new maps are required. The first step is to realize and admit you’re lost.

The Last Re-Org You’ll Ever Do. Three new approaches to doing business are showing promise (Holacracy, Agile Teams and Self Organizing). Viewed as way out there by some, but, nonetheless, they are happening.



Mindfulness Meets Business

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.” —Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness has gone mainstream.  Once only practiced by new age gurus and yogis, it is sweeping the nation, moving into gyms, homes and healthcare organizations at a rapid pace. Now it’s making the leap into corporate America, with Silicon Valley leading the charge (no surprise). Resources abound. If you’re as intrigued as I am, fire up your favorite search engine and query “mindfulness” or check out this handy list as a starting point.

Perhaps the seminal work on mindfulness is Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It has been recently revised and updated 25 years after first release. Kabat-Zinn also developed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reductions program (MBSR), which has trained over 20,000 people in his techniques.

By Tiffany Vaché and Jason Sullivan

By Tiffany Vaché and Jason Sullivan

The Mind Full, or Mindful? wiki includes PowerPoint presentations, videos, websites, books and journals to facilitate a deep, varied dive into the subject.

10% Happier by Dan Harris hit #1 on the NYT Bestseller list earlier this year. The author, a noted television journalist, recounts his journey toward meditation and mindfulness following an on-air panic attack.

Colleges are getting on board. NYU’s New Mindfulness in Business Initiative is exploring how mindfulness can transform the next generation of leaders and innovators.  One student describes her initial foray into meditation.

Time-Mindfulness-020314Mindful magazine has a circulation of more than 85,000, with steep growth projected. Also in the periodical space, The Mindful Revolution was the cover story in a February 2014 issue of Time.

Otto Schamer, in Davos: Mindfulness, Hotspots, and Sleepwalkers, notes the rapid rise of mindfulness at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this past spring. The drivers of this trend are described as new tech, new challenges and new science.

Dr. Richard J. Davidson at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds is one leading scientific authority who is documenting the positive effects of mediation on the brain (here at UW Madison). A powerful documentary, Free the Mind, features his work with military veterans and school children.

Observations from Davos

imagesThis requires no introduction and is a must read.

Davos: Mindfulness, Hotspots, and Sleepwalkers