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专栏 - 向Anne提问

“正念”是否只是昙花一现的管理潮流?

Anne Fisher 2014年10月08日

Anne Fisher为《财富》杂志《向Anne提问》的专栏作者,这个职场专栏始于1996年,帮助读者适应经济的兴衰起落、行业转换,以及工作中面临的各种困惑。
 “正念”管理法正风靡谷歌、苹果、麦肯锡和高盛等大公司。那么,究竟什么是正念?它是不是另一种只能流行一时的管理潮流?请您对照本文提出的四种可在办公室使用的正念技巧,亲身检验一下它的效用吧。

    亲爱的安妮:你怎么看“正念”这种理念?我的团队来了一位新上司,他总是提到这个词,比如“让我们以正念的方式思考这件事”或“我希望大家尽可能以正念的方式解决这件事。”我并不想承认我对他的理念一无所知,所以我在维基百科(Wikipedia)进行了一番搜索,很明显,所谓正念是指专注于当下所发生的事情,它源自一种古老的佛教信徒禅修技巧。好吧,您能否解释一下如何将这种理念应用于新金融工具的营销(这正是我们的工作)?您和您的读者是怎么看大这种理念的?它是否有些用处,或者仅仅是另一种只能流行一时的管理潮流?——S.B.

    亲爱的S.B.:与许多职场趋势一样,这种理念在几年前席卷硅谷,之后开始向东转移。西海岸的思想者通过修习佛法寻求启迪的做法并不新鲜——史蒂夫•乔布斯曾在印度跟随上师修行很长时间,并由一位僧人主持婚礼。但不同的是,“正念”已经被许多大公司采用。“正念”基于古代佛教信仰,并以先进的神经科学为依据。

    比如:谷歌(Google)不仅在内部提供正念培训,还在2012年创立了“寻找你内在的领导力学院”(Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute ),希望将这种技巧传授给感兴趣的人。苹果(Apple)、麦肯锡(McKinsey)、宝洁(Procter & Gamble)、通用磨坊(General Mills)、福特(Ford)和基因泰克(Genentech)等公司虽然各有特点,但这些公司均开始为员工提供包括冥想在内的正念训练。现在,这种理念也流行到商学院。从本月开始,纽约大学(New York University)及该校斯特恩商学院(Stern School of Business)的本科商学专业学生与MBA申请者,也将学习正念课程。

    到底什么是正念?研究心理学家史蒂芬•麦肯齐曾写过一本书,名为《职场正念:如何避免压力,实现卓越,享受生活》(Mindfulness at Work: How to Avoid Stress, Achieve More, and Enjoy Life)。他将正念总结为“专注于事物本质,不受其他事物的干扰”。他提到大量最新的科学依据,证明冥想和与之相关的心理习惯,可以改变大脑应对压力的方式,提高创造力,使人们做出更理性的决策。

    Dear Annie:What do you think about this idea called “mindfulness”? My team at work has a new boss who is always mentioning it, as in “Let’s try to be mindful about this” or “I want us to approach that as mindfully as we can.” Not wanting to admit I had no idea what he meant, I looked it up on Wikipedia and it’s evidently the practice of focusing on the present and comes from an ancient Buddhist meditation technique. Okay, but can you explain how it applies to, for example, marketing new financial instruments (which is what we do)? And do you and your readers think there is something to it, or is it just another management fad? — Skeptical Banker

    Dear S.B.:Like so many workplace trends, this one swept Silicon Valley a few years ago and has since drifted eastward. There’s nothing new about Left Coast thinkers seeking enlightenment through Buddhist practices—Steve Jobs spent a lot of time with gurus in India, and he was married by a Zen priest. What is different about this, though, is that “mindfulness,” which is based on ancient Buddhist beliefs and backed up by cutting-edge neuroscience, has been adopted by so many big organizations.

    Consider: Google not only offers mindfulness training in-house, but in 2012 it started a school called the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute to spread the technique to anyone who’s interested in it. Companies as different from each other as Apple, McKinsey, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Ford, and Genentech are also teaching mindfulness, including meditation, to employees. Now, the concept is spreading to the business schools. Starting this month, undergraduate business students and MBA candidates at New York University and its Stern School of Business will take mindfulness courses.

    So what is mindfulness, exactly? Stephen McKenzie, a research psychologist who wrote a book called Mindfulness at Work: How to Avoid Stress, Achieve More, and Enjoy Life, sums it up as “focusing our attention on what is, rather than being distracted by what isn’t.” He points to reams of recent scientific evidence that meditation, and mental habits related to it, can rewire how the brain responds to stress, boost people’s creativity, and lead to more rational decision-making.

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