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Continued: Mindfulness arrives in the workplace

  • Article by: MIKE HUGHLETT , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 24, 2013 - 6:29 AM

Joe Ens, a vice president and marketing director for General Mills’ snacks business, became a meditator, too, after going through mindfulness training. He does it at home most days for about 10 minutes a pop. Ens, a 17-year General Mills employee, said a prime mindfulness time is during his 20-minute drive to work.

There’s no listening to the radio, no fretting about traffic, no rehearsing what he’ll say in meetings — no planning the day at all. “I really work hard to quiet my mind on my morning commute.”

Ens, who’s a director of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, said the program’s biggest impact is on his relations with fellow workers. “I’m a better coach of people than I was before.” And he said he’s a better listener, saying to himself, “What is this person really asking me?”

For Stef Bell, a business process consultant at Target who leads weekly meditation sessions at the retailer’s downtown Minneapolis campus, mindfulness has delivered on the goal of improving focus.

“For me personally, it definitely helps me focus and it helps me be more productive,” said Bell, whose interest in mindfulness helped launch a “meditation network” at the big retailer. It’s one of about 110 employee networks at Target that aim to improve employee well-being through interest groups covering topics from cycling to diabetes maintenance.

Bell did a personal, 10-day mindfulness retreat near Chicago a few years ago. Afterward, Target’s human resources department reached out to her about leading a meditation network. It launched in 2010, and today includes nearly 1,000 Target employees at several company locations.

“I was surprised by the people who were really interested in learning more about meditation, ” Bell said.


Mike Hughlett • 612-673-7003

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