Mindful Mills

Because of it’s proven benefits, a number of leading companies have focused on bringing mindfulness to their employees. General Mills, one of the world’s largest food companies, is a leader in this endeavor.

Sandy Behnken’s title at General Mills is “Corporate Continuous Improvement Leader.” In an interview she did here with Anita Bruzzese, she shares a bit about bringing mindfulness to the corporate environment.

Initially Sandy was attracted to mindfulness when she interacted with one of the General Mills leaders who had already participated in the training. She said she “noticed how he always seemed to deeply listen when others spoke and then responded versus reacted to what was said.” She wanted that for herself.

It worked. The biggest difference it has made, she believes, is in her “ability to deeply listen to what is being said… the act of really listening and being open to what is being said has been invaluable.”

Sandy says the best thing for her is seeing when her co-workers discover her mindfulness by seeing it in practice. “They notice that I’m open to what they are saying and really listening to them, as well as when I am actively choosing to thoughtfully respond.”

Sandy’s most interesting tip is to be mindful while walking from one meeting in her day to the next. Rather than “walking at a zombie pace between meetings” she focuses her attention “on the sensations of walking, feeling my feet on the floor and noticing when my mind has wondered off.”

The walking meditation accomplishes two things. First, it helps to cultivate the ability to sustain attention. Second, it helps her to avoid that tendency of re-living the past meeting or fantasizing about the next one.