Leading American medic recommends meditation in the workplace as a smart investment for CEOs wishing to sustainably ‘turbocharge’ their organisation.
For Sir Alan Sugar, the UK’s TV business guru, the key to motivating apprentices is hard work and tough talk, but according to Dr Mehmet Oz, a leading American scientist and medic appointed by the World Economic Forum to explore ways of reversing societal fatigue and global economic malaise, the best and most effective gift one can give an employee is a lesson in meditation…
Dr Oz, who is a professor of cardiovascular surgery at Columbia University and an award-winning TV medic in the USA, says that taking time out for staff to practise group Transcendental Meditation radically improves productivity and creativity, ‘turbocharging’ the workforce. The endorsement is echoed by an article in Business Insider magazine this month listing 14 leading executives ‘who swear by meditation’, some of whom have ‘incorporated it into their corporate culture.’
As a scientist and author of over 400 publications, Dr Oz was recently named as a ‘Global World Leader in Health’ at the World Economic Forum 2012 in Davos, Switzerland– an event attended by 40 global leaders, including David Cameron and Angela Merkel. There he led a conference on the subject of preventing burnout through stress and fatigue in today’s ‘always on, always available’ world. Remedies proposed included meditation, mindfulness and promotion of better sleep.
Speaking more recently on his Emmy award-winning daily TV programme, the Dr Oz Show, Dr Oz revealed that 200 of his employees now practise Transcendental Meditation (TM) … with remarkable results. Echoing Oprah Winfrey, whose entire workforce at Harpo Studios now practise TM twice daily in the workplace, he said his colleagues are now healthier, more creative, less stressed and are harnessing their full potential.
Dr Oz, who has written six New York Times best-selling books, said he’d practised Transcendental Meditation himself for three years, and six months ago offered tuition in the TM technique to all the employees of his TV show. Now they meditate at the start and end of each working day.
“I work with a lot of creative folks who are high-powered, A-type, very smart and very sceptical,” he said on his show on May 3rd. “But they can get pushed so hard from the pressures of their job that they find it difficult create.
“Literally the day after the first 20 people learned to meditate, I started getting some remarkable emails and having some amazing conversations that really surprised me.
“The first thing I noticed was a change in the tone and the texture of the dialogue – away from dwelling on problems towards a much more thoughtful, insightful, clever way of solving problems. Instead of highlighting the issues that were separating us, my team was deriving bliss and joy from finding solutions.
“Transcendental Meditation allows you to relax deeply, to let down your guard so that you’re free to see reality in a much clearer way. You’re able to connect pieces of information that otherwise were not obvious to you. We all have within us a deep well of creativity, which we can access if we can settle down into those deep, calm places. As a result, we feel better about ourselves, we make better health choices, we communicate better.
The effect, he says, “turbocharges the people in your organisation”.
“Some people will say it’s a huge investment of your time and resources to offer TM to your employees, to pull them out of their work cycle, and take over a conference room and let them meditate. But it was a decision I was happy to make, and many other very successful companies and organisations have made it as well because it pays off in ways you could never imagine.
“You know as well as I do that any business is what it is because of the people who work there. When I take people who are only working at 70% or even 30% of their potential and take them to 99% I think that’s what success feels like and that’s what Transcendental Meditation can do.
“It’s both a smart management tool and one of the best gifts you can give to any employee because it’s a gift that keeps giving – whether it is to the people who work in your business, on a military base, in a hospital, or a school.”
Organisations who have regular Transcendental Meditation sessions in the workplace include Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, Medtronic, Monsanto and Green Coffee Mountain Roaster.
Dr Oz, who is the founder of the Complementary Medicine Programme at New York Presbyterian Hospital, was also interviewed at the World Economic Forum by Ariana Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, on the role of sleep in promoting good health, as featured in this Telegraph Finance video interview.