RSM Staff Benefit from ‘In Focus at RSM’ Mindfulness Programme
“Mindfulness itself is not the goal, it is the skill to surf the dynamics of this ever-changing world while reaching our fullest potential, creating possibilities and keeping ourselves sane, healthy and innovative.”
– Kiki Vreeling, Strategy and Self-Management Consultant
Putting Mindfulness into Management for RSM Staff: In Focus at RSM
Kiki Vreeling , an alumna of RSM (MScBA 2005), has a unique point of view: mindfulness – the practice of slowing down, noticing, and self-reflection that has gotten much media attention over the past several years – has a place in the world of business management and leadership. “ In personal leadership as in business leadership, you have to work with the emergent situation,” she says. “There is no standard solution. Mindfulness practice teaches us that there are many perspectives in every situation, and a perspective resulting from emotions – such as stress – isn’t necessarily the only one!”
Mindfulness in the workplace: lighten up!
In fact in the pilot for her 8-week In Focus at RSM course which launched in January 2014, Kiki overcame any initial skepticism in the nuts-and-bolts, let’s get down to business environment of RSM, the Netherlands’ most important management school. Using experience from ongoing workshops and courses she’s presented for business and for the Hogeschool Rotterdam, Kiki convincingly combined elements from the apparently disparate worlds of management and mindfulness – concepts and techniques from such management ‘ classics’ as Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, self-awareness exercises, gentle yoga stretches, personal coaching and self-management –to create a revealing and rewarding journey for the 40 members of RSM/RSM BV staff and faculty who took part in the In Focus at RSM pilot.
What participants discovered: There are tools at our disposal to combat stress, helplessness and the sense of being overwhelmed. It’s not always easy, but mindfulness works…if you work it.
“l learned to be more open-minded. There are moments when I let my assumptions lead my thoughts, which can give me the impression that situations are more difficult than they actually are,” says Frieda Franke, Senior Corporate Relations Manager (CEMS)/ Career Services Manager at RSM. “By looking objectively at what the facts are and by listening and asking questions more, situations and even people are more easy to address. Let’s lighten up!”
Next In Focus at RSM coming up Fall 2014
With the In Focus at RSM programme now becoming part of the ‘benefit package’ of being a member of RSM/EUR staff or faculty (the programme is paid in part by the staffmember and in part by RSM/EUR), why should an employee consider joining? What did Kiki have in mind when she designed the course for RSM?
“I wanted to show people three things, which are interconnected,” says Kiki. First, that stress isn’t the only or primary perspective from which to view a workplace situation – personal attitudes create that perspective, “and this is an attitude you can change,” she says. Secondly, “by changing our attitude and the way we look at things, there is the possibility to unleash undiscovered potential among employees of RSM.” And third, “unleashing this potential leads to healthier, happier, more innovative and more empathetic people,” she says.