Are Mindfulness and Agility related in any way? Does being more aware, alive and calm lead to being more agile? Yes, Mindfulness indeed can enhance Agility – better sense & respond mechanism, at an individual level as well as at an enterprise level. In Yogic system it is well known and well established that absolute stillness and intense activity complement each other. Let’s explore this interplay in this blog.
If we pay attention, we notice that Agility really starts with Mind. It’s about open, curious, energetic mind constantly looking for doing better things and in better ways. Such Agile Minds manifest in proactively sensing market/customer opportunities/needs early, quickly adopting to changes to create new value in the changing contexts, continuously learning, exploring & experimenting new things. It requires courage, self-drive and taking people along. If we notice, all these characteristics are distilled in Agile Values & Principles.
But how do we develop Agile Minds? Typically our education system and corporate trainings are predominantly IQ oriented; whereas Agile Mind is about Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation and empathy. EQ is an essential ingredient for a culture of self-organizing, collaboration and servant leadership – which are the tenets of good Agile culture. Mindfulness is a practical & effective tool-set to cultivate EQ and create Agile Minds.
Let’s look at an analogy to get a deeper insight. We know that typically only about 10% of an iceberg is visible and remaining 90% is not visible. And what moves an iceberg is not the perceivable wind on the surface, but the invisible under-currents. In an Agile context, the practices, tools, artifacts etc. are the visible parts like the tip of the iceberg. What really drives agility are the soft aspects like communication, collaboration, motivation, taking ownership and so on. These stem from the mindset and thinking. The diagram below depicts these layers of cause & effect.
Mindfulness enhances the awareness, ability to perceive things in totality, process information non-judgmentally without bias/filters and perform actions in an empathetic way with courage & balance.
Mindfulness takes the Agile culture to the next level by creating the Agile Minds at individuals right from the team level to leadership level.