If you are one of Eileen Fisher’s 1,200 or so employees, the ding of the meeting room bell signals to you that it’s time to begin.
But it’s not just time to begin the meeting — it’s time to begin meditating.
Instead of launching into every meeting with agendas or stats, Fisher starts with a minute of silence. And while it’s not a mandatory policy at the company, many of Fisher’s employees have taken up the practice in their own meetings.
To say the 66-year-old clothing designer is an advocate of mindfulness practices would be something of an understatement. Fisher believes businesses that take the time to be more thoughtful about what they’re doing can effect real positive change within the business, industry, and throughout the world.
In fact, Fisher and her company have won numerous awards for their work in sustainability and advocating for women.
And instituting simple but mindful practices at work is where it all begins.
As Fisher explained to the audience at the Fast Company Innovation Festival on Tuesday, “We try to lay that down as a primary foundation of what we do within the company, because giving people that open space allows them to get in touch with what they’re there for and what matters to them and show up a little differently.”
Since instituting the moment of silence, Fisher said she’s seen a deepening of the work, a greater sense of purpose among her employees, and people making more conscious choices about what they’re doing and how they can change the “nasty fashion industry.”
“Across the company — designers and merchandisers and advertising people and people in the supply chain — the passion around this work has gotten a lot deeper,” Fisher said.
“Because I think when people start to pay attention to themselves, they start to pay attention to their relationships, to the people around them and how they treat each other, and they start to notice the people in the supply chain,” she explained.
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