The Mindful Leader

#4: Foundation of Mindfulness: Self-Awareness and its Impact in Tech Orgs with Daniel Rieber

August 23, 2021 Reiner Kraft, PhD Season 1 Episode 4
The Mindful Leader
#4: Foundation of Mindfulness: Self-Awareness and its Impact in Tech Orgs with Daniel Rieber
Show Notes Transcript

Mindfulness involves being fully aware of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. Practicing mindfulness has many benefits in your private and working life, such as enhancing your mental and physical well-being, improve focus and concentration increase resilience and emotional intelligence.

And why you, as a leader, should care about mindfulness at the workplace?

Daniel Rieber, co-founder of WEVOLVE GmbH, whose mission is to introduce mindful leadership programs to start-ups and larger companies, shares some insights and results of their program conducted at a large e-commerce and tech company in Berlin. On a high level the results were very encouraging and indicating a measurable positive and sustainable impact on the workforce and teams within the areas of focus, stress management, and reduction of negativity. 

Daniel Rieber says that “change happens from the inside out, change always starts with you. And with you collaborating, interacting with people: we always start with the self.” One concept about a different level of connection we experience throughout our lives is called the ripple effect. The effect you have in the world, or in your company/organization, the intangible, energetic impact you have on the whole begins from you. As a mindful leader, it is essential to understand the ripple effect you are having on those you lead.  

Furthermore, Daniel Rieber and Reiner Kraft, PhD discussed the topic of self-awareness. By practicing mindfulness, you sharpen your self-awareness and discover some fleeting and ferocious inner critic, those limiting thoughts and false beliefs. 

Watch the video on The Mindful Leader blog (or on YouTube) or listen to the podcast to learn more about how to let go of those negative thoughts, habits and beliefs, and progress in your transformation journey!

Dr. Reiner Kraft  0:10
Hi, this is Reiner. I'm the founder of The Mindful Leader, your host today, also co-founder of The New U. My mission is to cultivate more presence in leaders to upgrade the mind and body. The idea or the reason why I'm interested in this particular mission is I want them. I want to help them to maximize their contributions, while significantly increasing their leadership effectiveness. And that results in a new leadership style, which I refer to leading this presence, which is my experience a key ingredient for a new workplace. Today, I have a very special guest here, Daniel Rieber. And I'm really happy that he also took time out of his busy schedule. To that we can talk and share some insights. So there will be a lot of good stuff coming up today. And I'm sure maybe I will share first a little bit and do an introduction about Daniel. Daniel and I met in Berlin a few years ago. And I was at that point blogging, I started my blog on the mindful leader and I was talking about mindful leadership. And then somehow, Daniel found this, this article you connected, and you're both very passionate about, about this topic. And at that point, there was not much going on in this space around mindful leadership, or mindfulness in the workplace, at least here, so this was just this very early phase. And since then, a lot of stuff has happened, there has been a lot of experienced strong momentum in the past years. The topic is much more widespread. Now common Also in, in companies integrated. Not many modern companies building a new workplace are adopting some of these principles. So there's a lot of things happening. And we'll talk about this a little bit. So Daniel, at that point, was also looking in terms of how to position himself in this area doing something new. And then nowadays, since this is now quite a few years ago, he is a he has become a mindful leadership coach is also an advisor is more than 12 years of experience in digital, all digital space, high tech space is valid, he was VP of Marketing with Ed square, he's very deep into numerous topics related topics. And he's also the co-founder of revolve, who are focusing on bringing mindfulness based programs into the workplace. He's also co-founder of the mindful leadership circle, this was one of the first things I still remember. Since I'm also contributing to the mindful leadership circuit, an effort that started a few years back, and now membership. There's many people involved, not just in Berlin, but also other places. And Daniel can talk a little bit more about this. And you are also country director for Mobile Marketing Association in Germany, is a podcast. So check it out, we'll put some links obviously, in the show notes on his podcast, there's a lot of cool topics here. And at the end, I think, since his mission focus, you can hear it on the title of the podcast, really searching for the here and now right looking, being here in the present moment is a key aspect. And he wants to also play with these ideas in the workplace. And so we evolve, I think this is something we wanted to talk about today is really how one of the channels, Daniel is doing this. And then later on going deeper into some of the results they achieved so far, and how this whole idea of bringing mindfulness or bringing new ideas to leadership into the workplace, what kind of impact there is because at the end is always about showing me the numbers. And that's what that's what's important, right and since my approach also is always focused on measurability and looking at clear KPIs key performance indicators, when I work on the body aspects, you know, I'm tracking more than for, for me personally, more than two 300 different biomarkers to see what how I'm doing from a body side. And even on the mind side, I developed quite a few biomarkers and KPIs that helped me on this as well, which is kind of helpful because you can actually see what's going on. Anyhow, this was a longer introduction. But Daniel, basically, he has so many things going on. And, again, welcome today. And maybe you can also share a little bit of context about yourself and your current intention.

Daniel Rieber 5:55
At the end, it's all about numbers. Yeah, thanks for having me, Reiner. I'm really excited to be here today. And I can really remember the first time we met. It was actually when you worked at Zalando. And I interviewed you for my podcast, I think it's four or five years ago. And we talked about mindful leadership. And now, four years later, I'm sitting here and you're doing an interview with me, which is exciting. So I think you mentioned a lot. Actually, my journey is, I worked 12 years in the digital industry in different positions, also in leadership positions and founder positions. And I found out for myself how important mindfulness is, for my everyday life, for both health, but also for efficiency, for creativity, for making good decisions. I became a coach, a systemic coach and a trainer for mindfulness. And I met Dr. Nicole pagal, who is a very good friend now and a partner, and you know him very well. We just talked about him. And Nico. And I found that we evolve. And we evolve as a consultancy for new leadership and mindful company culture. And we're really excited to work with a lot of big companies, including solando, including access printer, mercedes benz, eBay, just to name a few. And, yeah, I think that it's so important to talk about the topic. And as you said, it's really evolving. There is something happening in companies in the consciousness of people over the last few years. And I'm happy to contribute to this and to be part of it.

Dr. Reiner Kraft  7:12  
Very good. It's what you just said, evolving. Is that basically also related to evolve, right? I think it sounds like the motivation to maybe share a little bit about revolve, how this got started.

Daniel Rieber  7:27  
Yeah, sure. So we started with the name, the mindful company, because I our Our idea was to bring mindfulness to companies and also to be a company that is mindful. And I still like the name a lot. But it's really focusing on the mindfulness aspect. And mindfulness is only part of what we do. And also mindfulness often comes into a box. So when people hear mindfulness, they think about health, or they think about esoteric and crazy meditation experiences, and so on. So we wanted to focus on what is actually what we do, and it is evolving. So it's further developing yourself. But it's especially evolving in a group of people. So in a team or in a company. So we found the word we evolve, put it together, and now we are wevolve. And I think that that works very well with what we actually do and what our mission is.

Dr. Reiner Kraft  8:26  
Yeah, that I can see this. And it is what you just mentioned, also the word v team. I mean, the company at the end of the day is a mental construct. There are people in a team, right? And there's also the usually the way, when I started into this with looking at these mindfulness in a workspace, I noticed that on one side, they're either leaders, business, or tech leaders, other types, other type of leaders, whatever the role is, but they have a significant influence on the culture and overall impact on the company. There's employees. And so at the end of the day, the one side there is this, what I refer to more like a top down approach, where you help leaders to become more, cultivate more presence, help them become more using some of these, what the posts refer to mindful leadership principles in their attempt to their leadership style. And that usually has a ripple effect on the whole company. And then there's, but then there's also the team, which seems what also the revolve is focusing on really to, to support the team in different aspects of introducing mindfulness in the workplace. Could you maybe share a few Just examples on people listening to what they mean to help the teams basically benefit from this?

Daniel Rieber  10:10  
Yeah. So you mentioned the top down and the bottom up approach. And we actually try to do both and to bring both together. And we do work with a lot of companies, but it's always different. So each company is different. In some companies, we really have the chance to start with a management team, and then with the leaders, and then we go to the teams. And as you said, this has a strong ripple effect. And also, it allows the employees to spend time with mindfulness to spend time with self leadership and with all the capabilities that we train. On the other side, sometimes there are companies where there is a lot of demand in the team. And there are some teams who are foreigners, and who really want to try something new. And they are very progressive. So in some companies, we also work with a team, but not with the management team. And this is also super interesting, because there is a power generation. And this power communicates more and more into the company and wants change. So in the best case, you have both you work with the team, and you work with the management and the leaders. To answer your question, we developed a program, a mindful Leadership Program, which is separated in three different phases. And you said I can share some screens. And we did a really great case study. So let me show just one of the screens right now. So to explain how the program works. So what we do is, we have normally you can see it here on the screen, and an inspirational session. So a one hour webinar, where we present to the whole team, what the topic is about, because there are a lot of people who are interested, but they don't know what happens. There are also people who are not really interested and interested, but they have one hour they can spend, and where they can learn. And then they make the decision if they want to join the program. And then we do have an intensive workshop. And if we do it on site, physically, we have two full days training. And here in this case, you can see the digital version where we have four half days of intensive training. And then after this intensive training, where you learn all the tools, and we where you learn about the science behind it, then we have an integration phase. An integration phase means that we have six weeks of group coaching, where it's about your individual, but also your team habits, behaviors, and where you can try out new things and try to establish new routines. So our program is about teaching you the skills and the mindset, and then supporting you developing your own way. And what you can see on the slide also we will talk later about it is that we do a pre survey. So we ask the participants 12 KPIs, 12 parameters. And then after the integration phase, we have a post survey where we ask exactly the same parameters on a scale from one to five. And then we have, we can calculate an uplift so we can see what was the impact of the program on those important KPIs. And then 12 weeks later, so three months later, we do a long term survey so that we can see what his effect was just short term, or didn't really change the habit and behavior and mindset of people just to give a first understanding of how we work. And yeah, we do everything in digital format right now, which works quite well. But normally, we would also try to work in person. And I'm really looking forward to my next in person workshop, which will be in September in Zurich. So it has been awhile...

Dr. Reiner Kraft 14:44
It seems so great. I mean, it shows like a nice structure process that probably you guys iterated in the past years to weakness, and so that's a good thing it evolved. Now with COVID, in the past year, you mentioned that you're doing everything virtual, was it? I'm sure this was a challenge, but in general it did also work very well. So just to get a sense of things that you could do that doesn't fully work virtually as well.

Daniel Rieber 15:22
Yeah. So when when I started with my coaching and training, training, when when I became a coach and trainer, I said I don't want to work with digital anymore, because I want to work with people and not sit in front of the screen and there There's so much happening in a room when you're in a one on one coaching or when you're with a group. So there's so much on so many levels, where you can read the room where you can feel into the room where you can understand the dynamics in the room. So I always thought that you cannot do this kind of training, this kind of in depth training, virtually. And then because of Corona, we had to move it to digital. And the result is that there are really some benefits of it actually, of course, there are some things missing. But there are also new things and a lot of benefits. So to give just one example, we always use zoom for our sessions. And in zoom, you have this. And also in teams and the other programs, it's coming. And we have this gallery view, so you can see all your colleagues on one screen. So while you're looking on your screen, you see like 20 faces of your colleagues. And you can immediately see when something changes when someone has a question or when people are excited, and so on. And in real life, when you're sitting in a room, maybe it works with a circle, but it doesn't work, when you just look in front, you don't have this direct communication to your people. And another example is people are sitting at home in their safe spaces. So they don't have to, they don't need time to really arrive in that location and to feel comfortable in the location. So they are already in a safe space. And we can then work with them from there. So I'm excited about working virtually, virtually with companies. And at the end, I hope it will be a hybrid solution. So two days in person, and then six weeks virtual, where we can use both channels. 

Dr. Reiner Kraft  16:57  
Make sense. Now, I wanted to also mention that earlier. Mindfulness for the same mind being mindful, right. But at the end, I think the idea is how can this help as a tool in the workplace. I want to get a little bit perspective on it because people, as you said before, right, they think first about meditation, and then the whole team is meditating for maybe four hours. Not nobody is doing some work. I wanted to get a sense how you position mindfulness, or in general mindfulness practice, to basically make some impact at work?

Daniel Rieber  17:44  
Yeah, that's a really good question. So I just had to start a new presentation for that, because I have a perfect slide for you. And for those who are just listening to us, I can also explain what  the viewers can see right now. So we developed a model. And I think that this model really answers your question. So it explains how mindfulness can bring benefits into your everyday work life. So the basic idea is that change happens from the inside out. Change always starts with you. And then with you collaborating, interacting with people. So we always start with the self. And then in the next step, we talk about the team. And then if you're a leader, that would be the third step. And also, the idea of mindful leadership is to observe, reflect and act. So first, you observe what actually is there without judging, just observing, open, curious, compassionate, then you reflect what is important for me, what are my values? What are my goals? Where do I want to be? What kind of person do I want to be? And then when you know where you are, and where you want to go, then the next step is to act. So find the next step on your journey, do it consciously and take all the responsibility for this. So these are the two dimensions, self team leader, and observe, reflect act. And with these two dimensions, our mindful leadership model opens up nine modules. So imagine we're doing a two day workshop with a team then on the first day, we will talk about ourselves. So we start with a session on self awareness. What are my thoughts? What are my emotions? How is my body doing? Then we go into the mindset, what are my values? What is important for me, what kind of person do I want to be? And then we go to self leadership, how can I lead myself? How can I motivate myself? How can I be the best version of myself and then on the second day, we switch from looking at ourselves to looking at the person in front of us and to develop other awareness or empathy. So to understand what the person in front of me is feeling, what their emotions are, and then we talk about the culture. So I know my values, I have to learn about your values, and maybe we can find shared values that are the basis for our culture, our working together. And then the last session would be about co-creation. So how can we communicate and work effectively together, so that the result is bigger than just the other participants, the sum of it is bigger than just the elements. So I hope this gives a little better understanding. So we truly believe that mindfulness and emotional intelligence is the basis to develop all the skills that we need in those times of acceleration and complexity. We do need emotional intelligence, we do need resilience, we do need self leadership, we do need agility, we do need a growth mindset. And for all this, it's important to start with yourself and to start with observing with self awareness.

That makes sense. So it is basically mindfulness as a tool as a method to cultivate these different aspects. And self awareness, which I personally also think is one of the key capabilities that can be cultivated by presence, by mindfulness training, exercises, whatever you do this year, I mean, this is an interesting thing to based on your experience, since you're working now, for quite some time, there's a variety of companies, the teams there and everything. Repeated self awareness is actually increasing in general. So it's hard to quantify this. We have to put a number on each person, what's the current level of self awareness? Right? Yeah, harder. But from your subjective assessment, would you say that self awareness is something that is more evolving? nowadays? It's more, is it actually increasing in general? Because that's one of the big, this was actually the first module itself, right? What's your, what's your assessment on this.

So in our bubble, we are working mainly with startups with digital companies with very progressive and international companies, or when we work with traditional companies, we always work with the teams and the people who are more progressive within the company. So in our bubble, we can see that self awareness is developing, that it is increasing, and that it becomes more and more important for people. And I think the main reason is that in our new world of work, it becomes more and more important to lead yourself, you get more self responsibility. You work as an individual, as a personal brand, in a company where you work in different cross functional teams and where you have to, to take responsibility for whole projects that are whole areas. So I think that the new world of work demands for self awareness and self leadership. And that this really drives the awareness for this. And in addition to this, through due to Corona, what we also observed is that in the last one and a half years, people really understood, especially HR, especially leader, that it is important to take care of yourself that it's important to manage yourself, because you're sitting in your room in your flat the whole day. And you don't have this social construct anymore. So no one is looking at you if you take breaks, and no one is looking for you. If you do have a healthy lunch, you just organize yourself. And we really had an increasing demand after corona because mindfulness and self leadership has become super important. And also empathy. How is my colleague doing? I'm also a culture. How can we create a room of trust? How can we create a room of connection when everyone is sitting at home? Super, super interesting times.

Dr. Reiner Kraft  24:43  
What about self awareness with leaders? I've been working in the past. We've seen this and there was sometimes not a lot of self awareness there. Those were the worst leaders they crossed, typically the most distracting toxic environments and so on. In your newer few currently, do you see a change there as well, more awareness and leaders to actually embrace those ideas?

Daniel Rieber  25:10  
Yeah, slowly, I would say they're, they're like three groups. One group is the group of people who didn't get it yet. They don't think that self awareness is important, they even don't understand about the issue, then there's this group. And this is really becoming bigger and bigger for people who understand that self awareness is important, who also read a book or listen to a podcast about it. But they don't practice it. Because self awareness is a skill. It's like a muscle, we have to train. And then there's a third group of people, people who understand that it's important, and also train it, like meditating, like doing mindfulness practice, like going on a retreat, or going in a cluster. I don't know the English word right now. monastery, right, like, and there are a lot of people doing that. So I just had a really interesting conversation with someone who is leading the mindfulness program for Daimler. And they, for a few years, send a lot of people to a few 1000s of people to monasteries, and do mindfulness practice there. So in my bubble, there is a really increasing number of people who are aware of that, and also a number of people who practice. But it's slowly getting there.

Dr. Reiner Kraft  26:38  
Yeah, I think that correlates also with my observation, since I also work with a variety of leaders. And I see that there's some momentum there, for sure. And the other point you made, it is at the end of the day, it works. If you do regular training, I refer to this as mind management, there's different aspects that you can that you can do, it doesn't come for free, right, there is some something you have to do something, train the muscle of your mind, so to speak, in a variety of different aspects, right. And then you see results, which can be shown with KPIs. For sure. I've seen this with really transformational results in a duration of three to six months or longer. There is something happening. But yes, going, going back. Now, I always want to ask why. Right? So why are we even talking about this? And but let's talk about some of the challenges around in companies that motivated you guys with Wevolve to basically look at the question of why, right, why should we care basically, as a company?

Daniel Rieber  27:55  
That is a good question. And I could have a really short or really long answer. So try to find something in between. So on a global level, we think that there are a lot of challenges for our society for humankind. And there's this really nice quote from Albert Einstein, who said, You can't solve the problems you created with a specific kind of thinking with the same thinking. I don't know the English translation for it, I only know it in German. So if we want to change our society, if you want to find solutions for climate change, for social injustice, for all these topics, we have to find a new mindset, a new thinking. And to develop this, we have to start with ourselves. So this is the basic idea that Nico and I share. So we don't want to change the word out. But we think that if you want to change the world, you have to, to start with your self awareness. And you have to start with understanding yourself. And then you can understand other humans, and then you can connect to being part of nature and being part of this planet. So this is like the bigger picture. On a much more specific level. We work with a lot of companies who have these new work environments. Also, I also worked in companies, where I experienced that myself. And there's a big opportunity here so we can change the world of work for the better or we can unfold the human potential. On the same side, there are a lot of threats here, a lot of challenges, because more and more companies are using these wonderful tools, but they use it to just optimize the revenues. And they don't really care about the people in the team. So they just want to give you more self responsibility. But on the same hand, they say no, you have to do 100% percent more. Or they give you a mindfulness seminar and say, Okay, now you're mindful. So don't complain about stress anymore. The stress is now your responsibility. So this is what we see. And we want to fight against that development. We want to, to support employees to support leaders to support companies in becoming what we call human centered organizations. So organizations where it's about the potential of humans and words about the well being, and it's about thriving and really being in your full strengths. 

Dr. Reiner Kraft  30:35  
Absolutely. That's quite an Einstein, he was referring to level of consciousness basically. Yeah. He already knew those things a long time ago. Going and going to mindful leadership in general, there are, I'm sure three or four, I would say objectives, that then when companies look at this, when leaders look at this, why should we care? Could you share maybe two, three of these objectives? First of all, to get into this.

Daniel Rieber  31:09  
Let's have a look at the case study that I brought with me. And then we can have this one with one specific example, so I will share my screen now. So we worked with a leading European ecommerce company, unfortunately, I can't say the name because we don't have the approval for communicating it. And we worked with the customer care team, and you know that the customer care team, they are at the forefront. So they have to communicate, they have to switch from one call to another, they have to regulate their emotions, and so on. So it's very challenging for them. And when we started working with them, the lockdown standard, so we experienced going to the home office, being isolated, feeling lonely, not feeling connected to the company, and so on. So we do have these general challenges here of a customer care team, we have the general challenges of people working in a digital company in a high paced environment. And those specific challenges coming with COVID-19. And the goals that we set with the company, but also in general is we want to help to have focused attention, empathic communication, stress regulation, and growth mindset. So these are the four clusters, the four areas that we optimized our program for, and that we want to support companies with. Here in this specific case, it was the goal to stay focused in times of complexity and overwhelm, being empathic with customers and team members in challenging conversations, developing a growth mindset and transformed challenges and opportunities, and regulating stress and establishing a healthy work life balance. So when you remember, I said that we always do this pre and post surveys. So what we did here is that we jumped to that slide, we asked the participants of the program 12 questions. And those questions are in the four clusters. So for each cluster, we have three questions. And we could see that we had an overall uplift with this mindful leadership program of 24%. And you can see that especially in stress regulation, it was 44%. And the lowest number here is empathic communication. But the reason for this is that the absolute number was already pretty high, before we started to work with that, because those people are really trained in empathic communication because they are at the forefront. So these are quite interesting numbers and very positive. And then we did the same survey 12 weeks later. And you can see here, that still we had a 19% uplift. So 24% uplift directly after the program, and 90% uplift 12 weeks later. And he can see in detail the questions that we asked, and the uplift that we measured. And I think that it's just super interesting to see that you can even with it is quite short to do just two days of training and six weeks of coaching. You can also have a one year training or everyday practice. But even in this short time, we really had changes and the client here was super happy. And yeah, we just started a new cohort or actually two cohorts. And now after our summer break, and all One with the customer care team and one with another team adds something amazing and fulfilling.

Dr. Reiner Kraft  35:08  
That is great. Also to clarify, did this initial study right after the program? So that means people were learning, integrating a few habits and trying to cultivate a few new habits. And you've seen this lift in particular areas. But then the longer one, was it six months out? 

Daniel Rieber  35:34  
Three months.

Dr. Reiner Kraft  35:35  
Three months out, right. So that suggests that people took these learnings and actually formed new habits. And then these habit habits that they were forming seemed to generate and amplify those results. And so there is a sustainable effect here going on, right. So it is changing something not just for absolutely after the workshop, but because of these new habits, things are coming up for them.

Daniel Rieber  36:04  
But I think we have to be careful. So, of course, what we see is that if you just do a two day training, the impact falls down directly after one week, it's like coming from vacation, you come to the office Two days later, you need vacation, right? So from our point of view, this six week integration phase is so important, because we support people finding their own individual way. But we think that in addition to this, you also as a company have to offer things like a weekly training, an extensive or an advanced workshop, and so on and so on, so that you keep people in this mindset. Now you can't do just a program and then think, okay, now it runs for itself. There has to be some kind of support, some kind of offering. And it doesn't have to be with our company, it can also be self organized. Remember that when you work at Zalando. You also were part of the Guild, right? The mindfulness guild and you had mindfulness practice, and it was totally self organized.

Dr. Reiner Kraft  37:17  
Yeah, it was completely self organized. And yeah, some people would take advantage of it. I think the cool thing is we even had a meditation room. It was a conference room dedicated to meditation, and people use it. And self organized it is going but going back to some of the results, you're talking about focused attention, growth, mindset, stress regulation was a big one, the pathetic communication, but looking at these different topics there. Could you share maybe just a few examples on what people actually learned, or basically did in terms of activities. So to actually make progress in these areas?

Daniel Rieber  38:07  
Yeah, yeah. Okay, so I'm sharing my screen again, with the 12 questions that we ask, and I will just pick one out. And it is from the section that has focused attention. Before I start a task, I reflect on what is most important now. So this, I think, is so important. A lot of people just start working and go from one task to another, including myself, right? And I think you know that the truth, I know that you come in this mode, like this tunnel view, and you're just working, working, working, working email coming in slack coming in day to day. And people think that they have to become faster and faster and faster. But the opposite is the result. If you take a break, and you take a moment to reflect, is this what I'm doing really important or not? Is this really counting into my okrs into my objectives and key results? And the way I'm doing it right now, is it the smartest way? Or is there maybe a way to optimize it? Is there a way to find upgrades as a shortcut, right? So it makes so much sense to start a task. Take a moment to reflect. And you can see here on the results that with a program we improved this capability by 39%. And how do we do that? We give a lot of tools. So we have like 25 mindfulness tools in our program. And we also give tasks and challenges. So for example, one child could be the Pomodoro Technique, you might have heard about that. So you sit down and you start a timer for 20 minutes. And the moment the timer rings, you just take a moment, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and then you ask yourself, How am I doing right now? And what am I doing right now? Does it make sense? And then you start the next 20 minutes, and after 20 minutes, you have the timeout again, you take a moment. And you can do that. For hours, I'm doing it quite a lot, when I have phases where I've really deep work phases where I really have to create something. And it's so interesting to learn about yourself. For example, I'm an expert in pixel moving, I don't know if you heard about this thing. So I start writing a text or working on a presentation. And then instead of doing the really important things and making decisions and finding good, valid points and so on, I move the pixels, or this font has to be a little bit bigger, and this logo can be a little bit more left. And really diving into this. And it doesn't make sense at all, because the presentation is not better, because of some pixels you moved or the font size. So you can do that, you can do that at the end, you can do that when you did the important job. But you should not do it while you are working on it. So I like this picture of a painter, a painter who paints a big picture does not start on the bottom left and paints everything in perfect and then goes straight to the right. And what a painter does is first they do the outlines. And then when the outlines are done, they start with the first coloring. And when the first coloring is done, they look at it and they say, okay, maybe I need a new element here, and so on. So you start from zooming out, and then zooming in step by step. And this is how smart work should be done. And I think that our program here can be part of this process to become a smart worker.

Dr. Reiner Kraft  44:10  
No, I see this makes a lot of sense. And so for this category of focus, it seems then there is a list of different methods that they can choose from. And they can learn to see what sticks, what they like, what they don't like, and then as a result even if you do a few of them, you see this increase in focus over time. Now, there was the other aspect around stress regulation. And one of the biggest ones I've seen in there is the harsh inner voice. Yes. And I've seen that, to be honest, this is one when I work with leaders on helping them to become more stressed. resilient. I know this is one of the big topics. Your own inner critic is so strong right And you're actually so mean to yourself, if you would actually dump out these, these thoughts, like if you could write them all down and bring them to the paper and look at them. If you were actually to say those things to someone else, I think this person would probably stick around with you and would run away. But it's, sometimes it's really mean stuff, then you say that to yourself most of the time. And so this is so important to just be more friendly to cultivate these more gender mindset toward yourself. And it looks like this is exactly the biggest impulse. Any guess is any guidance on how you help people on that particular level? 


Daniel Rieber  45:54 
Yeah, I'm actually very thankful that you mentioned this, and I was thinking about mentioning it myself when I was talking about focus. Because this is really a very important part. And for most of the people, it is the biggest learning as you said. So we asked the question, I am friendly to myself when things go wrong. And for those who can't see the slide, right now, we have a 61% uplift after the program, and the uplift is so high, because when you look at the absolute numbers, and we don't have them here on the slide, you'll see that it's super low, before the program. Because we work with high performance, we work with people who really want to do a perfect job and who really want to thrive and who want to do a career and want to participate in this high paced work environment. And I'm one of those people too. So I know very well that you have this inner voice that is very critical, that sometimes is very harsh and even unfair. And what we do in the workshop is that we help the participants to be aware that there is this inner voice. And we make them aware that they would never speak to a good friend, or to their son or daughter or to their partner in the way they talk to themselves. And this realization is amazing. And then after being aware of this, we have the negativity bias with this inner voice, net critic, then we strengthen their resources. So we, for example, introduce the inner mentor. So the positive voice, that you're the voice that loves you, and that wants to give you the best and to be that you're happy. So for example, this is one practice where you write a letter to yourself from the point of view of someone who loves you, and who wishes you well. And it's the first time we did it, I was a little bit unsure if this is the right method to work with. Experienced leader. But actually, this is one of the methods where you have the biggest learning effect, where people really have those insight moments. And where they start to realize that they can directly change how they talk to themselves. And this has an impact on how they communicate to others, especially to their team members. So I think this self compassion, and self compassion is very key in mindfulness practice. And it's very important in our program.

Dr. Reiner Kraft  48:58
Yeah, that makes sense. And that's why when I look at these different areas, for some of the listeners, if they want to get some practical ideas out of this session today, it looks like what you mentioned before, the focus part seems like a great one where you can get a lot of upward movement. The negative self-talk by the inner critic seems to be a big one to address right. And then last but not the least, you were also talking about negative thoughts so this is basic, I refer to them in my training so I have this one training called 10x presence and self awareness. And so the whole purpose, I would say, is to become more aware, right? And then use this awareness to actually discover these limiting sorts of false beliefs. Right. And it's very interesting to then once you become aware of those, that's the first thing. And then actually, so let's say do this as a simple exercise that every time over the course of the day you become a Do you write it down? So you create a list? And then you can actually classify each sword? Whether this is some positivity, maybe it's neutral, right? Or at the end of the day, it's negative. Right. And I know, a lot of leaders I've worked with in the past on this particular topic, that it could be the case that the percentage of those negative thoughts in general is quite high. Right? So if you have a thought that comes to mind, in your subconscious mind, you write it down in it, in many cases, this can actually be negative. And so then if the proportion of negative sources is high, yeah, that has a lot of negative ramifications because what you're manifesting is negativity. Right? And all those things which are not helpful, right? Absolutely. And so it seems, maybe share also a little bit on this one, but this one really looks like the third one, where people could get something out, right. So focus, the inner voice, right? Negativity is one in limiting thoughts, false beliefs, or in general, if they're negative? Yeah, share a little bit on that particular one, maybe,

Daniel Rieber  51:42
Yeah, I can see this enthusiasm with you and I. That's why we have two full days for this training. And we could do seven full days, because there's so much interesting going on. Okay, just to pick this one out that you just mentioned, we have this KPI, I'm able to let go of negative thoughts when I become aware of them. And the program had a 46% uplift. So it's one of the three strongest uplifts that we measured. And this is something that we all know from ourselves, and it's directly connected to this inner critic. We do think a lot about the past. And we do think a lot about the future. And we are not so often in the present moment. So we think about, what did I say wrong? Was that the right decision? What do other people think about me, so there's a lot of those negative thoughts going on. And they are not very helpful. Just think about your consciousness, your mind, like a computer, you have 100% processor power. And there are a lot of things happening in the background, a lot of background tasks, and you want to have as much resources for what is happening in the here and now to enjoy the here and now but also to do a great job and to have good ideas. But if you have in the background, a lot of background jobs running. So for example, the background job, what did I do wrong in the last meeting, then you can't use all your resources. And actually, there's a good reason why we think so: it's the negativity bias that I just mentioned. So from an evolutionary perspective, it made a lot of sense that people who thought about what can I learn from the past? And what can I predict in the future, they survived. Just think about a winter coming, a very cold winter coming, and there is no supermarket, because we are like 20,000 years before Christ. And you the people who predicted that it will be a cold winter, and they collected food they survived. So it makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary perspective. But sometimes this stuff is out of control. And it doesn't help us; it just manifests negative thoughts, negative habits, negative beliefs that we have. So becoming aware of this is the first step because when there is awareness, there's always change. And then actively cultivating positive thoughts, cultivating, being in the human now, cultivating training this muscle. This is how we can get out of this. And it is not an easy task for some super difficult because it's also deeply wired and deeply connected in their past and their childhood and so on. So it's not like you do mindfulness training, and you're always in the present. But you can go there step by step by step, learn more about yourself, learn more about your core beliefs, learn more about your worldview, and change it step by step. This is what I truly believe in.

Dr. Reiner Kraft  55:38
Yeah, no, that's, that's great. Then I would also summarize here then for the listeners, these again, right as the focus is some self reflection that was mentioned, there is the inner critic, the inner inner voice that's basically could be very harsh. There are these limiting thoughts and I encourage the listener At this point to basically pause, start, reflect, go back the last 10-20 minutes, take really some notes out of these, there are a lot of insights in here and see what resonates. What resonates with you is to get some good ideas out of it. And then also, since we're coming more toward the end of the session, I think one thing I wanted to go in is, as you're searching for the year, and now that is your, your, your mission. Could you maybe share also to the listeners, parts of how you're doing it as part of maybe your morning routine, any things that you typically live on, maybe two or three things also that have proven to be very helpful for you that listeners could benefit by getting some ideas?

Daniel Rieber  56:36
Yeah. So you're referring to the podcast of the "Auf der Suche Nach dem Hier und Jetzt" which is unfortunately, only in German, but you can find it on Spotify and all other platforms. And I started that podcast four years ago. And actually, I wanted to write a book four years ago about my personal search for you now, to inspire others and to support others. And I just mentioned it before we jumped into this interview, that I just started writing that book. So hopefully, there will be a book with that name in a few months or years. But actually, this is my personal opinion. This is what really drives me personally. So the idea is that most of the time, we are in a doing mode, we want to achieve something to become happy. So we are always thinking about, I just have to get this job and I have to buy this car, and I have to be in this house. And then one day, I will be happy. But I want to be like a lot of other people to be in the present moment to be fulfilled in the present moment with what there actually is. And of course, I can do a good job, I can achieve things. But I'm not connecting this to being happy to becoming happy. So my goal is my present goal is to be more and more percentage of my everyday life in the beam mode, and not in the doing mode and to be more in the present, and not so much in the past or in the future. And this is my search for here. And now. So what I do for myself, there's quite a lot that I'm doing. So most important is my morning routine. So I have a morning routine every morning. And there is a negotiable and a non negotiable part. So the non negotiable part is that at least five minutes, I will sit down, I will count my breath. I will think about what I'm grateful for today. And I was setting my attention for the day. This is the absolute minimum that I do every day, even if I have to jump up and go to the plane, then I will do it in the plane. Right. And then if I have some time, I try to do one hour, and it's excellent. It's a mixture of yoga, Qigong, Zen meditation and affirmation practice. So I'm thinking about what is important for me, what am I thankful for? I connect to myself, I do breath count, and our body awareness, practice and so on. So it's a mixture of a lot of practices. Yeah, but it helps me really. And I think the most important thing about this morning routine is that during the day, you can always remember this feeling from the morning. So during the day when I realized, Oh, I'm stressed right now, I can take a few deep breaths. And I connect to the feeling that I just had in the morning that I experienced in the morning. So in addition to all those little mindfulness hacks and tricks that I'm using throughout the day, I always have my record. I can always compare it to this feeling that I just had the same day. To give an example for a mindfulness practice. Also in our workshops, we work a lot with setting anchors. So you look at your everyday life and you look at what are your routines, what are you doing? So for example, every day I come to my desk, and I start my laptop, and I open my mail program. And then you can attach to an existing behavior, a mindfulness practice, you can connect it like you can anchor it. So every time when I sit on my stool on my chair, The first thing I do is, I remember, three deep breaths. I close my eyes, I take three deep breaths, and then I start working. Or every time I drink a glass of water, I do a little check in how I am doing right now? What do I need? Do I need a break? Do you need some fresh air? What would be good for me ? So the more and more of those mindfulness practices you integrate. Now the more and more normal it becomes, and the more and more you're connected to the here now. So this is what really drives me and what makes it a lot of fun. So you can see right now,

Dr. Reiner Kraft  01:01:28
Yeah, I can see that you're enjoying this. Yeah. And so I hope all the listeners took, took some notes and went back. I mean, that's the beauty of the podcast. I mean, you can basically wind in then the you get the value out, if you actually do this reflection, make some notes and think about, oh, yeah, that there was this idea around, whatever came up in the past 20 minutes, maybe negative thought, focus topics, stress related, whatever, right? and use it as an inspiration explorer, there is no, there is no silver bullet here, as you've seen, I mean, that Daniel basically worked on I'm sure this morning routine, and everything's constantly adapted and tweaked. Same for myself. My morning routine is also usually every morning an hour with a variety of different things. And I've seen over time, things that work better and have more impact and others maybe I can do later one day, or maybe they're not useful at all. evaluating. Right, it can also be the case. So that's why it's good to have data and figure out how to measure things. Which Daniel also has shown can be done indeed in an organizational context for companies to see what's happening there and what the impact is of mindfulness or in general, my topics. So this is great. I think that's a good place. Now to wrap it up. I'm thankful here for Daniel to join, provide and share a lot of these cool insights. Yeah, it was a pleasure having here. Thanks again.

Daniel Rieber  01:03.19 
Thanks for having me. And if anyone wants to contact me, you can find me on LinkedIn. Daniel Rieber you can mail me mail Daniel@wevolve.company. Or you can just tune into the podcast "Auf der Suche Nach dem Hier und Jetzt," and I'm excited about the session that we had, because we haven't published the results of that case study yet. And I'm really happy that the two of us could go through it and answer questions and dive into it. So thanks a lot, Reiner. And keep on doing that podcast.

Dr. Reiner Kraft  01:03:59
Sure. Thanks. And, of course, all those links and mentioned things will add them, obviously, to the show notes. At a later point, if the study becomes public, we'll add slides there as well if that's and so everyone listening to this can come back and find all those links and get in touch with you and go from there. Good. Thanks again, and I'm sure I'll see you on another podcast in the future. Okay, thanks.