Search Inside Yourself: Google’s Mindful Way of Developing Leaders and Employees Alike

By Published September 1, 2017
Learning and Development Program

All around the world, the war for talent acquisition and widespread changes within the corporate sector has become quite evident. Top HR leaders from best global companies are all set to invest in learning and development programs for employees. And this kind of a trend is evident from the learning and development program that top organizations are launching all across.

Let’s focus on one such prevalent HR learning and development program that has become the talk of the town.

Learning and Development Program

Google – the US-based tech giant continues to be a dream company for a lot of employees. As the organization continues to sustain its top position among the most-wanted place to work for, it continues to keep innovation as its primary focus.

Focusing on learning and development of employees, a few years’ back Google ended up designing learning and leadership program known as “Search Inside Yourself” or SIY. Popularly known as the Mindfulness Program, the course went on to become one of the most popular among all corporate learning and development programs.

Search Inside Yourself/Mindfulness: Origins of the Program

Born at Google way back in 2007, from an engineer’s dream to bring about a change in the world by training our minds, SIY went on to become one of the most influential HR learning and development programs across the corporate world.

A decade back, Google’s veteran engineer Chade-Meng Tan came up with an idea of using the powers of emotional intelligence and neuroscience to develop an in-house training course for Google employees. This became Search Inside Yourself and quickly grew to be the most accessible learning and development program in the company. Even after being taught for years at Google, and Tan’s eventual exit from the business, when a new slot opens enrollment, it fills almost immediately and receives a long wait list.

Search Inside Yourself: Curriculum

Search Inside Yourself (SIY) makes use of thoughtfulness, introspection, and mindfulness exercise to help people build upon emotional intelligence and skills needed for sustained peak performance, active collaboration, and effective leadership. The program is taught over two-day’ time with a four-week follow-up. Here’s a look at the curriculum

Emotional Intelligence: Workplace studies have proven that emotional competencies predict effectiveness, performance, and well-being.

Mindfulness: Research shows that mindfulness is a major skill that reinforces the inner growth: self-management, self-awareness, and emotional skills.

Neuroscience: Neuroscience explains that how we direct our consciousness determines the emotions we develop, mental habits we form and the results we experience.

Some of the themes and topics that the mindfulness program addresses include the following:

Mindfulness and Mastery of Attention • Working and Living “On Purpose.”
• Mastering Stress • Personal Energy Management
• Meditation and Change Resilience • Mindfulness in VUCA Times
• The Science of Mindfulness • Enhancing Creativity and Innovation • Boosting Efficiency and Productivity
• Developing and Sustaining a Meditation Practice • Keys to Mindfulness Practice • Three Essential Mind Fitness Skills
• Mindful Relationships and Communications • Focused Attention • Embodying Mindfulness, Breath and Body Awareness • Cultivating Happiness

What Makes SIY so Special?

Well, so what is that that makes this learning and development program so unique as compared to others? The main reason happens to be the boost in mindfulness of employees that would eventually help them improve performance at the workplace.

– It takes a scientific approach and combines the three aspects – mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and neuroscience. With the support of these, the program helps participants associate or put together the building blocks of leadership, well-being, and collaboration.

The program is highly interactive. It’s only one-third content and two-thirds experiential exercises, attention training practices, listening and writing activities.

– Each program is appropriately tailored to clients’ needs and of course presented through a very different and dynamic type of lens, depending upon a lot of the audience while at the same time maintaining the combination of the three primary components – mindfulness, neuroscience and emotional intelligence.

Key benefits of the SIY Program

The major advantages of the Mindfulness/SIY Program comprise the following:

• Improve collaboration and communication skills
• Develop excellent/outstanding relationship
• Increase creativity and innovation
• Reduce work-stress and experience greater overall workplace well-being
Learnings for the Mindfulness Program

Needless to say with such a groundbreaking learning and development program, a lot can be learned which can later be implemented in the workplace as well as personal lives. Two major learnings from the SIY include the following:

#1. The importance of empathy

The first thing learning happens to be the importance of empathy. Effective leaders and team members are those who can understand other co-workers, build relationships and trust. Understanding the science and eventually practicing empathy and strengthen your ability to understand others’ perspectives as well as feelings.

#2. Leadership skills

The next major learning from this exciting HR leadership program happens to be some leadership competencies. Emotional intelligence is an essential leadership skill. It’s important to learn to lead with compassion even while one has to make some tough decisions. It is also about how to communicate with greater insight into the different layers of emotions, identities, and perspectives that drive relationships.

• Become more skillful at influencing with compassion

• Gain self-confidence in developing a positive outcome in conversations where strong emotions are present

• Develop the solid emotional courage to lead others.

Tan lays large focus on mindfulness because, he believes that mindfulness is good for business, especially in a cut-throat situation like a cut-throat business. Mindfulness opens the door to kindness, which is at the very root of doing any business. It is just that; it has to be used wisely. Once mindfulness is used wisely at work – then performance is inevitably improved.

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