A momentous meeting of minds
What is time? Is it real? Is it all in the mind? ? Toying with this profound question while presenting at a mindfulness conference in Central London, Carmel Moore met fellow speaker Martin (‘Marty’) Boroson and, with this chance encounter, the seeds of the One Moment Company were planted. An accountant and a Zen priest is an intriguing combination!
Following that fateful meeting, Marty and Carmel started to develop their thinking around our human relationship with time. They realised that most of our day to day experience of time stems from the commercial world, and has its roots in the Industrial Revolution. It’s a human arrangement that allows us to be in the right place at the same time.
At a time when being “busy” is considered an admirable status, the founders recognised that our perceptions around time are distorted. Social expectations of where individuals should be on an imaginary ladder of achievements by certain ages create unnecessary pressure that can consume our thoughts preventing us from living in the moment.
This is not a new phenomenon – the old adage “The devil finds work for idle hands” dates back to the 4th century – but Marty and Carmel realised the concept of time needs to be rethought to become more aligned to our values and priorities. Carmel’s background – over 30 years’ experience advising multinationals on tax strategy, management and compliance – gave her an uncomfortably close understanding of the fast-paced, highly pressurised corporate world. Having spent most of her working life with her back turned firmly against anything to do with meditation, introspection or self-reflection because she was far too busy, Carmel left her partner position at EY to embark on a mission to ease the burden of the working world.
One-Moment takes off
With Marty’s One-Moment Meditation® technique already well established, Marty and Carmel worked together to develop programmes to help business leaders to master time and find time for what matters most, to become more agile, listen better and seize the moment. In short, to become more effective leaders. Participants describe the programme as ‘breakthrough’ and ‘inspiring’. One of the hallmarks of the program is that it blends big, transformational concepts with practical and accessible ways of applying that learning so that change sticks.
But it’s not just about leaders, knowing that everyone can benefit from meditation, the One-Moment Meditation® technique has proved an invaluable tool to employees. It promises to help them “reduce stress and anxiety, focus better, calm their family dramas, get more productive and be truly ready for anything.”- even catastrophic events like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carmel says, “The feedback we’ve had is that it’s been a wonderful resource for people in these anxious times, stopping them feeling overwhelmed or heartsick.”
Having successfully introduced the Time Mastery programme to business leaders in London, Boston and San Francisco, they were getting ready to teach a cohort in the home of time at Greenwich in March 2020 ahead of an April program in New York, when COVID-19 struck. Determined to maintain momentum and realising that the teaching was now more needed than ever, Marty and Carmel swiftly pivoted and developed the programme online in the space of a few weeks, a huge undertaking.
One of the big challenges they faced was “how to provide the same personalised, high-end experience that is our hallmark, the care we take of people – how do we create that experience virtually?” While the online programme continues to evolve in response to our changing working world, the answer was to create a community feel of peer support where participants could interact with each other, providing live coaching on Zoom to work through questions about time – everything from ‘How to say no’ to ‘What’s the relationship between perfection and time.’
With training budgets frozen, Carmel and Marty recognised they needed to be creative to find a way to make the work profitable whilst providing access for those who need it most. hey came up with the innovative concept of Exchange Economy Pricing. This involves participants making a commitment at the outset to give whatever they can afford in return for the training.
For some, this was a proportion of the fee; for others it was a promise to help One Moment with its business development by writing recommendations, introducing Carmel and Marty to contacts at other organisations or offering a service, such as marketing . After the programme ended , One Moment wrote to participants reminding them of their obligation. This proved a very effective strategy and Carmel believes the element of formality was key. The follow-up has deepened engagement with the community of alumni and been an effective strategy in broadening the network.
In its ‘Growing the health and well-being agenda’ report, the CIPD shows that healthy workplaces help people to flourish and reach their potential. While conceding that “creating a healthy culture is perhaps the greatest challenge for organisations”, for those businesses that place importance on workforce wellbeing, the rewards are great:
“The benefits of a well-being culture are not limited to reduced absence and reduced absence costs – organisations that genuinely promote and value the health and well-being of employees will benefit from improved engagement and retention of employees with consequent gains for performance and productivity.”
One Moment sees its future in aligning with like-minded partners to continue spreading its message to the corporate world, which it believes will see radical change post-pandemic. Carmel says, “Up until now, the scaffolding of business has been the workday, working week, quarterly results, annual forecast, annual leave and so on. But that scaffolding has gone now because no one really knows what the working day is any more – so we’re helping companies create new arrangements about time.”
Square Mile will be at One Moment’s side to help with management insight and strategic planning to take its business plan forward. As the business world adapts to new rules and working from home, One Moment’s teachings on ‘How to unzoom Zoom’, ‘Addressing the toxic time culture of leaders’ and ‘Creating new rules for the working day’ have never been more relevant. As companies plan to head back to the office, the concept of ‘hybrid working’ seems alluring. But hybrid working is not simply a tweak to how we’ve been working in the past year. It is a completely new way of working. We need to learn how to do it. The next New Rules of Time Programme is ready to help leaders to do this. (A discount is available for Square Mile clients, please contact email@example.com)
Equally, One Moment’s philosophy has resulted in learnings for Square Mile about being fully present with our clients, listening deeply to them and responding in the moment. We are working with them on wellbeing training for our team.
One Moment is just one of several Square Mile Accounting clients that believe in using technology for good. These businesses with purpose are driven to have an impact that goes beyond pure profit to improve human lives.