Organization studies have long focused on the problem of understanding the possibility of pursuing effectiveness and resilience at the same time. An emerging perspective, reconciling mindfulness and routines, allows to address these contrasting goals: routines channel the exploratory nature of mindfulness, but they also support it by providing context to its enactment. Despite these results, available empirical evidence from mindful organizations has not helped understand how mindfulness can be supported by routines without losing its broader scope of attention. Moreover, an operational definition of mindfulness is still an open question.
In this paper, we adopt an analytical framework allowing to break down routines into their sensing and reacting components. Using evidence from the flying practices of Tornado crews in the Italian Air Force, we show that mindfulness concerns the parallel activation and re-combination of these components, allowing the rapid deployment of responses but also the continuous reassessment of the situation.