AdvantEdge T4 Podcast: Hacking Behavioural Neuroscience to Make Change Simple. UnLock Your Talent | UnStuck Your Potential | UnLeash Your Performance

Trivia, Tips, Troubles and Tales of why some leaders thrive whilst others struggle. Learning how your brain works enables you to quickly adapt your thinking and behaviour to be a better leader, to successfully influence others more easily and to UnLock your own Talent, UnStuck your Potential to UnLeash Performance. John is a Behavioural Neuroscience Expert, an inspirational coach and trainer leveraging behavioural neuroscience to empower business leaders and improve the bottom line.

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Four Questions Every Leader Should Ask (If They Want To Improve Performance)

Wednesday Aug 25, 2021

Welcome to the Joy at Work Podcast with me, Dr John Kenworthy. In this guide we're learning the: Four questions every leader should be asking, if they want to improve performance. Introduction Improved performance requires growth. And without growth, our career is doomed to stagnation and eventual death. Am I exaggerating? Well, stop watering your plants for a few weeks and see what happens. Organizations that don't get better, don't improve their performance year on year are stagnating too. If you has a leader, don't grow, then your career will stagnate. You may be exceptionally good at what you do, but if you want to move up the hierarchy, you need to grow into that position before you get given it because afterwards is far too late. Plus you won't have developed your team to take on your job. So how can they promote you? How, then do we raise performance easily? Purpose Our purpose and payoff being prepared to learn and change, and put in the necessary effort, is a critical step in growth and improve. And getting yourself and team members to regularly consider what's going well. And what needs work is essential. If you want to improve performance. Process To do this, I'm sharing Four simple yet, oh, so powerful neuroscience-based questions that work to stimulate personal growth and the resulting conversations will take you in just five to 15 minutes of your time. Payoff Use it once now, as I guide you and you'll immediately gain one benefit with a very clear action for next week. Use it with your team members once and you'll gain one improvement in performance next week. Use it weekly. And you'll gain 52 improvements this year. The improvements don't have to be huge. Small gains add greatly. Before I start with the four questions, grab yourself a pen and paper or a iPad with a pencil, anything to make notes and be ready to pause as we go through this. The four questions starting off with keeping the good stuff. The Four Questions If I were to ask you to tell me how was work for you this past week or so the chances are very high that you would reply along the lines of : "it was okay, good. not bad, fine, or terrible. It's dull, boring, and not at all helpful. Instead, I'll ask: " Tell me, what three specific things that you enjoyed and, or believe that you did really well at work this week? So here, I'm going to give you a few moments to consider your answer, pause the player. If you're listening and write them down. If you can. Pause the player and write down your answer to the question. If this is your first time, you are probably finding this a little challenging. If you're replying nothing, uh, stop and find something go further back in time, if you need to, but do the work here. You'll thank me later. Got three things. Fantastic. If we were in a live coaching here, I'd be probing into your answers to help you dig out the beautiful gems. For now let your magnificent mind mull on these and let's get to the easy part. What Needs Work? Identifying what needs work. Now, if you struggled some with answering that first question, you are in very good company. Pretty well, all of my clients struggle with that first question because, well, we're so used to dwelling on this next part. What needs work. Ready? Here's your question: What is the one real challenge for you that if you improved or changed would have the greatest positive impact on your performance, now? Let me repeat that. And then I'll pause. What is the one real challenge for you that if you improved or changed would have the greatest positive impact on your performance, now? Again, pause the player and write down your answer. Got one? Not two or more choose one. Is it about somebody else changing? Then think again, this is about you, your performance. Great. Awesome. If you and I were in a coaching session right now, I'd be digging in to make sure that this is the real core challenge. So I'm going to add on a quick question to help you right now. Is there anything else that is the real, real challenge for you here? Now, before you rush off and start, I have two more questions for you. Next, let's get you motivated. Finding the Drive Finding the drive. What exactly do you want to achieve? If you or somebody of whom you're asking with this is struggling. Here's another approach. That's more specific to the change. What will you achieve by changing this one thing? Pause and write down your response. Many clients find this difficult to answer, principally because we're not taught to think like this. Yet the most successful leaders do know what they want to achieve. Write down your answer. Now that you know, let's ignite the touch paper and send you on your way. True Empowerment True empowerment. How can I help you? Here's your question? How can I help you? When you were asking this of your team, this question tells them that you are here to help them succeed. And do please remember empowerment and delegation are not the same thing: you delegate authority to someone to do something. You empower someone with the, to do the thing and the authority to do it. Delegation works fine when they know what they need to know and how to do what they need to do. If they don't, then and they need the power, which is the tools, the resources, the ability, the knowledge, as well as the authority to do it. And if you need my help get in touch. How and When to use This How and when should you use this? Well, you gain one immediate benefit using this just once for yourself. Use it once with your team and you'll get one improvement next week. Use it weekly and you'll see, 52 improvements next year! Those improvements may be small, but they quickly add up and soon enough, your team will be doing this for themselves continuously and multiplying your impact and your performance. What's Happening in The Brain? Let's go and check in what's happening in the brain. See, if you've been going through this exercise, your brains, just gone on a bit of a roller coaster ride. At the beginning by considering what you have done well, you're remembering positive, affirming strengths that you have displayed and you are feeling encouraged and good about yourself. Thanks to some Serotonin and Dopamine. It also, thanks to the Dopamine, reinforces those positive things to being repeated. Then, by considering what needs work, your brain takes a bit of a dive. A little Cortisol is triggered, maybe some Adrenaline too. If it's an unpleasant memory and your motivation levels drop, you're causing a deep thinking, pause and reflection, weighing up and prioritizing changes that will have a real impact on your performance. And you're already working out how to use your strengths, that you just talked, about to really lift these weak areas. By asking what you want to achieve, we reopen your brains motivation circuits to think of the future and your uncles. You begin to feel good about this. Thanks to more Dopamine and Serotonin, maybe some Endorphins too. And then by offering your help to your team members, they'll feel great in belonging and trust from Oxytocin, and you'll be able to truly empower them so that they lift their performance, feel motivated,more Dopamine, and you'll be lifting their ability to lead themselves and others too. Multiplying the impact you're having. And all it takes is five to 15 minutes of your time. Time that you're more than recovered within a few weeks, simply because you and your team are performing better. I know, it's amazing, isn't it? Summary So here's a quick summary of those four questions. "What three specific things that you enjoyed and, or believe you did well this week?" Question two: "What is the ONE real challenge for you that if you improved or change would have the greatest impact on your performance, what would that be? " Number three: "What do you want to achieve?" And 4th: "How can I help?" How Can I Help You, Now? Let me wrap this with that same last question. How can I help? I'm really asking this time. I use this approach with every client of mine at the start of every coaching session. They prepare for it with a simple worksheet so that it takes very little time so that we can spend more time on encouraging, developing, guiding, and empowering them. Now, if you're not ready for live coaching, we have a fabulous asynchronous coaching program for this, and you can start a one month trial by filling in the registration, which is linked here. Be greatly blessed. Bye for now. I'm thrilled that you joined me here for this Joy@Work Podcast, as I guide you in the Art and Behavioral Neuroscience of Expert Leadership, so that you can have Joy At Work and your Team has Purposeful Unity of Cohesion and Effort.

How to Undermine Engagement, Destroy Trust and Wreck Collaboration Before it Can Even Dare Take Root

Wednesday Jun 02, 2021

Collaboration is when an effective team harnesses the best out of individuals working together and appears to be disarmingly simple: “to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something” But everyone in the team comes with their own personality, their culture and way of doing things and their own competitiveness, their fears, their concerns and their needs. For successful and fruitful collaboration, the leader needs to help the team be actively engaged in what they are doing, and that they trust one another by setting the groundwork to build a solid foundation and then maintaining it rigorously. Many thousands of leaders have failed to create team unity, trust and engagement through team building courses and enforced jollity of casual Friday or a virtual happy hour. But the buzz from that ropes course wears thin after a few days when your brain recognises that what it wants and needs is still missing. How do we fix that? Well, before we get to that let’s check in on what your brain really wants and needs: What Your Brain Wants and Needs: Fortunately, we know that every human being shares a fundamental need for three things in life: > > The need to feel safe > > The need to belong to a group or tribe, and > > The need to believe that they and what they do, matters Getting a team to be actively engaged, to trust each other and collaborate takes plenty of leadership time and effort - so why would you destroy it before it has a chance? Purpose In this guide we’ll understand how to build and maintain the critical foundation's of Safety, Belonging and Mattering by Listening Deeply so that the team can trust each other and, with clarity of their own purpose and direction, be actively engaged and collaborate to achieve the desired results. Process We'll look Pat Lencioni's famous work on the five dysfunctions of a team and see how further research shows that Safety, Belonging and Mattering are crucial to your brain and thus to your ability to trust and collaborate. We'll then look at how listening deeply is the ONE missing ingredient that all leaders can do and use to help build the foundations and hence, ultimately, get the results they desire. Payoff When you start to listen deeply you will begin to dismantle any climate of fear or the lack of safety felt in too many organisations. Team members will learn that they can speak up and help the leader build and maintain the edifying climate to guide themselves and other team members towards effective trust and collaboration. Patrick Lencioni’s Leadership Fable about the Five Dysfunctions of a Team should be on every leader's “read it" list. In it, Pat shares how an “absence of trust” feeds a “fear of conflict” (the antithesis of collaboration), which often leads to a “lack of commitment” (aka no engagement) and then “avoidance of responsibility”. Ultimately meaning that there is an “absence of results”. The Five Dysfunctions is brilliant and true. And it’s also what is more visible. If Trust is so critically important to a team functioning and hence collaborating effectively, I was more interested in why there was an absence of trust in the first place? My research pointed to the less visible foundations of trust and collaboration - those of meeting the brains three fundamental cravings: Safety, Belonging, and Mattering. Without these in place, there is no trust, without trust, there are no results! And who is actively engaged if they don’t believe that they belong and matter? In our Team Leadership AdvantEdge Model, Collaboration and Trust are central to the success and effectiveness of the team - made manifest as “Team Unity of Cohesion and Effort”. (It's the “How to…” for the Five Dysfunctions). Our research into successful teams and organisations over the past four decades shows that this is true only when Purpose and Values, Talent and Potential, Command Intent and Influential Communications are all aligned to achieve that success. But all of these are moot if the foundation isn’t properly built and maintained. And that foundation is the sense of Safety, Belonging and Mattering. Your job as a leader is to make sure that everyone (including yourself) feels safe, that they belong to the team and that who they are and what they do, matters. Let me briefly explain that our brains have two key parts as far as we are concerned as this will help us understand what is going on. ### Inner-Child and Smart Brain What some mistakenly call our reptile or more primitive brain - the part that is concerned with the lower essential functions of our survival - what Christine Comaford, aptly calls the Critter brain, I refer to as the Inner-Child brain. And we have our adult thinking brain, or the executive brain, the Neocortex complete with the Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC) which is not fully developed before age 23-25. Our Smart Brain if you will. Your brain (and the brains of your team members) have one single primary concern: to keep you in the “not dead” state. That is its first and foremost function. It really doesn't matter how high your potential, or talented you are when you are in the "dead" state. When the world around us becomes even a little uncertain, your brain is marvellously designed to allow your “Inner-Child Brain" to take charge of survival (a task to which it is well-suited). In a time of crisis, the “Inner-Child Brain" rules the day until you deliberately choose to intervene using your Smart Brain. On any normal day your “Inner-Child Brain" is assessing the environment asking three questions: Am I safe? Do I belong? and Do I matter? This isn't a once in a while process, it is every minute of every single day. "Am I safe?" is simply checking your surroundings for threats. An "all is well" response allows your brain to relax for a brief moment and if this extends for some time, you will physically relax and your brain waves will slow down. When "Am I safe?" gets the answer: "No" then the amygdalae are brought swiftly into the action, the stress hormone norepinephrine triggers your body to produce adrenaline ready for "freeze, flight or fight". If the threat is not judged to be imminent, the "Do I belong?" question may get out to check on the whereabouts of fellow tribe members. After all, who wants to face a ravenous wolf alone? If there is a wolf, the "Do I matter?" question probably doesn't even get a cursory glance. Every Leader needs a sign on the wall that reads “Safety First”. Because without it, nothing else will really matter. Surely, you’re exaggerating, John? Not at all. It’s most evident in a time of crisis: A crisis is, by definition, a time of intense difficulty or danger. Even if you experience it only through a social media feed or a news bulletin. Our safety is being threatened in a crisis. And in times of difficulty or danger, we're usually better off with our tribe on our side. At least then we might stand a chance of survival, let alone emerging triumphant and ready for the post-crisis world. A great leader knows this, listens to the concerns of the team, and pulls and energises the team together towards a clear and tangible intended goal. Even when there is no immediate crisis, Safety is the single, most important factor in determining team performance success. As Google discovered in their Project Aristotle. Psychological Safety is the #1 factor in determining a team’s effectiveness! Google’s “Project Aristotle” sought to find the secrets of effective teams and the surprising finding was that Psychological Safety was, by far, the most important factor that determined whether a team would be effective or not. Dependability (belonging) was #2 and Meaning and Impact (mattering) 4th and 5th respectively. Structure and Clarity was found to be the 3rd factor and that's something we discuss in our Command Intent Guide. Safety is a big deal; it’s why we seek committed relationships or high-paying jobs. That’s also why it’s devastating when spouses leave and jobs are eliminated. Billy Graham Amy Edmondson’s research on Psychological Safety bears this out. As did Edgar Schein’s research all those years ago in the 1960’s! And Dale Carnegie wrote THE book with the answer 100 years ago! That is. We’ve known for many decades that psychological safety is a critical foundation for team effectiveness, trust and collaboration and yet… Well I have a little news for you. It might be a bit of a shock. Unless you are LISTENING DEEPLY to your team members. They are not feeling safe, that they belong nor that they matter. It’s possible they have enough chutzpah and self-love to deal with it and still deliver, but you’re not getting as much from them as you could be. I’ve gotten ahead of myself so let me backtrack: Think about a leader you personally admire Preferably someone who has been a leader in your life, but if that’s not possible, how about someone you know well enough, even if they’re in the grave. Remember how they made you feel safe. How they made you understand that you were a valuable part of the team. Remember how they made you believe that you truly mattered. How did they do that? Here’s my guess after posing this question to thousands of clients and participants: They asked you questions and they listened to you as if you were the most important person** in the room.** Do you do that for others? Do you ask questions and listen to them as if they were the most important person in the room? What about your customers or users? Do you listen to them deeply? Do they feel safe, that they belong (loyal to your brand) and that they matter (their opinions, desires, wants)? What about your bosses? Your peers? Simple, but not easy Asking question and listening deeply as if they are the most important person in the room seems simple enough, but it's not easy. Listening Deeply takes effort and most leaders, most people even, are too lazy to bother and we all have a listening villain. Learn more about your Listening Villain and Deep Listening at Oscar Trimboli's website here. “… as if they were the most important person in the room” And, of course, there is a danger here. I’ve met more than my fair share of smarmy politicians through life who appear to do just that. They give the impression they are keenly interested in everything that you say, they nod in all the right places, and you open up to them as if they were a real friend. Later, you meet them again and the whole ritual is repeated and you realise that they didn’t take in a word. That’s not what we’re advocating here. Instead you act as if they are the most important person in the room, because at that moment, they are. The best and wisest leaders take on board what they hear and act on it - but that’s for another day when you are ready for the whole of the Leadership AdvantEdge. But it’s not my job! And true, you might say to me, but John, it’s not my job to be making my boss or peers feel safe, belonging or mattering. In fact it’s my boss’s job to do that for me. Just remind yourself of these corporate failures: VW’s emissions scandal Wells Fargo Bank account fraud scandal Nokia’s Failure Columbia and Challengers Shuttle Disasters Tenerife Airport Disaster Uber’s Record Breaking Scandal History Meltdown at Chernobyl Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster Enron Scandal Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Want something even more recent? Wirecard All are well documented examples of how the lack of open, candid, deep listening by senior leadership at the very top of and thropughout the organisation and created a climate of fear of speaking up - even when lives were at stake. And there are countless others, including (current) Governments and Ministries, who tread the knife edge of disaster with cover-up, sleight-of-hand and obfuscation. If you want to undermine engagement and destroy trust, collaboration and joy@work before it can even dare take root, the answer is so simple that anyone can easily do it by NOT Listening! Sadly, most leaders are already, unwittingly, following that advice. So, if you don’t start listening deeply and asking questions, who will? #joyatwork #deeplistening #safety

Understand Me 4 - Who are they?

Saturday May 08, 2021

At this point, you know what your audience Knows and what the Need to know. You've got a handle on their Opinion and remember that they need to be right, and they need to belong and you will be encouraging their positive self-image. But you recall the saying it's not what you know but who you know? In this section we'll cover: 1. Stakeholder Mapping 2. Action Types Stakeholder Mapping Stakeholder or audience mapping uses a simple 2x2 matrix with Low to high power on the vertical axis and low to high interest across the horizontal. Consider the specific individual members of your audience and place them on the grid relative to each other. Include, where appropriate, stakeholders who might not be personally present but sending a representative (aka spy). Your focus in your presentation are those individuals who are most interested in your topic and have the power to affect the change you desire. When you are preparing a sales presentation, for example, it pays to know who is the key decision maker (powerful) and the most interested. Not always the same person! I often find myself presenting to greatly interested people with little power and the person with the actual power isn't even in the room. I think of this as a gatekeeping presentation and once through the gate, I have a chance to pitch to the person with the power. When you have a clear idea about the power and interest in the room, it's time to establish how you call the four different audience types to action. Nancy Duarte says that there are four audience types, each requiring a slightly different call to action: There are: Doers, Suppliers, Influencers and Innovators. - A Doer is someone who instigates activities. You should ask them to assemble, make decisions, gather, respond or attempt. - A Supplier is a person who controls resources. Ask them to acquire, fund, support or provide resources. - Influencers change perceptions. Ask them to activate, convert, empower or promote. - Innovators generate ideas to add value to and spread your ideas. Ask them to create, discover, invent or pioneer. How do you call to action if you don't know their type? Intuitively you can see that these four audience types make sense. When you know your audience well and have experienced presenting to them before, it's relatively easy to pin them down to a particular type. But there will be times when you don't know them well enough. In such a situation, make sure to sow those key action verbs throughout your presentation noting who responds to each, usually shown through greater attentiveness, a smile, a nod or simply paying attention. Note also any of the verbs that appear to fall on deaf ears, you might not, for example, have any innovators in the room. Above all, be sure to establish the audience type for the most powerful interested stakeholder and focus on getting the right call to action to them. Of course, all of this is moot if you don't actually have a call to action Your call to action for this episode is to identify your audience, map them on a simple power/interest grid and work out, if you can, their audience type. I use post-its on a whiteboard (Here's my Blank Miro Template you can use) to help me in planning. And once I have identified the key stakeholders (high power and high interest) I take a little longer to get to find out what they know, and specifically what they need to know and take a little extra effort to understand their opinion and create a call to action that will activate them to fund the resources we need to make the change they need. On that template, you’ll also map your Trust and Respect Matrix actions.

Understand Me 3 - What is their Opinion?

Friday May 07, 2021

I didn't recognise the number but I was expecting a call and thus began another 5 minute rude interruption. We all get them. We all hate them. And yet companies persist in using telemarketing and tired sales scripts. This one was especially bad. It was someone trying to sell me a meeting arrangement service using LinkedIn. Essentially, they would trawl LinkedIn for (their words) "hot" prospects and arrange a meeting with them for me. I wasn't interested and informed them. But this one was persistent and was unwilling to let me escape. On and on she talked. Didn't want to know anything at all about me, my needs, my business, my opinion on cold call telemarketing, anything about me at all. She was interested in getting through her script presumably to earn a pay check. I gave up being polite and cut the call. I have often wondered if any of such calls ever achieve their goal. I have yet to meet anyone who relishes receiving these cold calls. Purely speculative, scatter gun. And yet, so many of my clients complain of meetings and presentations that they willingly attend where the presenter is concerned only with getting through their script, in spite of the audience's wants, needs opinions and preferences. OK, perhaps "willingly" is a stretch. Grudgingly, then. In the previous sections, we discussed what your audience already Knows and what they Need to know. And how you, as the communicator, need to make sure that you identify your 10% that they really must take away. This time, we are looking at the audience's Opinion and Who they are What is their Opinion? I worked for a client a little recently where the Country manager was having problems with the local leadership team. Technically, the individuals were all brilliant and excellent, they just didn't get along together very well. There was quite a bit of power play going on and inter-department blaming and rivalry was rife. Essentially, they weren't playing well together, and like a football team that doesn't support each other well, they were getting thrashed by the competition. As is often the case in such situations, the team members thought rather negatively about "this soft, fluffy stuff" and that the problem lay with the company's processes and other departments, not their team and certainly not something any coach could fix. They weren't quite ready to instantly change their behaviour... well at least until the other party admitted that they were wrong and changed first. And sometimes it is personal. It's not your role they disagree with, it's you. In these politically correct days nobody says what they think, but they sure do think it. Maybe they prefer a female, maybe you need to be Asian to understand the local culture. Maybe you should be an engineer. Maybe the way you dress is deemed as threatening. Even with a non-hostile audience, you want to know what they think about you and your topic before deciding how to approach your presentation. What do they think of you and your topic? I was enjoying my new position installing computerised tills and stock control systems throughout the central London pub estate for Chef and Brewer. My boss was a great guy and everything was going brilliantly well until he got replaced by an arrogant, opinionated know-it-all, who, quite frankly, understood nothing about computerisation and worse, hated the idea of it. This was the late 1980's and my new boss was determined to halt the technological advance at all costs. Within a month I felt like Sisyphus. Pushing the computerisation agenda up an increasingly steep hill and soon to be crushed by the backlash. I hadn't had time to build any real influence nor win any significant political allies in the organisation and my colleagues soon joined my new boss in undermining and stalling progress. My personal credibility hadn't been established securely enough and without it, I was going to struggle to overcome the logical and emotional resistance that I was convinced were at the root of the problem. Aristotle noted that there were three key forms of resistance in an audience: Ethos, Pathos and Logos. The character or credible appeal of something or someone, the emotional appeal and the logical argument. It is often difficult to distinguish whether it is you or your topic that is causing the problem. Certainly, your personality colours your opinion about the topic. But when you are on the inside, it always feels personal. To give your case the best possible chance of success, you need to establish credibility with your audience, present your logical argument and appeal to their emotions. That is, you need to win their hearts and minds. Notice the word "win" - because in every presentation, yours is just one more voice contending to be heard and acted upon. People do resist change, and anytime that you are presenting you are instigating change. All of your audience members (and you) share 3 basic human needs: 1. To feel safe with a positive self-image 2. The need to belong 3. The need to be right - that they, and their opinions, matter. When your argument makes the audience FEEL that you are picking them out as non-compliant, wrong or simply for being different, then your argument falls on deaf ears. Communication is much more that the words that come out of your mouth! To ensure that your argument stands a chance of being accepted. You need to know what they think of you and think of your topic. And the easiest way to do that is to ask them. I didn't understand all this back in the late 1980's in London. I just bulldozed my project through as best I could. Fifteen months later, I was generously made redundant the day I installed the last pub in the estate.

Understand Me - What do they Need to know?

Thursday May 06, 2021

Have you ever sat in a presentation and successfully listened to everything that the speaker shared, remembered what was essential and acted on the information whilst simultaneously fielding emails, carrying out a chat message and planning lunch and all before a really important client meeting. OK, now in this very short space of time, what do you remember? Not a lot huh? You just experienced cognitive overload. And that was just thinking about those 5 things happening in theory. "That went right over my head! Cognitive overload is more common than you might realise. Cognitive overload occurs when your brain is being tasked with too many things at once or you are trying to process too much information. It happens when you use too much mental effort in your brains working memory to continue effective processing. You may well feel that the words flew over your head. You stopped taking any more information in and tried to clear the backlog. It is also remarkably common. A leader does a data dump of the facts and figures for the quarterly report, a manager relates every little detail of a problem and the presenter rushes through the material either because their time has been reduced or they've taken too long over the early part. Specifically, what does your audience need to know? And I do mean need as an absolute New and Knew One way to help your audience understand is to relate something that they already do know with the new information that you are sharing. New information triggers curiosity, which is something you want to do. But if everything is new, you'll trip over the edge of curiosity into anxiety. And anxiety is something we don't want. Filling your presentation with all things new is like opening photoshop for the first time and being presented with all 300 icons on the taskbar. Or like visiting a strange city for the first time. It's overwhelming. Sure, you'll find your way around eventually, but it takes time. You see what I did there? I related the situation (new knowledge for you) to something that you know already - either you'll know about photoshop and the vast number of icons or you'll have experienced visiting a strange city. And even if not exactly aligned with your knowledge, the two examples provide adequate common experience for you to relate to, or imagine. And that's just what you need to do with new information. Align it with something your audience knows already by using examples, metaphors or analogies. And remember, you only want to include new information if it is something that your audience needs to know. It is not so that you can show how knowledgable and brilliant you are. On top of this, your audience is likely to find 90% of your presentation as forgetable. So what do you really want them to remember? Your 10% Dr Carmen Simon, author of Impossible to Ignore, a neuroscientist and expert in making your content memorable, shares some bad news that your audience typically remembers just 10% of your presentation content. Worse news is the 10% remembered by one person differs from the 10% another person remembers. The 10% that you really want them to remember needs to be identified and then you are going to take control of what they remember. You can do that by noting: - What you want your audience to remember - 3 or 4 points, and - What you want your audience to do (your Product or call to action) Now we are clear what our audience knows already, making certain that we recognise our own curse of knowledge and taking care with our assumptions. We are also clear about what they need to know, avoiding cognitive overload, aligning the new with the knew and identifying the 10% of our content that is essential. But do they care at all? We need to understand the audience's opinion. Let's wrap here for now and prepare you for the next part: Opinion. In the next section we'll talk about Opinion and then get deep into the Who of your audience. We'll consider their power and interest, how they might resist, and the four audience types you will choose specific actions or products from your presentation.

Understand Me 2 - What do the Know?

Wednesday May 05, 2021

What do they Know? Let's start with asking what do your audience already know about you and your topic? There are two extreme dangers here: 1. Assumptions and 2. The Curse of Knowledge You see I carry a curse. A curse of knowledge. Just as you do: The Curse of Knowledge! I attended a networking event recently where someone was sharing about Bitcoin. "Bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used in a blockchain to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank." Yes, but what is it? I don't fully understand Bitcoin. I don't get how you "mine" them and I don't appreciate how they can be worth more than $10,000. And I'm a geek! I feel utterly stupid when someone who does know, speaks down to me as if I really should know and it turns into a crushing sense of hopelessness.And that's not a great place for your audience to be. jill and colleagues peering into empty skull.png When someone assumes that you should know something and you just do not. They look at you as if peering into your emptyheadedness with disdain. Sure, I'm biased and think of Bitcoin as eTulips and a bubble that will hurt a lot of innocent people, but I'll come back to bias when we discuss the audience Opinion. I know quite a lot. But I don't know Bitcoin, Blockchain, Etherium and now I've heard that there's one based on organic bananas. My knowledge may be similar or utterly different to your own. You have your jargon, and I have mine. The only time we have a real problem is when my jargon makes no sense to you. When I assume that something I know is common knowledge. Tappers and Listeners Here's a terrific little experiment that you can do later today with a friend or family member to truly understand the curse of knowledge. Firstly I shall tap out a very well known song - this of course only works well if you are listening to the podcast, if you're reading this, it doesn't work :-) I'll tap out this well known song and you guess what it is.   Easy right? Wrong. If you were to ask someone to do this and estimate how quickly people would guess the song title correctly, you might guess at the commonly agreed 20 or 30 seconds. And the real answer is that roughly one person in 20 will guess correctly and that after 3 repeats. - and those are usually "lucky guesses". So, you try this with a friend or colleague. Tap out "Happy Birthday". Oh, well now, of course, you recognise the tapping. It's easy now. Because now, the tune is humming in your head AND you hear the tapping in time. Previously, you only heard tapping. The problem is that I cannot unknow what I know - it is humming along in my head as I share. I cannot remember what it is like to not know what I know. And of course, I think what I know is easy. It would have to be easy if I know it. But maybe, just maybe, it is not as easy or obvious as I think that it is. Just like Happy Birthday ain't so obvious when all you hear are tap tap tap tap tap tap. (Interesting by the way, now that you know that it is Happy Birthday, you heard it immediately!) And when someone does not know something (especially something that colleagues appear to know), they may feel intimidated and that may just shut down their attention and choose the ostrich manoeveur, or worse, they may get defensive and disrupt your presentation by heckling. To avoid making bad assumptions and the curse of knowledge, you must find out what your audience already knows. And a terrific way to do that is to ask questions.

Understand Me - Getting to KNOW Your Audience

Tuesday May 04, 2021

If there's one complaint I hear about a leader’s skills from their boss or their HR, it's that they don't adjust their communication for their audience. And yet those leaders genuinely believe that they do adjust for their audience. So who is right? Well, they're both correct of course. The presenter thinks they are adjusting but they don't really KNOW their audience. What about the audience themselves? What do they think? Sadly the audience don't have an opinion because they stopped paying attention and moved onto other, more exciting things like thinking about lunch or updating Facebook. To capture their attention and motivate them to act, you have to get to KNOW your audience If you want to capture the attention of your audience and take some sort of action as a result of your Communication , you need to get to KNOW your audience and present to them as if it were tailored exclusively and entirely just for them. Because you will have done just that. Below, I share how you get to KNOW your audience so that you capture their attention and motivate them to do the things that you want them to do. You can take it one step at a time But first, let me introduce you to a oft-practiced technique that is guaranteed to do the opposite of knowing and engaging your audience: The Ostrich Manoeuvre Politicians are especially good at this manoeuvre. Be sure to look down at your notes most of the time and read the speech prepared by some flunky in a monotone. Remember to look up at any random audience member and plaster a fake smile on your face. I am really an introverted person. Maybe you don't believe that because you've seen me run a workshop or speak at a conference. But when I first started out, I was terrified that I was going to look like an idiot, that I would forget my words, lose track and generally do a terrible job. So I adopted what I call the Ostrich Manoeveur, a technique that essentially guaranteed that I would successfully look like an idiot, forget my words, lose track and do a terrible job. The Ostrich Manoeuvre is a favourite of insincere politicians and leaders, frequently seen in after-dinner speeches and boardrooms. It is very easy 2 step process and it is guaranteed to make you look really bad. 1. First, please make sure that you stand behind a podium and place your written script on it. If there is no podium available, then turn your back to the audience and read your slides instead. 2. Step 2 is read your script, preferably in a monotone and rarely, if ever, make eye contact with your audience. This works brilliantly well to show your audience that you do not know your content well enough. That you don't practice because the audience doesn't deserve your effort. And it shows the audience that you could care less who they are, what matters to them or even if you are in the right venue. You will have seen someone using the Ostrich Manoeveur as long ago as yesterday. Perhaps you used it yourself. I understand, I much preferred to read a script than dare look at the audience and witness the devastating effect my appalling presentation was having on them. The better you KNOW your audience the better you can engage them If instead, you would like to engage your audience and make an impact then it will greatly help if you KNOW your audience, that is: be able to fully answer four key questions: 1. What and how much do the Know already? 2. What do they Need to know? 3. What is their Opinion? 4. And, Who are they? You'll notice that the keywords here make up the KNOW acronym: Know, Need, Opinion and Who. Easy to remember.

Coaching is About Change

Thursday Apr 29, 2021

“There are no such things as wrong turns, Only paths we never knew we were supposed to take.” Proverb AdvantEdge Coaching is about change “Change is the only constant” goes the refrain. There would be little need for coaching, training, mentoring, counselling or any development if people were happy to stay the same as they are now. Being coached by someone is all about being empowered, equipped and enabled to change. Coaching empowers people to find new jobs, work through transitions, enhance performance, build better relationships, make wise decisions, transform organisations and reach new spiritual levels. Coaching is about establishing a vision of the future and reaching goals. When coaching is successful, it’s about bringing and maintaining change. But coaching is more. We also help people determine what needs to stay the same in times of constant flux. We encourage our clients to stake out their core values, established strengths, basic beliefs, ethical principles and lasting relationships that remain firm and provide an anchor to their lives. Coaches are both change agents and constant agents. Coaches help people see what needs to change and what needs to remain constant.   Change is difficult!   Let’s start by recognising the obvious: change is difficult. Going on a journey with people through change can be challenging and exhausting. Bringing sustainable change is even harder. Most people resist change even when they see the need and believe it can occur. The owner of the first hotel I managed was just 40 when he suffered a heart attack. His lifestyle, booze, food and a lack of regular exercise were contributory factors but prior to the heart attack, there were no significant symptoms. Life was good, then BAM! He was on the floor in agony. He survived. His doctor told him bluntly that he had to change his diet, give up alcohol, smoking and take up regular exercise. Change or die! A stark choice. And one that many people face. Initially, my boss came out of hospital ready and eager to take this advice seriously and changed everything that was harming his health. It wasn’t easy for him, but he stuck with it and now enjoys a slim, healthy life retired and sailing around the Mediterranean. Yet, in the US alone, some 90% of heart bypass patients can’t change their lifestyles, even at the risk of dying. It’s not surprising then that changing people’s behaviour in business is a challenge.   How people face change   People respond to change typically in four different ways depending on their personalities and past experiences: - Innovators – who value change and often try to make it happen. - Embracers – who thrive on change and accept it with enthusiasm, sometimes without thinking too much about it. - Acceptors – who initially resist change but eventually go along with it because there is no alternative. - Resisters – who may not even notice the change, deliberately ignore it or be so overwhelmed that they push it out of their awareness. Some even deny any need for change and refuse to budge an inch. People usually lean towards one of these responses. There’s some excellent news, though: simply because you are reading this, you are likely to be an innovator or embracer. If you are reading this reluctantly, you’re an acceptor. And those who aren’t reading this well, they’re the resisters (but, of course, they won’t know that because they didn’t read it!). #joyatwork #trivia  

The Paradox of Potential

Monday Apr 26, 2021

On Becoming All That You Can Be I vividly remember my school Term Report from my Art teacher: “John shows no potential whatsoever for Art.” I knew that I wasn’t any good at Art, not in any conventional sense anyway, but this hurt. I was 11 years old. I put my aspirations of being the next Andy Warhol on hold and only dared take up cartooning at the tender age of 55 when I found a great teacher. Huh! Seems that I did have some potential after all… or was it the teacher who lacked potential? Potential as a noun means “latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.” As an adjective potential is: “having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.” It’s important to be clear because potential often gets confused with “Talent” and, mixed up with drive, ambition and confidence, and possibly worse, gets confused with high academic grades. Potential is much more than just knowledge or the ability to score well in exams. > ### Purpose > In this guide we’ll consider what are the components of potential so that we can distinguish between them and choose to develop those that will provide you the greatest chance of succeeding in your endeavours. > ### Process > I’ll introduce you to the components of potential so that you can #UnStuck those areas that are holding you back. > ### Payoff This will provide you a roadmap to UnStuck and develop your true potential to achieve your success in life and work. When I was growing up, like you, parents, teachers and other adults perpetuated a myth that if I did well in school that this would enable me to go to a good college or university and thus get a good job. “Doing well” in school meant getting ‘A’ Grades. Anything less, was not so good and would, inevitably, mean I was doomed for some sub-par career and less success. Personally, I wasn’t that bothered. I looked at all these adults with their ‘”successful” careers and saw how miserable they were - that wasn’t the type of “success” that I was after. I’d rather do something I enjoyed, found meaningful and was good enough to earn a decent living. These decades later and I see the myth perpetuates that good grades equals high potential. And competence and competency are often confused with confidence, drive and ambition and other qualities or capacities like confidence, connections and money are often deemed more important than abilities in determining if you are “High Potential”. The Components of Potential Your True Potential is much more than how much knowledge you have. Through our extensive research over the past 4 decades, we’ve identified six significant components of Potential that individually, and together, make a difference in your future success: KnowledgeWhat you know and ho much you know Skills and AbilitiesWhat you can do both technically (competence) and behaviourally (competency) Relationships (and connections)To whom you are connected, who you know, and who knows you. ResourcesWhat resources you have access to including money. Time, andHow well you manage your time and prioritise > #### Place Where you are in the world and what access you have to other places The importance other people place on each component determines how they perceive your true potential! There are other elements of who you are that do matter to some people that can play a critical role in their perception of your potential including your race, ethnicity, and nationality. Your gender, and your Religious affiliation. These may be prejudicial biases, however, they remain a real factor of how some people perceive others and their potential to perform and be successful. It’s not “What You Know or What You Do, its Who You Know!” I heard this first from my Godfather - who had been a Captain in the British Army. I’ve heard it many times since, and I’m sure that you’ve heard it many times. We hear it a lot because it rings true to our experience in life. It is a sad reality that there are a lot of leaders in all sectors of society who appear to lack the skills and abilities to lead or manage well. You’ve almost certainly had the pleasure of working for such an organisation. These individuals are often held out as examples of people with “high potential”, often because they managed to score very well in some school or university exams. More often because they are wealthy or connected to someone higher up in the organisation or related to someone important in society. For some, it’s because they are adept at the skill of “politicking” and choosing to build the relationships that will (and do) further their career. For others, they were simply at the right place at the right time. Is this fair? Not for anyone who hasn’t been blessed with being born into the right family in the right place with the access to those relationships, wealth and the best schools etc. But you can develop your potential in all of these areas. But the phrase isn’t quite correct: It’s not “What You Know or What You Do, OR Who You Know!” - it’s “Who Knows You!” Back in the day, it was the “Old Boys” network - if you were in, fantastic. If you were not, tough. And you might think that this is dead and buried (or should be) - not so fast young Padawan. It’s alive and well. I’ve sat in on many senior management meetings where an open position is being discussed and the question raised is rarely: “Who has the right knowledge and skills to be the best candidate for this position?” The question presented is along the lines: “Who do we know who…” If you want that position you need to be known (by the right people). If you want to be successful in that position - you will also need the knowledge, skills, abilities, resources, relationships, time and be at the right place. Before you embark on your Great Networking Goldrush It’s easier today than ever to become known - even instafamous. Though perhaps being known for being known isn't quite what we’re after - known in professional circles should be the ticket… In the early Noughties began the great networking rush. BNI had been founded by Ivan Misner back in the mid 80’s. Freemasonry began way back in 1717 but it was the launch of LinkedIn in 2003 that made networking accessible across the globe. 2004 saw the launch of FaceBook, 2006 heard the first tweet. Connections, followers or friends became king. However, having thousands of connections to virtual strangers is only useful if the right connections know you and, critically, remember you when that opportunity is presented. And more often than not, you’ve previously done something for those individuals. I call such people my “butlers” - as in the butler or cup-bearer in the story about Joseph in Genesis 40—41. I continue to be shocked when I hear from an old connection who's been out of contact for a long time busy with their successful career, ‘suddenly’ reaches out - asking for work or an introduction because they've lost their job. So here's a great tip, if you want others to help you when you may be in need, help them now while you can and keep in touch regularly. Walter Winchell: scandal master, on a life philosophy: “It pays to be nice to the people you meet on the way up, for they are the same people you meet on the way down.” Getting a job at HQ Many of my coaching clients over the years embarked on their coaching, in part, to prepare them for getting and keeping a prized role in their company headquarters. They already posses the technical knowledge, skills and abilities to get to here to their current level (they have a high TQ or Technical Quotient) - this is what got them to their current position. They often have some key MQ and LQ that helped to get them here. But to get there, they need something more. And in particular, they need to be known for what they are capable of doing now and in the future by the very people who will be determining that future. That is, they need the right people at HQ to know them and respect what they are capable of being, and to trust that they will look even better for backing this person, and that the organisation will benefit. In short, you need to be purposefully strategic in building and maintaining your relationships. The Paradox of Potential I've seen this in many organisations and governments. The “brightest and best” are identified by school or university grade score as part of the “High Potential” pool - there's some fanfare, a suite of training programs, perhaps MBAs are taken and the “HiPos” are promoted. Meanwhile, the non-high-potential morale has sunk, many have quit or actively seeking new positions, commitment has dropped and performance suffered. The HiPos, being (initially) highly driven (and very well paid), take this upon themselves and make up for the loss, working extra hard and many burning out. There follows a new initiative to regain the work-life balance and a big drive to retain High Potentials. The non-high-potentials (C grade average) meantime have found new roles in more forward thinking and egalitarian organisations - or founded a possible unicorn and look to hire good workers: People who can read well, memorise well and test well and follow process… that would be the “A” Students. The “B” Students end up in the government because the government don’t want free-thinking creative visionaries in what is essentially, an admin job. And they can’t afford the “A” students… Why “A” Students work for “C” Students and Why “B” Students work for the government wrote Robert T. Kiyosaki in his rich man's guide to education for parents. Potential is not (just) good grades! Nor is it (just) your skills and abilities. Now is it (just) relationships, nor (just) how well you manage your priorities and time, nor (just) what resources and money you have at your disposal. And nowadays, with virtual and hybrid working becoming normal’, your location matters a lot less. Your true potential are the latent qualities and abilities you have that can be developed for your future success. Your true potential is a simple case of knowing and aligning what you have now that can be developed, and what you want to be doing in your future success. Developing Your Potential Being purposefully strategic in building and maintaining your relationships is not the only area you need to focus attention. It is critical in this world, but all of it is moot if you lack the skills you need to be successful in your chosen future role. The first step is to know where you are now and where you want to be. We have some tools, assessments and techniques we use to help our clients and I’ll be sharing some of these with you in How to UnStuck Your True Potential #joyatwork #tales

Are you at Cause or Effect? Going Beyond Resilience and Well-being

Friday Apr 09, 2021

Most people, most of the time, allow life to happen to them. “Life is difficult” begins M. Scott Peck in the ‘70s classic “The Road Less Travelled”. What remains most surprising, is that, for many people, this is a revelation! If you are alive, and get out of bed today, there will be a challenge for you to face. Something will happen that you will either: Choose to do something about and take action, or Find that you have to do something about and react. And your choice at this point matters a great deal. Purpose In this guide we’ll consider how critical it is to make a good choice in response to the many varied challenges we face every day. How easily we can get trapped by “Effect” and the two enemies of our mind into a spiral of anxiety and fear or be at “Cause” for ourselves and our life. Process I’ll introduce you to the two cycles of Being at Cause, and Being at Effect. We’ll examine the two enemies of our mind and debunk some brain myths about emotion that will put you, and your brain, back in a sense of control. Then we’ll consider a couple of powerful Neuroscience hacks that you can employ immediately to choose to be at Cause. Payoff At your next challenge or obstacle you face today, use one or both hacks and begin to feel that locus or sense of control. This will immediately give you an extra flush of dopamine and serotonin which will make you feel great. More importantly, you'll know that you are not at the mercy of your emotions and on the road to victorious living. Your choice in the face of every challenge matters: In the first - you choose to take action knowing that there is (or will soon be) an obstacle or challenge that you will need to overcome. You may need to experiment and keep on approaching the obstacle until you get your desired result and celebrate your victory. All the while, you are learning how to better tackle future challenges. You have chosen to be at CAUSE for your life (this part of it, anyway) and your have adopted a growth mindset. In the second - you will confront the two enemies of the mind: “What if”, and/or “If only“ “What if” is your fear of the future. What if I’m wrong? What if I make a bad decision? What if I fail? “If only” is your regret of your past. If only you had paid attention the last time/at school/to your coach. If only you had more skills/money/connections/friends/lovers. Fear of the future means that you like to avoid obstacles just in case you fail (again). Regret of the past means that you adapt to go around the obstacle because you (believe that) you lack the resources necessary to succeed. Either way - your results will be less than you desire - so you’ll probably blame yourself or someone else, be disappointed and adopt a survival vision of life because life is indeed difficult and you are at EFFECT in your life. When we are at EFFECT, it’s easy to excuse our own choices. After all, history proves our point and we are at the mercy of our feelings, and everyone knows that our primal emotions are easily triggered. Only they’re not! Time to debunk some flawed theories about emotions Since Darwin in the 1860s theorised that our human brain evolved from lizards and MacLean’s triune brain in the 1960s - the popular theory is that our emotions are triggered in the “lizard” brain (from the outside world) and this determines our actions and choice. It may be popular and compelling, but it’s wrong, and neuroscientists have known this for decades. Our emotions aren’t “triggered” in our “Lizard" brain (nor the Limbic system!) Actually, our brains make predictions (constantly and continuously) about what is going to happen based upon our personal experience in and through life. These predictions, based on concepts constructed on the fly from internal sensing networks (our interoceptive network) and from our perceptions of what is happening outside (proprioception). The groundbreaking book “How Emotions are Made” by Lisa Feldman Barret, tells the detail of Constructed Emotions and is a must read for a complete understanding of this (it's also available on my favourite book site: Scribd.) In it, you'll also have the notion that there is a universal recognition of facial expressions with specific emotions blown away. This construction of our emotions does happen extremely quickly and we are most often unaware that we are in fact constructing emotions because it is beneath our conscious perception - but we can attune ourselves to better notice and thus interrupt any rapid response with deliberate thought and choice. Having turned the conception that emotions are triggered and not under your control on its head, let’s just turn you inside out whilst we’re here :-) Barret’s book provides the detailed neuroscience behind this but it’s best summarised in Malcolm Gladwell’s truly excellent: “Talking to Strangers” (if you haven’t had a chance yet, do get the audiobook - it sets a new standard for audio books.) as the “Friends Fallacy”. If you watch an episode of Friends with the sound off, you can easily deduce what's going on and how each character feels in the scene. The actors blatantly and with exageration display the “universal” emotions on their faces and bodies. Only there are no “universal” signs and many people deliberately hide their emotions (in real life). That is Darwin's theory and more importantly for anyone arrested by the police or FBI in the USA, Paul Ekman’s theory of universal expressions of emotion, are wrong. The next time you see someone frowning or curling their lip, don’t be too hasty to jump to conclusions about their feelings. What this means is that you (and I) need to choose how to respond to situations and other people. Heck we need to choose our reactions to what happens inside of ourself. We need some control. ### A Christian thought sidebar As a born again Christian and behavioural neuroscientist these new findings fascinated me. Interestingly, Lisa Feldman Barret is culturally Jewish but a self-proclaimed atheist and in parts of her book disdains the idea that we are created in God’s image with a spirit or soul, claiming that Darwin put paid to that idea with “the evolution of man”. Meantime, the research points out that our brains have not evolved from a primate or lizard as Darwin suggests. Fabulously though, the idea that emotions are constructed and that all our thinking can be brought under control (captive to the obedience of Christ 2 Co 10:5) implies that we do have free will. Whereas the disproven theories that our brain makes a decision based on emotional triggers BEFORE we are conscious of it seriously undermined the realisation of free will. The Book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom that shows us how to make better choices in life. As does Ecclesiastes and the oldest book in the Bible, Job. And Christian’s know that we can cast all our cares and anxiety on Him (1 Pet 5:7). It seems that neuroscience is slowly catching up with the truth of the Bible :-) How can I choose if I’m not in control of the situation! There are many things in life that you are unable to control. Everything outside of you! Everything inside of you is within your control. Sure there are some things that happen inside that at this moment you cannot control - for example, I had a massive heart attack on July 4th 2014 at 11:33 in the morning. I wasn’t able to control it at the time, that is true. “If only” I had taken action earlier to prevent it: never smoked that first cigarette, eaten healthy, kept fit, maintained weight, not eat fatty foods, avoided undue stress. Choices have consequences and bad choices tend to have bad consequences. Now I make better choices. You’re not in control of your boss’s mood when you need to spend more on a project, or delay an order, or miss the monthly target. But you can choose a different approach toward them that might work. You cannot control the storm clouds spoiling your wedding day but you can choose to have a tent on standby just in case. You may think that you cannot control your stress or anger in the moment, but you can. It may take practice and it may take a moment or two, but you can. What we need is a sense of control Psychologists refer to this as a problem of your Locus of Control. This is the belief that you, as opposed to external forces (beyond your influence) have control over events in your life. Being at Cause is having an Internal Locus of Control, whilst Being at Effect, is having an External Locus of Control. Become aware of how you tend to view situations and ask people who know you well. Two quick questions for you: Do you tend to blame everyone and everything else for every misfortune or do you tend to blame yourself? Do you think that everything good is because you are brilliant (and in control) or do you attribute success to others? Be especially aware if you think everything successful is because of you and every failure is someone else’s fault. Going Beyond Resilience and Well-Being Organisations and HR teams talk a lot about improving resilience and well-being these days. The enforced virtualisation of work in 2020 and the slow emergence of the hybrid workplace is costing a lot of mental stress. Resilience gives you the capacity to deal with ongoing stress, adapt efficiently to changing situations, cope with work and ‘bounce back’ from setbacks. When you are in a state of wellbeing at work, you’re able to develop your potential, be productive and creative, build positive relationships with others, and make meaningful contributions. Choosing to be at Cause is the inflection point of these critical abilities. When you choose to be at Cause, you are choosing to use your creativity to experiment with possible solutions to overcome obstacles or challenges, improving your personal wellbeing by learning each time from success and failure and, resiliently, trying an alternative solution until you achieve the desired results. To reinforce your choice, celebrate! Even a quick fist pump, and secret nod to yourself will give you an extra dopamine spike and that will help you consolidate your learning and memory of what works well and what doesn’t work so well - further enhancing your wellbeing and resilience. Choosing to be at Effect (and it is your choice!) is the moment you have decided that either your fear of the future or some regret you have in your past has already decided your future failure. Thus you avoid obstacles or adapt until you somehow get beyond them and achieve less than desired results. Repeat this enough and your resilience melts away and your wellbeing turns into sickness and chronic disorders. As I say - it’s your choice. And the choice you make matters a great deal. OK, so how do I do it? I’m going to share two super neuroscience based brain hacks that will give you the power to choose to be at Cause - if not every time, then most of the time. They are AdvantEdge Hack #2 - The Secret Power of the Pause, and AdvantEdge Hack #3 - Who’s Your Caddy? There are five steps and, with practice, the first 2 will take you about 4-5 seconds. Steps 3-5 perhaps 3 to 5 minutes. Step 1 is to become aware that you are facing a challenge or obstacle and reacting to it. You may say, John that’s obvious… well sometimes it isn’t. You’ve seen something, heard something, felt something, tasted something or smelt it. To do Step 2 you need Hack #2 - The Secret Power of the Pause. You’ll find the details of the hack in the link (and the neuroscience behind it. So pop over there and come back when you’re ready.) Step 2: Take ONE deep breath. As deep and long as time allows. Yes, your brain may well be ahead of you already. After all, it’s busy predicting what’s going to happen next and you are already adjusting your body budget for the predicted future - adrenaline to run or fight, a dose of cortisol, some cytokines to fight pathogens, increased heart rate. That’s all OK, because all of this activity needs energy and it needs more oxygen. Simultaneously, you are exerting a little more control of your brain’s choices and thinking about them. Step 3. Choose to be at Cause for your response (even if you choose to react and avoid the obstacle, you are choosing, though please do reflect on your choice and consider if maybe, perhaps, there might have been a better way. Which leads me to Hack #3 - Who's Your Caddy? Step 4. Follow that link and learn about this tremendous tool to improve your decision making. For now. Whether you chose to take action and overcome the challenge, or you chose to react and avoid or adapt, now is the time to branch back to Cause.Reflect on the situation, reflect on your choice, consider what happened from: Your own Point of View The POV of the other party (most challenges do involve another human.) A third party who is connected to the challenge, and A fourth - external, person you consider as your mentor, wise coach or just someone you respect and admire. Learn what they advise you to do (all in your own perceptual mind this!) Step 5. Rinse and repeat Pausing alone will change your life, by the way. And yes, this is a process that others call ‘mindfulness’. Do it often. Before long you will steadily shift to being more at Cause for your life and choices and other people will begin to take notice. They may even ask you what happened to you. Teach them this and one day the world will be filled with people who take responsibility and accountability for their lives and the lives of those around them and the world will be a much better place to be living that life. You’re on your way to #JOYATWORK


Leadership AdvantEdge: Hacking The Art and Neuroscience of Expert Leadership

The Leadership AdvantEdge isn't some magic pill to instant success, but we're hacking the art and neuroscience of expert leadership so that you can UnStuck your true potential in life and work, UnLock you performance and UnLeash your power.

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