Social, Sleep and Learning: Update from the 2013 NeuroLeadership Summit

Herrmann International’s CEO Ann Herrman-Nehdi filed a video report from this year’s NeuroLeadership Summit, where she was also a presenter.

Some highlights:

Matt Lieberman’s new book “Social” explores the impact of the social brain on everything we do. Key lessons for learning and development professionals:

  • When someone is learning to teach versus learning to memorize, it engages the brain in a way that is much more effective in terms of long-term retention. Consider this when designing learning experiences.
  • The discussion about the tension between the analytical brain and the social brain is substantiated by our HBDI® data. It’s rare to see both in play, and important for us to understand how to help leaders activate the social part of who they are.

Jessica Payne’s research on leadership stamina reinforces how important sleep is. If you feel sleep deprived, get 20 minutes more a day – go to bed earlier, sleep later or take a power nap if necessary to improve what you can get out of your brain.

Tony Bingham, President of ASTD, says that 70% of learning in today’s organizations is informal. What are you doing to build in more tools and opportunities for informal learning?

Watch the video to hear Ann’s full report.

Developing Managers? Start With Their Thinking.

“Agility” has become one of the hot buzzwords of the workplace today. As we settle in to a reality of rapid changes, continual uncertainty and new circumstances that have very little precedent and no clear-cut answers, everyone is feeling the pressure to adapt, to flex, to shift on a dime.

In many organizations, it’s the managers and emerging leaders who are on the front lines of this pressure. As Tom Davenport of Towers Watson put it, “Creating a resilient workplace that can deal with trauma and come out engaged on the other end is not a senior executive’s role. It’s a line manager’s job.”

Ultimately, managers are the ones responsible for bridging strategy and performance, for taking the organization from Point A to Point B faster and more effectively, even when it seems as though there’s always too much work and never enough time or resources to get it done.

A recent Forbes article describes agile leaders as those who can “handle any curve ball thrown their way. Leading through this new business environment requires the capability to sense and respond to changes in the business environment with actions that are focused, fast and flexible.”

The question is, are your managers up to the task? Between putting out fires and managing the daily workflow, getting people to bring their best thinking to work while optimizing communication time and managing relationships up, down and across the company, it takes a whole new level of intensity and skill to keep up.

Thinking is the catalyst for greater manager agility.

In essence, where agile managers outshine all the others is in their ability to successfully deconstruct today’s complexities to take advantage of the right resources for the job, and by doing so, get better results faster.

Our research has shown that the way people prefer to think impacts how they approach interactions, decisions, problems and every other aspect of work and management. By understanding and then optimizing their thinking for the situation, managers can increase their agility and overall effectiveness exponentially across the board.

Here are just a few questions to consider as you look at your management development activities in the context of building thinking agility.

  •  Do your managers know how to stretch beyond their thinking preferences when necessary to execute where you need to go?
  • Do they know how to leverage their own brainpower and the brainpower around them in the most efficient, optimal ways?
  • Do they understand how to best manage and allocate the thinking resources on a project or initiative?
  • Do they know how to optimize and shorten communication time, regardless of whom they are interacting with?
  • Can they quickly adapt to the communication needs of others?
  • Much of management’s focus in the past has been on individuals, but effective collaboration is becoming more important for better, faster and more innovative results. Do your managers know how to encourage collaboration, bring together the best cognitive resources for the task at hand, and participate in a collaborative way to make sure objectives are achieved?

To get the “Agile Leader’s Toolbox: 4 Key Areas to Increase Agility Through Better Thinking,” download our new white paper, Navigating in an Unpredictable and Complex World: Why Thinking Agility is Critical to a Manager’s Success.

What about you? Have you seen a need for greater agility in your own role? Is it impacting the way you approach the job?


Top Young Talent Looking for a Good Mentor

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How will organizations succeed in attracting the next brightest minds? By paying attention to their development.

That’s the conclusion of a recent Business Insider article, which references the results of recent global surveys by PricewaterhouseCoopers, explaining that Generation Y employees consider training and development to be a more important benefit than cash bonuses.

PwC’s Millenials Survey also found that 98% of millenials believe having a strong mentor is critical for their development.

It’s no surprise, then, that there has been a resurgence of interest in workplace mentoring programs recently. But it’s not as simple as setting up a mentoring program. Whether or not a mentor pair is successful is highly dependant on the effectiveness of the mentor-mentee match.

A great example is the work that HBDI® Certified Practitioner Lynne Krause has done in creating mentor pairs based on HBDI® Profile data.

Through her work with the US Naval Command and others, Lynne found that matching mentors and mentees with similar thinking preferences led to better communications, faster bonding and increased trust. The result is longer lasting and more mutually beneficial mentoring relationships.

In the US Naval Command project (which is described in this case study), matching mentors and mentees based on their thinking preferences led to a 99% success rate in terms of the pair “sticking,” a huge improvement over the previous success rate of just 50%.

Lynne explained how it works in a recent THINC™ Webinar, Match Point: Creating Mentor Pairs That Go The Distance. If you missed it, you can still view the recorded webinar to learn some of the tools and methods she uses to build successful mentoring, coaching and development programs with a foundation in Whole Brain® Thinking and the HBDI® assessment.

Looking for more on Generation Y? Check out these on-demand webinars:

 Access our full library of recorded THINC™ Webinars.

Learnings From The Leadership Challenge Forum Conference

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Orin Salas, VP of Sales for Herrmann International, checked in from The Leadership Challenge (TLC) Forum in Chicago.

 175 people attended The Leadership Challenge (TLC) Forum Conference this year, with participants from across the US, Canada, the UK and Asia. It was a good, enthusiastic group of people who are certified in the TLC methodology or are users of the materials.

On Thursday morning, Ann Herrrmann-Nehdi and I attended several sessions including the kick-off by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, the leaders of TLC. There were several breakout sessions featuring companies using TLC methodology. 

The afternoon started with the Chicago Comedy Company leading us through a number of improvisational activities in a session entitled, “The Improvisational Leader.” They did a good job of connecting the activities back to the business challenges leaders face.

And with that as an introduction, Ann took the stage for the final presentation of the day, her keynote, “It’s Not Left Brain or Right Brain, It’s Whole Brain®.”

The group took a few minutes to warm up, but less than 10 minutes into her presentation, Ann had full participation. She led them through some background information about the brain, connected thinking preferences to leadership competencies, and reviewed the Whole Brain® Model, exploring how Whole Brain® Thinking is becoming even more critical for leadership success in today’s business environment. As always, the participants were wowed by the handouts and the tools they received.

Friday began with focus groups discussing the future of leadership and development. The groups touched on topics such as virtual leadership, technology, technology etiquette, generational challenges and the “size” of learning. This was followed by an interesting presentation on emotional quotient (EQ) and emotional intelligence. 

All in all, it was a learning-filled two days in Chicago with plenty of opportunity for best practice sharing and knowledge exchange about how to develop leaders in an increasingly complex world.

For other participants’ take on the event, you can search the Twitter hashtag #TLCForum11 and read the live updates at @TLCTalk.

High-Performing Employees Are Leaving

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Are Your Managers Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?

The latest survey from Right Management reveals that three out of four organizations lost high-performing employees they did not want to lose during the past year.

 Good people will find good opportunities, even in a slow job market. The question is, what’s making them leave?

While many factors can come into play, study after study shows that one of the main reasons people leave a job is their boss. If your managers aren’t able to communicate effectively and build connections with employees, they’re helping push those top performers out the door. 

 A few questions to consider:

  • What are you doing to avoid being part of the 75% of companies that have lost top talent in the past year?
  • How are you taking care of your top people?
  • Do your managers communicate effectively with each of their direct reports? Do they have the tools and skills to engage employees in a meaningful way?
  • How are you equipping people to be better leaders and managers?

A number of leading organizations are using the Whole Brain® system to give managers an easy-to-apply, practical framework for understanding what different employees pay attention to and how they prefer to think and approach their work. Whole Brain® Thinking skills not only help managers better communicate with their employees, but they also ensure the organization is fully capitalizing on the potential of high performers.

And when top talent is engaged and able to contribute, they’re more likely to stick around than take up the next offer from the competition.

Check out our case studies to see how organizations like Cirque du Soleil, IBM, Integ and Cookie Time are making it work for them.

Learning and Development Trends from ASTD

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The Herrmann International team checked in from the floor of the Expo Hall at the 2011 ASTD International Conference & Expo in Orlando last month, giving us a glimpse of some of the hot topics they were hearing about during the show. Hear what they had to say.

As you look back on it now, what were your biggest take-aways from ASTD this year?

We’re heard from a few of you on Twitter and through your own blog posts (such as Jack Massa’s Top 3 Things I Learned at ASTD ICE 2011). If you haven’t already done so, we invite you to share your key learnings in the comments.

 What were your impressions of this year’s show?
 What were the top take-aways?
 What topics do you want to hear about next year?

Four Secrets of the Learning Brain – ASTD Video Available

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At the 2010 ASTD Conference & Exposition, Ann Herrmann-Nehdi’s session, “Four Secrets of the Learning Brain,” received a 98% participant satisfaction rate. You can now preview and purchase the mp3 or audio file of this popular session by visiting the ASTD Live Learning Center.

Discover how to align training design, e-learning, activities, tasks and responsibilities with multiple thinking models – thereby improving the impact of your learning design.

In this information-packed, engaging presentation, Ann draws on decades of research on the brain and learning to show you how to build a performance-based program that gets the results you need, meeting the requirements for your organization to remain competitive.

You’ll take away a practical set of tools you can apply immediately to leverage your talent’s brainpower, and you’ll learn how to design and implement training using a proven Whole Brain® approach.

Head over to the ASTD Live Learning Center for full details:

Four Secrets of the Learning Brain
ASTD 2010 International Conference & Exposition
Speaker: Ann Herrmann-Nehdi
Program Code: 214158