Our thinking

Your challenge

Your organisation will continue to experience the forces of change. The impact from increasing competition, new technology, globalisation, economic uncertainty and changing government policy will not abate.

You expect your leaders to consistently deliver results throughout such ambiguous, complex and challenging times.

But do you have the leaders with the potential to succeed in this environment? Can you tell your technocrats from your change leaders?

High potential leaders:

  • deal with ambiguity, uncertainty and changing situations
  • deliver results through others while maintaining relationships
  • work under pressure with little direction
  • learn quickly and make sound decisions with minimal information
  • overcome challenges and achieve tough goals

We do more than simply describe what high potential leaders look like. We can predict how your leadership talent will perform in difficult, challenging or stressful roles.

We differentiate high potential leaders from your current high performers. This allows you to better understand:

  1. the capacity of your leaders to take on more challenging assignments, and
  2. targeted development strategies to accelerate their readiness for such challenges


Neuroscience and leadership

Our ability to accurately and reliably predict leadership performance comes from applying the science of the brain to the challenges of leading in a complex environment.

Our ground-breaking research discovered that difficult, challenging or stressful roles have a major impact on the cognitive and emotional processes that influence leadership behaviour.  This research explains how mental capacity and negative emotions interact to influence performance when leaders face difficult, challenging or stressful tasks.  This interaction leads to avoidance behaviour for leaders experiencing high state anxiety, and abusive behaviour for leaders experiencing high state anger or fear.

High cognitive load tasks draw heavily on mental capacity and as this capacity decreases threat sensitive leaders tend to focus more on their negative thoughts.  These might include thoughts associated with:

  1. Punishment (e.g., ‘fear of failure’) leading to anxiety and overly cautious, risk averse behaviour such as procrastination or delayed decision-making, or
  2. Delayed or withdrawn rewards (e.g., ‘fear of missing out’) leading to fear, frustration or anger and rash, ill-considered impulsive behaviour.

These thoughts act to increase the intensity of negative emotions, further taxing mental capacity leaving less available for problem-solving while increasing the likelihood of errors.  When errors eventually occur, emotions continue to escalate, further taxing working mental capacity while contributing to even more errors and stronger negative emotions (see below).

Emotion-Narrowed Attention

Developing leadership talent

Redesign my Brain: Neuroplasticity or Practice Effect?

ABC television recently caught the imagination of 865,000 viewers with the first of a three-part series called Redesign My Brain with Todd Sampson. Viewers learnt that Todd’s remarkable performance improvement, in tasks ranging from ‘attentional blink’ to juggling, could be attributed to ‘neuroplasticity’ …

Assessing leadership potential

Are you selecting average leaders?

What’s more important to know when selecting someone for a demanding leadership role?

High potential leaders

Fear – the change leader’s friend or foe?

I was recently invited to deliver the keynote address at the Public Sector Change and Transformation Forum in Singapore. The theme was leading organisation change and I spoke about neuroscience and effective change leaders …

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