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Brain Hacks 4 Leadership

Jul 18, 2018

Richard Boyatzis, Ph.D.

Special Guest:  Richard E. Boyatzis, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor, Departments of Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Cognitive Science and H.R. Horvitz Chair of Family Business, Case Western Reserve University

  • Creator of Intentional Change Theory (ICT)
  • Most Influential International Thinker, HR Magazine (2014)
  • Author of more than 175 articles and 7 books, including Primal Leadership and Resonant Leadership

Highlights from the Podcast:

A recent study on motivation and retention, involving 1,800 MBA grads two years into their work, found that salary & benefits were the 7th reason they stayed at their job.  The first 6 all had to do with novelty and learning!  Development is very important if you want people to use their talent and to stay.   People are not looking at their job as a transaction anymore.  Training is not typically effective, especially in high power distance cultures, so coaching is the answer.

Richard defines coaching as helping other people move toward their ideal self or personal vision.  Coaching in business has been around since the 60’s (not a new fad as some believe)  – and it is all about helping.  Coaching is desired….but not always effective!  His personal studies have shown that 70% - 80% of managers are not adding value in this space…..and that includes CEOs.  The Coaching Research Lab at Case Western Reserve focuses on these 3 coaching client outcomes – (1) the person articulates or reframes their personal vision (2) helping someone’s behavior change in the way they want to and (3) helping them build better relationships with their coach and other people so they can continue to grow, develop and innovate.  If you want to know more about the research they are doing, follow this link:

Neuroimaging studies are showing how important personal visioning is because when someone dreams, not set goals, it activates the default mode network.  It dramatically activates the visual lateral cortex, which is the part of the brain engaged when you are imagining things.  These studies helped show us that problem solving coaching doesn’t work if you start with that and don’t get people to think about their personal vision first.  If you only focus on solving a problem, you will not get behavior change. Understanding your personal vision is critical to making change last.  In the Intentional Change Theory he developed, he said to sustain desired change – you have to want to change – not do it for someone else or because you think you should.   It starts with you – you have to really want to change.

We are dismally poor in knowing how we are coming across to others – this is where a coach can help a lot.  In addition, a coach can help you set your personal vision – identifying your ideal self by pulling out your dreams.  I asked Richard what his dream was and he said his purpose is to help liberate people in terms of their dreams, individually or collectively – to help them find their shared vision in a way that energizes them.

What is one thing you can do today?  People in organizations spend time thinking about being more effective….and that is appropriate, but you shouldn’t think about it so much that you are not thinking about how to adapt and innovate.  These two tasks take place in different parts of the brain.  Learning to have more balance / more flexibility is one thing that is key.  The more narrow you are, the worse off you are.  How do you become less narrow and more innovative?  Talk to people who care about you, who have comparable interests and who see the world differently from you to get the diversity you need.  Build relationships that have more caring in them because that is what is going to last.   Executives don’t do the work, their job is to inspire others to do the work and you can’t inspire others unless you are inspired yourself and care about other people.

For a free copy of Richard and his team’s latest paper on antagonistic neural networks and leadership in Frontiers:

Your Host:  Jill Windelspecht, President of Talent Specialists Consulting, is an executive coach, speaker and consultant who works with leaders like you, across the globe, to grow themselves, their team and their organization.  It is all about People….Science….Purpose.  Dedicated to helping people, leveraging neuroscience and social science to help leaders and organizations find their purpose.,