Michael Nicholas | Vistage UK
Speaker Bio

Michael Nicholas

Michael Nicholas is a public speaker, coach, corporate trainer and author. He has spent his whole career either as a leader, or in helping other leaders to transform their impact, influence, creativity and adaptability. His work centres on the core themes of Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence and Employee Engagement.

Michael’s workshops will take you on a journey of mini discoveries and ‘Aha’ moments, stimulating insights that are specifically tailored to the needs of your own business. He constantly challenges himself and others to question conventional wisdom and to revolutionize thinking and behaviour: it’s thought leadership at its best… innovative and progressive whilst still robustly practical.

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His results-oriented ideas grounded in real-world know-how gained from over 30 years’ relevant experience. This has included several senior business positions, active service as a military officer, and the rigorous scientific training required to become a chartered engineer.

Most importantly, Michael has a proven ability to convey what he’s learnt to others, and he knows how to challenge people in a way that leads them to make new choices. The result for those he works with is high quality, lasting change and sustainable improvements in results.

Michael is the author of three books, the latest being The Little Black Book of Decision Making, published by Capstone Publishing in July ’17. In it, he applies his deep understanding of emotional intelligence to explain why emotions influence every decision we make, how to make that work in our favour, and how we can deliberately nurture critical decision-making capabilities such as intuition, tenacity, openness and creativity.

Vistage Speaker Awards:

Best Newcomer 2015

Out Performer 2015

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My programmes
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Decision Making in Complexity and Uncertainty... The Fundamentals

This session will help participants to ensure that they can continue to make great decisions even as the complexity and ambiguity of their operating environment increases.

Read more

 

Decision Making in Complexity and Uncertainty… The Fundamentals

Overview:

As the trend towards greater business complexity continues, so the drive to capture ever-more information to support decision processes and the development of best practice is intensifying. Today, there’s a dizzying amount of data at our disposal to inform decisions, and the computing power to crunch it, but this has created a false sense of security.

With ongoing volatility and uncertainty now being the norm, by the time data has been sufficiently refined and understood, the ‘best practice’ it defines will already have become past practice. Even the use of historical data to extrapolate for future projections is becoming increasingly risky. So, we have a new type of decision-making challenge: businesses must constantly renew their models if they are to remain competitive, but traditional planning methods won’t show the way forward.

This workshop addresses two fundamental aspects of how leaders must radically change their approach to their decision making to cater for this new environment. Firstly, it examines how the increasing complexity, ambiguity and volatility businesses face today can be handled effectively, and secondly, it describes how to steer a course between two common, yet highly contradictory and incomplete, sets of advice: that data-based, structured and rational processes are essential to effective decision making, and the opposing viewpoint which insists that well-developed intuition is the key. This will show that decision making today requires that we are able to balance these two mental capabilities, so that the strengths of each can be maximised.

Outcomes:

This session will help participants to ensure that they can continue to make great decisions even as the complexity and ambiguity of their operating environment increases.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Know why improving decision making is more of a cognitive than a process challenge.
  • Recognise the implications of increasing complexity and pace of change.
  • Understand how uncertainty impacts the brain and why this can make decision making difficult.
  • Know how to make more consistent and appropriate decisions by balancing the rational and intuitive capabilities of their brain.
  • Be introduced to the root cause of decision-making biases.
  • Be able to recognise the times when strong leadership is required.

Updated January 2019.

Debiasing Decision Making from the Ground Up

Most important decisions involve three elements: data gathering and analysis; the injection of insight, intuition and judgement; and the decision process itself.

Read more

 

Debiasing Decision Making from the Ground Up

Overview:

Most important decisions involve three elements: data gathering and analysis; the injection of insight, intuition and judgement; and the decision process itself. There is one problem, however, that affects all three of these areas – the more research that is done looking into the workings of the mind, the more we discover how deeply the unconscious is involved in every decision we make. As a result, biases caused by unconscious factors are widespread and unavoidable. They introduce limiting assumptions, restrict our perspectives, reduce creativity and create errors that can be very difficult to identify precisely because their root cause is unconscious.

The more that complexity, ambiguity and the pace of change increase, the more urgent it becomes to find ways to debias all three areas of business decision making. However, being unconscious, biases don’t tend to reduce purely through education about them, because learning takes place in a different part of the brain to that where the problem originates. Furthermore, the stress associated with unpredictable change only adds to the challenge of making changes at unconscious levels.

The more that complexity, ambiguity and the pace of change increase, the more urgent it becomes to find ways to debias all three areas of business decision making. However, being unconscious, biases don’t tend to reduce purely through education about them, because learning takes place in a different part of the brain to that where the problem originates. Furthermore, the stress associated with unpredictable change only adds to the challenge of making changes at unconscious levels.

Outcomes:

It is a game changer when leaders are able to take better account of, and protect against, subconscious bias across all three of the elements of decision making. To enable this, by the end of this session participants will:

  • Know how to counter, through a series of practical steps, some of most powerful mental biases.
  • Understand why overconfidence in our rationality harms decision making and learn instead to take account of and work with their emotions, rather than seeking to ignore them.
  • Be able to model how the mind creates its sense of “reality”, mainly at unconscious levels, and understand why this makes biases inevitable.
  • Know how even the best decision-making processes can be distorted by bias.
  • Know why the common understanding about the relationship between stress and performance is (almost) completely wrong.
  • Appreciate why resilience – the ability to handle stressors effectively – is so critical to decision making and have some basic principles for improving it.

Updated January 2019.

Developing Self-Awareness to Enable Great Judgement

This workshop examines the changes in self-awareness that take place as the mind becomes more cognitively advanced, giving a clear route-map by which it may be developed.

Read more

 

Developing Self-Awareness to Enable Great Judgement

Overview:

The average expert is “not much better at predicting the future than a dart-throwing chimpanzee”. That’s the provocative conclusion of Professor Philip Tetlock after he had conducted the largest study ever into the accuracy of expert predictions. Many of the experts involved did worse than if they had made random guesses! Given that decisions always relate to the future, and almost always rely on an assessment of what will happen next, this is a huge issue for every leader.

Unfortunately, this issue is barely recognised, for three primary reasons: there’s a widespread misconception that our ideas and opinions are the result of years of rational, objective analysis, which leads to the false comfort that they are robust; we have considerable discomfort with uncertainty; and we to dislike discovering ourselves to be wrong. Consequently, leaders routinely rely on predictions when making decisions without recognising the likelihood this will introduce errors. To make it worse, the probability and magnitude of errors becomes ever greater as complexity increases.

Solving this problem requires that we change our relationship with uncertainty. Research in leadership and psychology has identified one underlying, learned ability, or ‘meta-ability’, that can play an important role enabling this shift and also lead to improvements in many other capabilities: self-awareness. It underpins our ability to regulate our own emotions, our capacity for thoughtful inquiry, our openness to new ideas and how well we are able to appreciate and understand others. As such, developing self-awareness is an automatic enabler to more reliable, considered, flexible and adaptive decision making.

Outcomes:

This workshop examines the changes in self-awareness that take place as the mind becomes more cognitively advanced, giving a clear route-map by which it may be developed. Armed with this understanding, participants will be equipped to transform this critical faculty, enabling them to significantly improve their decision making. They will:

  • Understand the critical importance of humility, why it can’t be faked, and how more of it can be developed:
    • A true sense of one’s own skills and character can only arise from humility – ego is a barrier.
    • In particular, effective decision making requires intellectual humility.
  • Be able to reduce reactivity and increase responsiveness, particularly under stress, and be equipped with some simple techniques to empower this change.
  • Know where to focus in order to profoundly change their relationship with uncertainty, such that they can remain objective and effective in volatile, fast-paced and unpredictable environments.
  • Understand why self-awareness is inseparably linked to performance via both their own creativity and adaptability, and also their ability to develop others.
  • Know how to mimic the defining characteristic of the small group of experts that are much better than average at predicting the future.
  • Be armed with the most effective way to improve their ability to handle complexity and ambiguity.

Updated January 2019.

Decision Making in Teams – Getting to Grips with Diversity

This workshop examines why it essential – and so difficult – to establish and maintain the rare combination of cognitive diversity and psychological safety needed to create high performing teams.

Read more

 

Decision Making in Teams – Getting to Grips with Diversity

Overview:

Businesses routinely structure people into teams to make decisions. Studies, however, consistently and convincingly demonstrate that individuals outperform groups or teams most of the time. Relational issues, for example, mean that:

  • Groups are much more likely to close down possibilities than to open them up.
  • While diversity is important to group decision making, it also tends to increase conflict, so the overall result is more often to make things worse, not better.
  • Best practice rapidly tends to become ‘group think’, leading to ‘conventional wisdom’ that blocks the development of new ideas and perspectives.

There are many paradoxes involved. Even the generally accepted belief about the importance of collaboration is incomplete: just as too much conflict wrecks achievement, when relationships get too comfortable, teams never perform at their best. Being happy working together, it turns out, can be very bad for innovation. Nevertheless, a few teams do succeed in creating the conditions necessary to far outperform even the best individuals, and they are worth studying. They prove that the greatest potential for breakthroughs exists when people work as a team—but it very rarely happens unless the environment is just right.

The best teams demonstrate the need for dynamic tension amongst their members – stimulating and challenging interactions that result from the diverse thinking of interesting combinations of people. However, the interpersonal differences that are essential to creating tension can also produce fear and conflict, and when that happens, no one wins. So, in parallel with maintaining diversity, an environment must be crafted within which people feel safe: unafraid to share their ideas, willing to challenge, and welcoming of being challenged.

Outcomes:

This workshop examines why it essential – and so difficult – to establish and maintain the rare combination of cognitive diversity and psychological safety needed to create high performing teams. By the end of this session participants will recognise and understand why mastering the paradoxes is essential and know how to create a culture within which this is possible. We will explore:

  • Several of the most important paradoxical requirements, such as:
    • Having tolerance for failure while being completely intolerant of incompetence.
    • Collaborating while continuing to demand individual accountability.
    • Being willing to experiment while maintaining high discipline.
    • Feeling safe while people are brutally candid.
  • The value of provocation – how the thinking of a group shifts when they know they will be challenged.
  • The essential contribution of differing perspectives – the need to seek “culture add” rather than culture fit when building the team.
  • Why even seemingly terrible ideas can play a vital role in improving final solutions.
  • How inter-reactivity between individuals can rapidly lead to breakdowns in communications.
  • The need for just the right amount of tension within a team, why leaders must ensure that tension does not get personal, and how this might be achieved.
  • Why a goal that the team is aligned behind can be a game-changer.
  • The small set of critical values which support the development of high performing teams.

Updated January 2019.

The Power of Attention to Transform Decision Making

This workshop will examine the science behind the idea that learning to pay deliberate attention may be the most valuable skill we can develop, explaining why it underpins and maximises not just our capacity for creative decision-making, but also any other form of adaptive learning.

Read more

 

The Power of Attention to Transform Decision Making

Overview:

Meeting the increasing challenges of our ever more complex and demanding external environment requires decision making capabilities that go far beyond those that were sufficient just a few years ago. Leaders will only cope by developing inner resources that are sufficiently evolved to cope effectively with the outer challenges. This involves some incredibly difficult elements, such as:

  • Overcoming feelings of attachment to familiar ideas and concepts.
  • Reducing our tendency to routinely overlook highly relevant, easily accessible, and readily perceivable information.
  • Noticing how emotions may be influencing our thinking.
  • Becoming overly focused on things we are already familiar with.
  • Accessing deeper levels of intuition and creativity.

There is a single solution that can enable improvements in all of these areas (and beyond), all at the same time. If we can learn to direct our attention in an intentional way, it promotes many of the qualities of mindset required for great decision making. Tom Davenport, former director of Accenture Institute of Strategic Change, summarised the power and importance of this approach when he suggested that, “Understanding and managing attention is now the single most important determinant of business success”.

The power of attention derives from the fact that, just as our muscles can be developed with strength training, the brain responds powerfully to focused and deliberate stimulation. What we pay attention to literally changes the structure and function of our brains, and in very predictable ways.

Outcomes:

This workshop will examine the science behind the idea that learning to pay deliberate attention may be the most valuable skill we can develop, explaining why it underpins and maximises not just our capacity for creative decision-making, but also any other form of adaptive learning. By the end of this session participants will:

  • Understand why deliberate mental practice can be guaranteed to improve decision making.
  • Know why we tend to adopt a completely different mindset when making decisions for others, and how to capitalise on the many instructive lessons this offers when deciding for ourselves.
  • Know how to make their brain more powerful, responsive, efficient and productive.
  • Be able to reduce the harmful effects of the ego.
  • Be able to increase their emotional balance, empathy, creativity, concentration, comfort with ambiguity and happiness.
  • Be equipped with some simple practices by which intentional attention can be developed.

Updated January 2019.

Leading with Engagement in Mind

This session will help participants to achieve the goal of raising levels of engagement by empowering them to direct their efforts more productively.

Read more

Leading with Engagement in Mind

How to Cultivate a High-Performance Culture of Commitment, Creativity and Trust.

Overview:

Research indicates that an engaged and committed workforce, where employees willingly give their best, is associated with numerous beneficial outcomes, such as better organisational performance and lower turnover. Engagement and productivity are directly linked. So what does it take to achieve this? How can you engage others to maximise results: theirs and your own? How important is trust, and how can it be cultivated? And why, when most of us can so easily recognise a great leader, is excellence in this area so rare?

The challenge in seeking to achieve high levels of employee engagement is that traditional command and control hierarchies, whilst offering simplicity of decision-making and clarity of organisation, lack adaptability, creativity and speed. Worse, they tend to foster “obedience” rather than the attitudes required to maximise productivity and competitiveness. Instead, it is necessary to build an environment within which employees feel committed to superior job performance, and this depends on the creation of an empowering emotional relationship: a “psychological contract” between employer and employees, or leaders and followers.

Outline:

To help participants improve engagement, the workshop explores the nature of the relationships that leaders must create, particularly the factors that determine how they are viewed by others and why is is necessary to become less transactional and more relational in interpersonal interactions. It addresses the most important factors affecting leadership success, examines the cultural conditions needed for a business to flourish, and uncovers why this can only be achieved by leaders with strong inner qualities.

Outcomes:

This session will help participants to achieve the goal of raising levels of engagement by empowering them to direct their efforts more productively. It does this by providing an improved understanding of what lies at the heart of other people’s decisions about how much energy and commitment they bring to work. It will:

  • Offer a simplified model of leadership, the clarity of which helps to accelerate progress in this area.
  • Provide a clear understanding of why the ability to establish trusting relationships is a critical leadership capability for the modern age, and how to achieve it.
  • Demonstrate that the successful delivery of tasks, whilst essential, is insufficient for great leadership and enable recognition of what else must be mastered in order to excel.
  • Explore how social perceptions are formed, individually and at group level, enabling engagement to be established more effectively.

Please note: this workshop replaces Emotional Intelligence, this is not a follow on session and not suitable if you have already seen Michael's Emotional Intelligence session.

Decision Making in Complexity and Uncertainty... The Fundamentals

This session will help participants to ensure that they can continue to make great decisions even as the complexity and ambiguity of their operating environment increases.

Read more

 

Decision Making in Complexity and Uncertainty… The Fundamentals

Overview:

As the trend towards greater business complexity continues, so the drive to capture ever-more information to support decision processes and the development of best practice is intensifying. Today, there’s a dizzying amount of data at our disposal to inform decisions, and the computing power to crunch it, but this has created a false sense of security.

With ongoing volatility and uncertainty now being the norm, by the time data has been sufficiently refined and understood, the ‘best practice’ it defines will already have become past practice. Even the use of historical data to extrapolate for future projections is becoming increasingly risky. So, we have a new type of decision-making challenge: businesses must constantly renew their models if they are to remain competitive, but traditional planning methods won’t show the way forward.

This workshop addresses two fundamental aspects of how leaders must radically change their approach to their decision making to cater for this new environment. Firstly, it examines how the increasing complexity, ambiguity and volatility businesses face today can be handled effectively, and secondly, it describes how to steer a course between two common, yet highly contradictory and incomplete, sets of advice: that data-based, structured and rational processes are essential to effective decision making, and the opposing viewpoint which insists that well-developed intuition is the key. This will show that decision making today requires that we are able to balance these two mental capabilities, so that the strengths of each can be maximised.

Outcomes:

This session will help participants to ensure that they can continue to make great decisions even as the complexity and ambiguity of their operating environment increases.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Know why improving decision making is more of a cognitive than a process challenge.
  • Recognise the implications of increasing complexity and pace of change.
  • Understand how uncertainty impacts the brain and why this can make decision making difficult.
  • Know how to make more consistent and appropriate decisions by balancing the rational and intuitive capabilities of their brain.
  • Be introduced to the root cause of decision-making biases.
  • Be able to recognise the times when strong leadership is required.

Updated January 2019.

Debiasing Decision Making from the Ground Up

Most important decisions involve three elements: data gathering and analysis; the injection of insight, intuition and judgement; and the decision process itself.

Read more

 

Debiasing Decision Making from the Ground Up

Overview:

Most important decisions involve three elements: data gathering and analysis; the injection of insight, intuition and judgement; and the decision process itself. There is one problem, however, that affects all three of these areas – the more research that is done looking into the workings of the mind, the more we discover how deeply the unconscious is involved in every decision we make. As a result, biases caused by unconscious factors are widespread and unavoidable. They introduce limiting assumptions, restrict our perspectives, reduce creativity and create errors that can be very difficult to identify precisely because their root cause is unconscious.

The more that complexity, ambiguity and the pace of change increase, the more urgent it becomes to find ways to debias all three areas of business decision making. However, being unconscious, biases don’t tend to reduce purely through education about them, because learning takes place in a different part of the brain to that where the problem originates. Furthermore, the stress associated with unpredictable change only adds to the challenge of making changes at unconscious levels.

The more that complexity, ambiguity and the pace of change increase, the more urgent it becomes to find ways to debias all three areas of business decision making. However, being unconscious, biases don’t tend to reduce purely through education about them, because learning takes place in a different part of the brain to that where the problem originates. Furthermore, the stress associated with unpredictable change only adds to the challenge of making changes at unconscious levels.

Outcomes:

It is a game changer when leaders are able to take better account of, and protect against, subconscious bias across all three of the elements of decision making. To enable this, by the end of this session participants will:

  • Know how to counter, through a series of practical steps, some of most powerful mental biases.
  • Understand why overconfidence in our rationality harms decision making and learn instead to take account of and work with their emotions, rather than seeking to ignore them.
  • Be able to model how the mind creates its sense of “reality”, mainly at unconscious levels, and understand why this makes biases inevitable.
  • Know how even the best decision-making processes can be distorted by bias.
  • Know why the common understanding about the relationship between stress and performance is (almost) completely wrong.
  • Appreciate why resilience – the ability to handle stressors effectively – is so critical to decision making and have some basic principles for improving it.

Updated January 2019.

Developing Self-Awareness to Enable Great Judgement

This workshop examines the changes in self-awareness that take place as the mind becomes more cognitively advanced, giving a clear route-map by which it may be developed.

Read more

 

Developing Self-Awareness to Enable Great Judgement

Overview:

The average expert is “not much better at predicting the future than a dart-throwing chimpanzee”. That’s the provocative conclusion of Professor Philip Tetlock after he had conducted the largest study ever into the accuracy of expert predictions. Many of the experts involved did worse than if they had made random guesses! Given that decisions always relate to the future, and almost always rely on an assessment of what will happen next, this is a huge issue for every leader.

Unfortunately, this issue is barely recognised, for three primary reasons: there’s a widespread misconception that our ideas and opinions are the result of years of rational, objective analysis, which leads to the false comfort that they are robust; we have considerable discomfort with uncertainty; and we to dislike discovering ourselves to be wrong. Consequently, leaders routinely rely on predictions when making decisions without recognising the likelihood this will introduce errors. To make it worse, the probability and magnitude of errors becomes ever greater as complexity increases.

Solving this problem requires that we change our relationship with uncertainty. Research in leadership and psychology has identified one underlying, learned ability, or ‘meta-ability’, that can play an important role enabling this shift and also lead to improvements in many other capabilities: self-awareness. It underpins our ability to regulate our own emotions, our capacity for thoughtful inquiry, our openness to new ideas and how well we are able to appreciate and understand others. As such, developing self-awareness is an automatic enabler to more reliable, considered, flexible and adaptive decision making.

Outcomes:

This workshop examines the changes in self-awareness that take place as the mind becomes more cognitively advanced, giving a clear route-map by which it may be developed. Armed with this understanding, participants will be equipped to transform this critical faculty, enabling them to significantly improve their decision making. They will:

  • Understand the critical importance of humility, why it can’t be faked, and how more of it can be developed:
    • A true sense of one’s own skills and character can only arise from humility – ego is a barrier.
    • In particular, effective decision making requires intellectual humility.
  • Be able to reduce reactivity and increase responsiveness, particularly under stress, and be equipped with some simple techniques to empower this change.
  • Know where to focus in order to profoundly change their relationship with uncertainty, such that they can remain objective and effective in volatile, fast-paced and unpredictable environments.
  • Understand why self-awareness is inseparably linked to performance via both their own creativity and adaptability, and also their ability to develop others.
  • Know how to mimic the defining characteristic of the small group of experts that are much better than average at predicting the future.
  • Be armed with the most effective way to improve their ability to handle complexity and ambiguity.

Updated January 2019.

Decision Making in Teams – Getting to Grips with Diversity

This workshop examines why it essential – and so difficult – to establish and maintain the rare combination of cognitive diversity and psychological safety needed to create high performing teams.

Read more

 

Decision Making in Teams – Getting to Grips with Diversity

Overview:

Businesses routinely structure people into teams to make decisions. Studies, however, consistently and convincingly demonstrate that individuals outperform groups or teams most of the time. Relational issues, for example, mean that:

  • Groups are much more likely to close down possibilities than to open them up.
  • While diversity is important to group decision making, it also tends to increase conflict, so the overall result is more often to make things worse, not better.
  • Best practice rapidly tends to become ‘group think’, leading to ‘conventional wisdom’ that blocks the development of new ideas and perspectives.

There are many paradoxes involved. Even the generally accepted belief about the importance of collaboration is incomplete: just as too much conflict wrecks achievement, when relationships get too comfortable, teams never perform at their best. Being happy working together, it turns out, can be very bad for innovation. Nevertheless, a few teams do succeed in creating the conditions necessary to far outperform even the best individuals, and they are worth studying. They prove that the greatest potential for breakthroughs exists when people work as a team—but it very rarely happens unless the environment is just right.

The best teams demonstrate the need for dynamic tension amongst their members – stimulating and challenging interactions that result from the diverse thinking of interesting combinations of people. However, the interpersonal differences that are essential to creating tension can also produce fear and conflict, and when that happens, no one wins. So, in parallel with maintaining diversity, an environment must be crafted within which people feel safe: unafraid to share their ideas, willing to challenge, and welcoming of being challenged.

Outcomes:

This workshop examines why it essential – and so difficult – to establish and maintain the rare combination of cognitive diversity and psychological safety needed to create high performing teams. By the end of this session participants will recognise and understand why mastering the paradoxes is essential and know how to create a culture within which this is possible. We will explore:

  • Several of the most important paradoxical requirements, such as:
    • Having tolerance for failure while being completely intolerant of incompetence.
    • Collaborating while continuing to demand individual accountability.
    • Being willing to experiment while maintaining high discipline.
    • Feeling safe while people are brutally candid.
  • The value of provocation – how the thinking of a group shifts when they know they will be challenged.
  • The essential contribution of differing perspectives – the need to seek “culture add” rather than culture fit when building the team.
  • Why even seemingly terrible ideas can play a vital role in improving final solutions.
  • How inter-reactivity between individuals can rapidly lead to breakdowns in communications.
  • The need for just the right amount of tension within a team, why leaders must ensure that tension does not get personal, and how this might be achieved.
  • Why a goal that the team is aligned behind can be a game-changer.
  • The small set of critical values which support the development of high performing teams.

Updated January 2019.

The Power of Attention to Transform Decision Making

This workshop will examine the science behind the idea that learning to pay deliberate attention may be the most valuable skill we can develop, explaining why it underpins and maximises not just our capacity for creative decision-making, but also any other form of adaptive learning.

Read more

 

The Power of Attention to Transform Decision Making

Overview:

Meeting the increasing challenges of our ever more complex and demanding external environment requires decision making capabilities that go far beyond those that were sufficient just a few years ago. Leaders will only cope by developing inner resources that are sufficiently evolved to cope effectively with the outer challenges. This involves some incredibly difficult elements, such as:

  • Overcoming feelings of attachment to familiar ideas and concepts.
  • Reducing our tendency to routinely overlook highly relevant, easily accessible, and readily perceivable information.
  • Noticing how emotions may be influencing our thinking.
  • Becoming overly focused on things we are already familiar with.
  • Accessing deeper levels of intuition and creativity.

There is a single solution that can enable improvements in all of these areas (and beyond), all at the same time. If we can learn to direct our attention in an intentional way, it promotes many of the qualities of mindset required for great decision making. Tom Davenport, former director of Accenture Institute of Strategic Change, summarised the power and importance of this approach when he suggested that, “Understanding and managing attention is now the single most important determinant of business success”.

The power of attention derives from the fact that, just as our muscles can be developed with strength training, the brain responds powerfully to focused and deliberate stimulation. What we pay attention to literally changes the structure and function of our brains, and in very predictable ways.

Outcomes:

This workshop will examine the science behind the idea that learning to pay deliberate attention may be the most valuable skill we can develop, explaining why it underpins and maximises not just our capacity for creative decision-making, but also any other form of adaptive learning. By the end of this session participants will:

  • Understand why deliberate mental practice can be guaranteed to improve decision making.
  • Know why we tend to adopt a completely different mindset when making decisions for others, and how to capitalise on the many instructive lessons this offers when deciding for ourselves.
  • Know how to make their brain more powerful, responsive, efficient and productive.
  • Be able to reduce the harmful effects of the ego.
  • Be able to increase their emotional balance, empathy, creativity, concentration, comfort with ambiguity and happiness.
  • Be equipped with some simple practices by which intentional attention can be developed.

Updated January 2019.

Leading with Engagement in Mind

This session will help participants to achieve the goal of raising levels of engagement by empowering them to direct their efforts more productively.

Read more

Leading with Engagement in Mind

How to Cultivate a High-Performance Culture of Commitment, Creativity and Trust.

Overview:

Research indicates that an engaged and committed workforce, where employees willingly give their best, is associated with numerous beneficial outcomes, such as better organisational performance and lower turnover. Engagement and productivity are directly linked. So what does it take to achieve this? How can you engage others to maximise results: theirs and your own? How important is trust, and how can it be cultivated? And why, when most of us can so easily recognise a great leader, is excellence in this area so rare?

The challenge in seeking to achieve high levels of employee engagement is that traditional command and control hierarchies, whilst offering simplicity of decision-making and clarity of organisation, lack adaptability, creativity and speed. Worse, they tend to foster “obedience” rather than the attitudes required to maximise productivity and competitiveness. Instead, it is necessary to build an environment within which employees feel committed to superior job performance, and this depends on the creation of an empowering emotional relationship: a “psychological contract” between employer and employees, or leaders and followers.

Outline:

To help participants improve engagement, the workshop explores the nature of the relationships that leaders must create, particularly the factors that determine how they are viewed by others and why is is necessary to become less transactional and more relational in interpersonal interactions. It addresses the most important factors affecting leadership success, examines the cultural conditions needed for a business to flourish, and uncovers why this can only be achieved by leaders with strong inner qualities.

Outcomes:

This session will help participants to achieve the goal of raising levels of engagement by empowering them to direct their efforts more productively. It does this by providing an improved understanding of what lies at the heart of other people’s decisions about how much energy and commitment they bring to work. It will:

  • Offer a simplified model of leadership, the clarity of which helps to accelerate progress in this area.
  • Provide a clear understanding of why the ability to establish trusting relationships is a critical leadership capability for the modern age, and how to achieve it.
  • Demonstrate that the successful delivery of tasks, whilst essential, is insufficient for great leadership and enable recognition of what else must be mastered in order to excel.
  • Explore how social perceptions are formed, individually and at group level, enabling engagement to be established more effectively.

Please note: this workshop replaces Emotional Intelligence, this is not a follow on session and not suitable if you have already seen Michael's Emotional Intelligence session.

This speaker currently has no keynotes. Please check back soon.

This speaker currently has no retreats. Please check back soon.

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