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A couple of years ago, Virgin Unite (the “entrepreneurial foundation” of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group) launched the ‘100% Human at Work Initiative’ because they believe the time has come for business to start thinking of people as human beings and not as resources.
Moving away from maximising profits and profitability to focus on how we can help people achieve their highest potential and purpose and driving positive change in the world. This will naturally positively impact the bottom line.
They produced an annual booklet that gathers the case studies of some inspirational companies in Australia & New Zealand that are doing just that Human At Work projects. We were approached to be one of these case studies with the work we have been doing with the Australian Stock Exchange and the i4 Neuroleader Program.
The Human At Work Experiments Collection is designed to inspire you to try new things and to explore new ways of working within your organisation.
In 2016 a thorough evaluation of the Leadership Development offering at ASX was conducted, which highlighted that the programs that had been offered for the past 8-10 years needed to change, due to an increasingly complex environment that's creating new demands on the leaders and the workforce.
To re-energise leadership development, a new set of capabilities was drafted to assist leaders to deliver the changes required in their 3-5 year plan. The solution required a blended approach to learning delivery and a robust evaluation methodology built into the program, designed at inception.
ASX had an appetite to include neuroscience-based content into the design of their leadership development offering with the purpose of enticing an already ‘highly sophisticated group’. They were looking for something fresh and cutting-edge but that could also work well with all levels within the organisation.
The About my Brain Institute proposed to use the ‘i4 Neuroleader Model’ as the basis for the program and focus on the development of the competencies of performance, collaboration, innovation and agility. These competencies went beyond the traditional management/leadership abilities that ASX was looking for.
We knew that exploring the science of the pillars of the model such as integration, inspiration, imagination and intuition, amongst others, would set us apart from any other provider and offer a new lens to look at leadership.
Understanding the neuroscience of these competencies and learning a practical path of how to implement them at work (and also in life) was compelling enough to bring on board even the most skeptical participants.
ASX looked at several providers, but the i4 Neuroleader Program offering really struck a chord for them. The i4 Neuroleader Methodology is a set of concepts and practices that combines years of research conducted by scientist and leadership expert, Silvia Damiano.
Silvia founded the About my Brain Institute with the purpose of democratising leadership and neuroscience for the new era of work. The methodology has been tested thoroughly and used to train more than 600 coaches and consultants from around the world.
The About my Brain Institute has rolled out the i4 Neuroleader Program across ASX's Executive & Senior Leaders group in three different cohorts for a period of eight months each. The results were overwhelmingly positive and because of this, after two and a half years of rolling out this initiative and after a strenuous submission process, the program was nominated as one of the best Leadership Programs in the industry by the Australian Institute of Training & Development.
The summary of feedback has highlighted key points such as: learning the importance of understanding and optimising brain function for better leadership. The use of a 720 assessment (the i4 Neuroleader Assessment), which allowed participants to choose up to 20 raters not only from work but from their personal life, created an environment of ‘embracing vulnerability’.
This led to an increase of trust levels and a sense of camaraderie, critical aspects to take into account when developing a more collaborative (and less hierarchical) culture. Participants understood the importance of taking care of themselves as ‘human beings’ as the first pillar of achieving higher levels of performance at work, and many developed practices like better sleep & nutrition, mindfulness, meditation with neurofeedback devices and the practice of frequent exercise.
This helped them learn how to manage their minds rather than their time. The program also explored intuition (including gut health) for agile leadership and the neurobiology of creativity. Understanding the science behind imagination, creativity and innovation allowed leaders to listen more actively to the ideas of their team members and to know how to support them in their implementation.
The results were better delegation, more clarity of thinking and an increased capacity to manage stress and deal with competing priorities, a day-to-day occurrence at ASX due to the continuous demands from regulators and clients.
Being able to diagnose the current state of the competencies of performance, collaboration, innovation and agility by using the 720 i4 Neuroleader Assessment and remeasuring after eight months was an effective way to show strengths, limitations and progress to each individual and to the organisation. The assessment was accompanied by a self-paced 10 hour online coaching program that participants could explore at their leisure.
As a result of this program I have become less stressed and a more confident leader, consequently I feel more inspired and this helps me inspire my team.
SENIOR LEADER, TECHNOLOGY
This is the best leadership program I have ever attended, because it is so different to anything else. We have learnt the importance of taking care of oneself, reflecting, imagining and being positive. If we want to lead in a complex world, we need to develop these abilities.
Case Study Originally Published here.
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