Learning To Balance - The Key To Productivity & Innovation

Ron Swartch
4 min read

Integrating neuroscience and leadership can produce the kinds of leaders that are needed in the collaborative, fast-paced business world of today. While many models and options are available, finding one that incorporates science and focuses on the whole person is key. The i4 Neuroleader Model and Methodology will help develop a high-performance body and mind that is needed in this Imagination Age.

As a recently graduated practitioner, I have found that the whole process of accreditation, including the online course and 360 assessment survey, provided me with an understanding of the tool and the neuroscience behind it, but not too much to overwhelm me.

I also found that it was just enough to spark a desire to go deeper and understand the science behind many of the things I have done, as a coach and change agent, for the past 15 years. I am confident that this will both help me refine what I have been doing and stop some practices that may not have actually been creating the outcome my clients have been looking for. 

As coaches and change agents, we always want to believe that when our clients invest their time and money to develop themselves they will see a difference. The concept of neuroplasticity and the way it was integrated into the training and the tool/model validates that belief.

Four Insights I Took Away From The I4 Neuroleader Model & Tool

  1. It is truly holistic, looking both at the internal and external workings of the individual.
  2. It stresses ‘balance’.
  3. It is both outcome and input focused.
  4. It is simple enough to be easily digested but rich and sophisticated enough to provide clients and coaches with developmental material that will last a long time.


What struck me about the process, tool and model is that it looks at the individual as a whole, rather than as a set of behaviours, leadership competencies, personality traits, etc. The approach also takes into account the body and its impact on performance. 


The insight that there are actually 3 brains, and they all need to be in prime condition and balanced, is profound in that it reinforces the importance of taking care of your mind, gut, and heart. Just as an elite athlete must train and prepare himself or herself, so must today's executive. Many of the interventions we apply as coaches can be simple habits, like taking regular breaks or going for a walk, rather than complex changes in thinking or behaviour.


The tool and model are perfect to use with diverse teams. People that like to focus on the actions or inputs have everything they need in the 16 pillars, and the people who prefer to focus on outcomes have what they need in the 4 competencies. The tool and model then subtly force each type to look at the ‘other side.’


For people who want to take action on the feedback, there is more than enough content to start immediately and make a material impact. For those who want more detail, the tool and model open up a huge number of paths to investigate, reflect and develop. If you are in the former group, it is also likely that after seeing the results of your immediate actions you will pursue the latter path as well. 

Finding My Own Strengths And Weaknesses During This Path Of Discovery

Some of my most profound insights were personal and due to seeing my own results. The most profound of these was that I am stronger in the competencies and pillars that are relevant for my current situation (performance and collaboration) but have development opportunities in those that support where I am going, as a new business owner (innovation and agility). Given this, I have been able to walk away from this process with at least 5-7 specific tactics that I can implement to make myself a better father, husband, friend, change agent and businessman. 

For my new business, I am targeting small innovative companies. With this in mind, I took away three insights on the application of the tool, model and neuroscience principles:

  1. The alpha state is a key to greater innovation.
  2. The ‘gut’ that we trust is actually the subconscious access to an accumulation of prior learning.
  3. Articulating our feelings, or labeling them, reduces the anxiety associated with them.


Many entrepreneurs move at a million miles an hour and over-work themselves. They wonder why they get stuck at times. One of the best ways to short-circuit this ‘stuck’ state is to implement simple actions that will induce the alpha state. Many of the same activities are often criticised or looked down upon by these same people.


When we are in the Alpha State, we are more likely to be able to access our prior learning and experiences through new neural connections. It’s in these moments that we are most likely to have those ‘gut feelings’ about what we should be doing. When we at least investigate those feelings or act on them, we are likely to improve our judgment and help drive ourselves to greater insight. This will ultimately lead to higher innovation.


Articulating our feelings releases our minds to find ways to address those emotions and ultimately make a change in our situation. Consequently, the anxiety associated with them is relieved. Every small step forward then amplifies the sense of action and creates a virtuous cycle. 

As coaches, the i4 Neuroleader Methodology gives us the practical tools to both identify the ineffective behaviours and thinking, and support the changes our clients want to make. We have multiple layers to peel back and an adaptive approach that meets the needs of nearly any person. As a practitioner, the process was engaging and empowering. I am excited to use the tool and model with clients in the future.

Originally posted on: 24 April 2018
Last updated on: 25 May 2024
Ron Swartch

Ron Swartch

Certified i4 Practitioner of the About my Brain Institute

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