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After a rousing Key Note speech, a quick battery charge and water stop I’m ready for my first session.

Presented by Dr Alan Watkins an international expert on leadership and human performance from Complete Coherence Limited – and the son of 1970s comedy TV writer including episodes of Terry and June {impressed face!}. The session promises to cover:

– how to go beyond behavioural biology, to permanently step change performance
– how learning differs from development; and how to transform talent by working the difference
– practical techniques to strengthen leaders’ decision-making skills and overall performance levels

A great start as we are encouraged to Tweet from our seats in the session using the #CIPD14 by Gill White from CIPD.

Dr Watkins started talking about living in a VUCA world and that the world is getting faster and faster and becoming more ambiguous. Post world war 2 knowledge was doubling every 25 years – now its every 3 months….within 3 years everything we know right now will be 12% of what we know if 3 years……..IBM predict that this will get down to 12 hours. The entirety of what we know will double in a day!

We’re living at one of the most dramatic inflection points ever – a great time to be around. A perfect storm is brewing. Currently we use 100% of our brains but only about 10% of our mind and its potential.

We’re working with horizontal learning – shared experience and information to build and learn skills. Profoundly different from development. So the game changer in a perfect storm world is depth not width – increase depth through vertical development.

Development see’s a change in a human person – more than learning but actually changing. Profoundly different from learning a few new skills…..

We learn a lot post teenage years – skills, knowledge – but don’t necessarily develop. So we have a C suite of 40 year olds on the outside who are actually 14 inside.

– How we are physically is one of the ways we can develop.

All human beings are focused on results. The results may vary but we’re all focused on some sort of result in some way. Entirely true that you can’t change a result without changing behaviour but not enough to focus solely on behaviour. Whether a behaviour is present or absent depends on whats happening beneath the surface – its about their thinking. We need to understand how people think (the awkward sticky stuff) – how people think about you and what you’re suggesting will influence behaviour and results. It’s not just thinking but also about a reciprocal loop with Feeling, which is the dominant action. Feeling drives and overwrite thinking – so if you want to change behaviour change how people feel, change the active ingredient.

But feelings a underpinned again by emotion (stick with me) spontaneously many people don’t make the difference between thinking and feeling.

So what determines the emotion? Physiology….the reason for variance in performance and not being brilliant every day is people don’t know how they are doing it. Don’t understand how the system works and that there are multiple systems to get the result.

Emotions are energy in motion – composite of the data from physiology. Feelings are an awareness in the mind of the emotions and data and the thoughts that arise in our mind are happening in the context of our biology and emotional state. You can change the concept of thinking by changing things at the biological level.

In the human system the electrical signal of the heart is one of the most relevant signals. The distance between heart beats is not the same, envy signal beat your heart rate changes – heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is important because: can predict major illness and ill health (so can predict when someone could die); it underpins energy, dynamism and ability to respond to a threat (HRV can quantify how much energy you actually have); it underpins the ability to think clearly.

Under pressure HRV increases and it cuts off the frontal lob – DIY Lobotomy. Brain shuts down under pressure – under a threat thinking becomes binary – fight, flight or play dead. We’re all at the mercy of brain shut down.

The good news is – turn on some coherence and the brain switches back on and smart thinking returns. We need to take control back of our own physiology. Some things we can control – most simple and important is breathing. Number one is take a few rhythmic breaths and you will see physiology move from chaotic to coherent. Knowing you can bring your a game every single time because you control your physiology – it’s the start point.

So where do you go after you’ve got physiology under control. Greatest myth is you will only perform well if your are fired up – got the adrenaline going. What really determine how brilliant you are is not how aroused or relaxed you are but whether you’re in a negative or positive emotional state. Negative – angry, frustrated, anxious or positive – passion, enthusiasm, motivated with lots of DHEA not Cortisol.

To be in control you want to increase DHEA and working with positive emotion not with Cortisol and negative emotion.

Write down where you are – how many emotions have you notices on your own system in the last week (personally frustration, excitement, joy,). There are 34 thousand distinguishable emotions…….most people can list an average of 12. The bigger repertoire you have as a leader the better equipped you are to help others and build successful relationships – emotional literacy/mastery. Getting a bigger repertoire than what you had will help you.

If you want yo be brilliant every day – start by controlling your physiology, then what emotions am I experiencing and then can I turn any single emotion on on demand. Taking control back is game changing!

A whistlestop tour touching on key things to be brilliant every day – a passionate and energetic session backed up with science