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Flying High With Neuroscience

October 07, 2014 The About my Brain Institute

The i4 – iFLY Leadership Experience is a unique personal development program that is fun, practical and full of helpful insights, writes Craig Donaldson from Inside HR.


Over the better part of the past decade, there have been a significant number of developments in the field of neuroleadership – a fast-emerging field of study connecting neuroscientific knowledge with the theory and practice of leadership development, management training, consulting and coaching.

Neuroleadership is all about helping individuals and organisations function at their best and fulfil their potential through understanding how our brains function.

In today’s world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA), it is more challenging than ever before to perform at our best and be productive in the pursuit of setting goals, delineating processes and having to deal with tonnes of information.

Being in over our heads most of the time, jumping from one task to another, sitting down at our computers when we feel exhausted and being “busy” makes us sluggish, isolated and rigid – in other words, unproductive.

With this in mind, leadership expert Silvia Damiano has developed a unique half-day personal development program which combines the latest developments in leadership and the brain, with the thrill of indoor skydiving.

Damiano, who serves as CEO of About my Brain Institute and adjunct director of Neuro-Learning Programs at MGSM Executive Education, developed the program based on the i4 Neuroleader Model – a personal leadership model with the brain at its core, made up of four key competencies (integration, inspiration, imagination and intuition) and 16 underpinning pillars.

The i4 – iFLY Leadership Experience program comprises four elements: a two-hour masterclass on neuroscience and leadership in which participants learn about themselves, the brain and how to optimise it; a 360 degree i4 Neuroleader assessment where participants self-rate then gather feedback from colleagues; a one-hour Skype coaching session; and the iFLY experience (probably the most fun element), made possible thanks to the program venue being the iFLY indoor skydiving complex in Sydney.

See the program in Action



Damiano’s style throughout the program is naturally engaging and interactive, and she focuses on building rapport with participants to help them understand how the i4 Neuroleader model can be applied to help them improve personal and professional effectiveness.

With a good balance between leadership and facilitation, Damiano helps participants identify strengths and limitations and chart a map of action, and teaches practical strategies to improve personal leadership capabilities.

The iFLY experience is a great way to top off the half-day program, flying inside an air tunnel with the wind blowing at more than 160 kilometres per hour. After a short training session and donning orange and blue flight suits, flight goggles and helmets, participants are accompanied by an experienced instructor as they take turns flying in the tunnel.

This helps participants notice the importance of getting their brains into “flow” mode in becoming more relaxed, less self-conscious and truly enjoying the moment.

“Being busy” is not the best way to become a high flyer. Rather, understanding how our brains work in practice and applying these insights will deliver enhanced productivity, and the i4 – iFLY Leadership Experience program is a great start to this process.

Box: 8 steps to re-learning how to be productive

Silvia Damiano, CEO of About my Brain Institute and leader of the i4 – iFLY Leadership Experience, outlines eight steps to improving personal productivity:

  1. Take time to “do nothing”, even if it is 10 to 15 minutes a day. Doing this reboots and refreshes the brain. Research shows that when our minds wander (or daydream), we are 40 per cent more likely to find solutions and come up with creative ideas.
  2. Re-frame what you say to yourself, for example: “Isn’t it great to be busy rather than not having anything to do?” See it as a blessing rather than an issue.
  3. Devote yourself to learning how to do the basics right. If you are a slow reader, attend a speed reading course. If you have difficulty writing in an effective way, do a writing course. Learning the basics can free our time for more important things.
  4. Set short-term goals and spend time planning how to achieve them. When goals are too big or too difficult to reach and there are no clear strategies on how to achieve them, our brains can potentially freeze and we become anxious and scattered.
  5. Get up from your desk and spend face-to-face time with others. A chat can be more effective to sort out issues or discuss ideas than an email exchange.
  6. If you feel tense, take a short break, go for a walk and breathe deeply. Oxygen is necessary for the thinking part of the brain to be fully functional. When our emotions take over and we are frustrated or angry, the quality of our decisions and problem-solving abilities are affected.
  7. Sedentarism (spending most of the time sitting down) also affects us significantly. Stand up, move your neck, shoulders and legs. Have short meetings in the corridors rather than long meetings around a table. If you work from home, you can try walking slowly on a treadmill while you work at the computer. New specially designed desks are starting to emerge in the market making us aware of the importance of alternating positions when we work.
  8. Invest time in building relationships. Trust is essential to get along with others and to feel confident enough to ask for feedback so you can improve your own sense of productivity.

 To learn more about this program send us an email!

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The About my Brain Institute

The About my Brain Institute

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