It was early morning in Toronto, on a freezing February day. I was walking through the streets working on my new documentary project when I came across these stunning billboards from Deloitte University, which exhibited the following taglines accompanied by images of colourful brains.
The taglines were: ‘The New Age of Leadership. Developing the Forward-Thinking Leaders of Tomorrow, Today’ and ‘Extraordinary Leaders. By Design’.
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It was like a punch in my gut, and I had to stop and photograph the billboards. Knowing that the main consulting firms are now talking about the new age of leadership gave me the confirmation that I am on the right path.
The vision I had eight years ago when I started to research the link between biology, health and leadership was crystal clear. Finding new methods to share this emerging knowledge in a way that would be useful and applicable became my quest and I have no doubt that it was worth investing the time.
Understanding how our brains and bodies are interconnected and how they influence our decisions, thoughts, emotions and behaviours is critical when we interact with other human beings, particularly when we want to lead others.
In the same way that Prosci or Six Sigma methodologies became the ones to follow in change management and business improvement several years ago, I realised that the brain-based way of looking at leadership was here to stay. It was not going to be a fad or fashion, and of course, I was not the only one.
Then, my research crusade began, and the was born. It took sheer determination, a big leap of faith, and lots of hard work to create the . My vision began to inspire others, and since then, I have seen so many people jump on board and become fascinated by learning how we can improve our leadership and help others do the same.
I believe this work has become more critical than ever because the world is still in the hands of leaders who display behaviours from the past Industrial Age. These leaders have not realised that workers have moved on and employees want and need more congruent, healthier, and inspirational leaders.
Educating the leaders is not enough
In my view, educating followers is as important as educating leaders. Those who are not in a leadership position need to be able to differentiate between great and not-so-great, or even toxic leadership. That’s why our initial mission has always been about democratising leadership so everyone can be better equipped to learn about themselves and their brains.
A leader can lead more effectively with better followers.
Much has been written about leadership. To many, even the word sounds so abstract that it is misunderstood or even dismissed. We now know, however, that embracing our own leadership and displaying behaviours that are cooperative, uplifting of others, innovative and agile depend on how well our brains function.
I have based my teachings on the knowledge gained from my previous scientific career and leadership development expertise. I’ve also had my own brain scanned twice and its brain waves measured and analysed. I work on the health of my brain on a daily basis, and I make sure to use feedback to self-correct. I know I would lack the authenticity to teach about brain-based leadership if I was not operating at my best.
Our star product has arrived!
All this knowledge and experience was woven into the development of our star product, , which is now being delivered to teams of people from both the as well as undergraduate and postgraduate groups at Macquarie University in Sydney.
As part of the Sydney Vivid Festival of Ideas in our annual , we have also been sharing aspects of this work with the community and what people and organisations can do to ‘Create Brain-Friendly Cultures’.
At the same time, our i4 Partners in Spain and Slovakia are organising Conferences on this topic and reaching their own corporate clients with the knowledge, assessments, and tools they have acquired in our .
This incredible journey, which started in 2009 has continued to evolve, and in the past two years, we have worked incessantly towards developing a way for anyone around the world to learn about leadership from the comfort of their own home.
Consequently, we are very proud to announce the launch of our new online offerings, which include not only courses for individuals but also for those consultants and coaches who want to learn how to incorporate brain-based leadership concepts and the i4 Model & Methodology in their own practices.