Consciousness in organisations is the next breakaway competitive advantage. In our work with individuals and organizations, we have discovered a way to increase mental agility and creativity.
Creative thinking and innovation, indeed, all higher-level brain functions, are stifled.
Research http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/UserFiles/works/pdfs/jadmus.pdfindicates that when stress is high, your ability to make decisions drops off a cliff.
This brain-stifling reaction comes from the primitive brain, also known as the limbic system, which comprises the Amygdala, the Hippocampus and Thalamus. The limbic system assesses all situations based on a binary “threat/no threat” basis. It is obsessive, always on the lookout for trouble, and generally responds to situations it deems threatening with aggression, anxiety or depression. This is known as the fight-or-flight response, and it floods the brain with a cocktail of hormones designed to divert energy from the brain to the muscles, and prime the body with increased strength and speed, to either respond with violence or run away. Once this limbic response has been triggered, it can take hours, or even a day, to get back to normal.
The problem is that most organizations are teeming with stress and anxiety because of outmoded systems of measurement, assessment and incentive systems, politics and territoriality. These stressors multiply and infect the work environment, leading to a workforce who are literally incapable of exercising higher brain functions.
My team has developed a coaching approach that uses simple, proven techniques to calm the primitive brain and allow the higher brain functions to come into play. We ask people to focus on goals and create vivid mental imagery, using visual language to communicate conscious goals to the unconscious mind. We then use relaxation techniques, guided imagery and metaphor to create mental space for those conscious goals to sink in, and allow the unconscious mind to work on them, and for solutions to emerge.
This coaching approach focuses on the boundary between the conscious and unconscious minds, increasing the connectivity between the two.
We have seen profound results with our clients, including greater mental clarity, improvement in work relationships, greater productivity and more creative solutions to work problems. Most importantly, we are able to help people lower the trigger threshold of the limbic fight-or-flight response, and increase their ability to remain calm and think clearly in what would otherwise be stressful situations.