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Self Development

The Realm Of Possibility

Understanding how the brain works can help you and your team turn negativity to optimism and boost your competitive edge.

Monique Verduyn

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Are you a realist, or a dreamer? Do you organise, or do you prefer to socialise? Dr Kobus Neethling, president of the SA Creativity Foundation and developer of Neethling Brain Instruments, says the ability to understand how you think is a critical skill for the entrepreneur. 

“It has long been acknowledged that each hemisphere of the brain has its own specialist functions,” says Neethling. “Most of us prefer the functions and processes of one of the two hemispheres to the other. The key is to understand how you and your team think so that you are aware of how you communicate, how you act towards other people, how you learn, teach and solve problems, and how you do business.

The Eight Dimensions

The left and right brain processes can be divided into two definitive categories, effectively separating the brain into four quadrants, two on the left (L1 and L2), and two on the right (R1 and R2), each of which is further divided in two.The two dimensions identified within the L1 quadrant are the Realist (who prefers clarity of thinking, exactness and thoroughness) and the Analyst (who wants to discover the essence of things and dig deeper).

In the L2 quadrant, there is the Stalwart (who prefers traditional approaches and appreciates rules and regulations) and the Organiser (who prefers to plan, to sort out and classify).

In the R2 quadrant there is the Socialiser/Networker (who likes to network and meet people) and the Empathiser (who likes to assist and reach out to others). Lastly, in the R1 quadrant we find the Strategist (who predicts and strategises) and the Fantasiser/Imagineer (who thinks in pictures and imagines impossible ideas). “If you’re selling a car to an L2, you’ll focus on proven methods, practises and values,” says Neethling. “An L2 will buy the car and read the manual from cover-to-cover, whereas an R1 will own the car for five years without ever taking the manual out of its cellophane wrapping.”

Whole Brain Thinking

What is the significance of whole brain thinking in business? “Quite simply, organisations which are able to put all eight dimensions of the brain into action – what we call whole brain strategising – can optimise organisational performance,” says Neethling.Successful entrepreneurs are often found in the R1 quadrant. “They start off in the imagineering dimension, playing loosely with ideas. From there, they begin to strategise and think about tomorrow, which is when planning becomes important. Next, they enter the dimension of the realist or analyst, putting their plans onto action and then ensuring that they monitor and assess results. That done, the truly innovative entrepreneur will start to dream up new ideas, and so the cycle continues.”

Choose Positivity

Neethling notes that many highly creative people become extremely frustrated because they are unable to turn their ideas into reality. However, this is not an irredeemable situation. People can be trained to turn their ideas into reality through a profound process of change.

“One of the greatest stumbling blocks for the entrepreneur is negativity,” says Neethling. “It’s a subtle disease that sends the brain into problem-mode thinking. Others around you realise it and are influenced by it, to the disadvantage of everyone and the business. And when times are hard, people are even more likely to express negativity – every day we are told how bad the economy is, and eventually that becomes part of our belief system.

Neethling and his team have developed a 29-day habit-changing programme that helps people to overcome unconstructive, pessimistic behaviour. “It takes three to four weeks to redesign your thinking processes and get rid of bad habits – whether it’s smoking, eating the wrong food, or thinking negatively. If you stick with the programme for 29 days, the old habit dies and you develop a new one that comes to you spontaneously and without effort.”

He suggests trying out this method in the traffic. Choose a route that is always busy and taken by lots of taxis, and then force yourself to practice patience and acceptance; watch how, over time, your aggressive response becomes one of tolerance.

Write it Down

Neethling recommends keeping a negativity diary. “R2 dominant people, who are sensitive and passionate, tend to give up because of bad self-talk. L2s, on the other hand, find it more difficult than others to change established routines because they are so much more disciplined and organised.”He suggests writing down what the result is of your particular bad habit, and then noting the alternative. If you list five negatives (I cannot do this task because …), be sure to list fives positives (I can do this because I am …).

“Over time, the negative thoughts begin to recede into the background as you train yourself to focus on what you are capable of achieving. We have done this exercise with groups of up to 600 people and seen the evidence as positivity translates into energy, creativity – and increased sales.”

The Eight Quadrants of the Brain

L1 – Realist

L1 – Analyst

R1 – Strategist

R1 – Imagineer

* Authoritative leadership style

* Stands firm on issues

* Focused

* Decisive

* Doing it “right” is more important than doing it together

* Identifies priorities and work with certainties

* New ideas, alternative ways

* Visionary leader

* Risk-taker

* Open to new ways of doing things

* Informal leadership style

* Comfortable with sharing authority

* Open-minded

* Dreamer

L2 – Stalwart and Preserver

L2 – Organiser

R 2 – Empathiser

R2 – Socialiser

* Leads by following proven methods and practices

* Prefers employees with skills and experience

* Likes rules and regulations

* Sets high standards for planning and productivity

* No deviation from procedure

* Likes checklists, supervision and evaluation

* Values the person above the task

* Motivates, encourages and inspires

* Open-door policy

* Sensitive to atmosphere

* Team-focused leader

* Likes to communicate

* Encourages feedback

* Involves other in decisions

Unleashing Potential and Optimising Performance.

Whole brain strategising puts all eight dimensions of the brain to work.

For more information, call +27 11 848 0120, or visit www.solutionsfinding.com

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

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Self Development

Why Your Professional Persona Matters

You don’t have to become a different person to succeed in business.

Timothy Sykes

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For superheroes, getting into professional mode is as easy as slapping on some spandex, a mask and a cape. For the everyday entrepreneur, however, the proper work mindset is less about attire and more about adopting a professional persona.

Your professional persona is your personal branding in the workplace. It refers to the way that you conduct yourself publicly in a business setting, and the image you project to coworkers and colleagues. Far from contrived or inauthentic, it’s simply the polished-up way that you present yourself professionally.

How do I develop a professional persona?

It’s actually extremely easy to develop a professional persona. All you have to decide is who you want to be in the workplace, and then take efforts with your attitude, dress, and conduct to become that version of yourself. Action follows intention, and over time, you’ll find that adopting your professional persona feels as natural as putting on your coat before leaving the house.

Now that you understand what a professional persona is, let’s talk about why you should work on cultivating one and what you stand to gain.

Create a self fulfilling prophecy

Success is typically hard-earned and slow in the making. However, if you take the time to develop a professional persona, it can help bring success sooner. If you conduct yourself casually and informally in the workplace, you’re less likely to be taken seriously and might spend far longer in the career trenches.

But if you make a concerted effort to conduct yourself with the professionalism of a manager or CEO, you’ll make yourself a more desirable candidate for advancement. Since you’ve already demonstrated the appropriate attitude for higher level positions, you’re more likely to be thought of when opportunities arise.

Related: 25 Bad Words That Make Other People Feel Inferior

Focus on what’s important

When you establish a professional persona, you put yourself in the right state of mind for work. This can help you attain your career goals.

Say, for instance, that one of your big career goals is to become a leading authority in your field so that you can become the next TED Talk celebrity. With this specific goal in mind, you can tailor your professional persona so that it can help advance you toward this goal. For instance, you might begin speaking at local networking events or starting a topical podcast. Doing things like this will help you establish a professional persona of being an expert in your niche.

Make yourself indispensable

One of the best ways to create job security is to make yourself indispensable in your position. A professional persona can help by letting you establish recognisable and dependable hallmarks in your working style.

For instance, perhaps part of your persona is that you are the person who always meets his or her deadlines on time. In time, this will become part of your professional identity and will be part of how people see you in your office or field. When others know and trust that they can depend on you, you’ll make yourself indispensable. Over time, this can have a powerful and positive effect on your career.

Be taken more seriously

A casual attitude is fine when you’re hanging out with friends. But in a professional setting, it may be holding you back. When you present yourself with a more polished professional persona in work settings, you’ll be taken more seriously. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at work, of course. But it does mean that you should conduct yourself with an air of professionalism and should never engage in bad habits like gossip or use language that might come back to haunt you later.

Remember: You get what you give. When you act respectfully in the workplace, you’re more likely to be treated with the same respect.

You’ll get more followers

More and more, entrepreneurs are using social media to attain a higher professional status or to attract more business.

When you take the time to develop a professional persona, you adopt a personal style, a way of articulating, and potentially even an aesthetic. These things add up to more clear and compelling personal/professional branding. This can help you maintain a consistency on social media platforms that makes your posts recognisable. Over time, this can lead to additional followers, which can mean more opportunities for selling, career advancement, and more.

Develop a thicker skin

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t take things personally in the professional sphere. But anyone who has ever experienced rejection or criticism in their career knows that this is much easier said than done.

Your professional persona can help give you some personal armour. When you have a professional persona, it can be easier to separate your personal life from your work to a greater degree. No, this doesn’t mean that you won’t feel any pain when things go wrong, but it will allow you to compartmentalise in a positive way, so that an issue at work doesn’t impact your personal life quite as much.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Company Posts

6 Steps To Cultivate A Success Mindset

What does a winning mindset mean to you? It’s what has separated the likes of Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Usain Bolt and Floyd Mayweather from fellow professional athletes. Adopting a similar approach could help you achieve massive success in 2019 and beyond.

ACCA

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A winning mindset is the trait that allows you to persist even when defeat looks like the most probable outcome. People with a winning mindset are much clearer about the process to attain their goals. They are not afraid of failure as long as they believe that they’re doing the right thing. That’s the difference between winners and losers.

1. Persist and understand that you must put in the work before you see results

The most successful people embody the principle of a winning mindset, because very few people in the world, be it in sports or business, can succeed without having to overcome obstacles. It’s seldom that talent is all one needs to succeed in any endeavour, otherwise most people would be successful.

A good way to understand this principle is to observe professional athletes before and during tournaments. Anybody competing in professional sports, such as the Olympics, has the talent but not all professional athletes are winners. A number of their memorable victories were achieved when they came from behind, when it looked like they were losing.

2. Press the reset button for the new year

The new year is notorious for long lists of resolutions that are not honoured and ultimately remain wishes. That said, the dawn of a new year tends to bring with it positive energy and a commitment to do things differently.

Entrepreneurs need to approach the New Year with a simple goal to do better than the prior year in whatever endeavour they are undertaking. It is important to build on current success or failure, and then commit to go one up. That way, the goal won’t seem unattainable.

Related: Many SMEs Start With Great Plans But Fail To Take The Big Leap

3. Take small incremental steps

The first step is to be clear about the goal and to write it down where you can see it every day. The second thing is to map the process of how you will get there, broken into small steps. From there onwards, focus on the process and not the goal as this allows one to achieve small but important victories. This needs to be backed up by an appropriate support system, associating with like-minded people.

4. Don’t stop upskilling yourself

Success in business is about creating shared value and solving real-world challenges that customers grapple with. Skills are therefore necessary to achieve success, so upskilling oneself is never a bad investment. It’s good to know something about everything, but ultimately one needs to know everything about something.

Some skills will be brought in through hiring staff, others through outsourcing and in some cases through strategic alliances.

5. Remember that no goal is static

One of the most important things to always remember is the goal, and that the goal is dynamic; it will have to be adjusted along the way. Business leaders can therefore celebrate the small victories fully aware that there is more work to be done. Achieving temporary success is easy, especially with all the tenders around, but building a sustainable business and staying on top requires persistence and hard work.

Related: Organisational Design Disruptions Do Not Occur In A Vacuum: Future Business Models

6. Your top tool is in your head

It’s all in the mind, backed by passion and a strong desire to succeed. If anything, business leaders need to train themselves to be uncomfortable with the status quo, not to get too comfortable with the present.


Why Not Consider The Acca Qualification For 2019?

ACCA professionals are more than accountants. They think holistically, consider challenges in the context of business and have strong strategic and leadership skills. Visit www.accaglobal.com for more information.

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Self Development

Taking Care Of Mental Health Is Powerful, Not Weak

Charlamagne Tha God talks success, anxiety and mental health.

Lewis Howes

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It’s time to open up. No matter what you’re dealing with, you’re not alone.

There is nothing shameful about having anxiety. Think about this acronym for FEAR – you either Fear Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The more you confront the things in your past you don’t want to do with, the more you’ll be able to move forward. So, are you going to run from your fear, or face it?

On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I talk about anxiety and PTSD with a man who has become an unofficial mental health advocate: Charlamagne Tha God.

New York Times bestselling author Charlamagne Tha God is best known for being co-host of the nationally syndicated hip-hop iHeartRadio program “The Breakfast Club.” He is also a social media influencer; an executive producer with his own production company, CThaGod World; and co-host of the popular podcast Brilliant Idiots.

Charlamagne says that refining his life’s mission and examining his past helped him take control of his anxiety.

Don’t allow anxiety or depression to cause you to keep suffering. Learn about Charlamagne Tha God’s mental health struggles and what he did to restart his life on Episode 721.

Related: The Business Of Anxiety In Business: Giving Heroes Permission To Feel Vulnerable

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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