The 8 most powerful lessons from the Cape Union Agile Excellence management training sessions that Keedo founder Nelia Annandale believes everyone in business can really use
Up-regulated thinking. Fostering integrity. And learning to talk to yourself. We’ve recently completed a series of exciting leadership sessions with the exco of SA’s favourite outdoor goods retailer. And lauded entrepreneur and exco member Nelia Annandale shares her 8 most powerful neuromanagement insights during the Cape Union Mart Agile Excellence sessions.
“I always believed that I, as a mom, manipulated my children to grow up with certain values and habits,” says Nelia, who founded children’s clothing retail brand Keedo, now part of the Cape Union Mart stable. “For example, I influenced my children to abhor smoking from an early age. And I was super excited during our first session with LifeXchange’s Dr Cobus Oosthuizen to discover that science affirms that this is exactly what happens. I am directing my children’s thinking.
“I find all the LifeXchange teachings so valuable and exciting that I think if I had the opportunity to choose a new career, it would probably be in neuroscience.”
Following a several-months-long leadership training process, these are the 8 most valuable bits of information from the Cape Union Mart Agile Excellence management training sessions, according to Nelia Annandale:
1. NEUROSCIENCE IS A POWERFUL TOOL FOR BUSINESS (AND THE WORLD)
One of the fundamental purposes of what LifeXchange teaches SA businesses is to show how to harness the latest brain-based research (neuroscience) and use it in their companies, with the idea that if we grow our companies, we can change entire communities – and, so doing, the world. We call neuroscience for businesses neuromanagement.
And people generally don’t like to admit it, but there are countless scientific studies that show that the way we structure and run our organisations (still rooted in hundred-year-old ideas from the industrial revolution) fail to take into account some of the most basic physiological and psychological insights we have today, thanks to modern technology and science.
“I now know that neuroscience can positively impact entire future generations. If we can teach people to create the neural pathways needed to build positive influence in our communities, the sky would be the limit,” Nelia says. “We can actually make the world a better place.”
2. SCOTOMAS AND THE NATURAL TENDENCY TO MISS THINGS
One of the biggest teachings that come out of almost every LifeXchange session, is that we miss things. We have mental “blind spots” and we don’t see or perceive everything there is to see, because of a few basic ways our brains work.
We physically show how even a company’s financial director can get a Grade 1 maths sum wrong. Or how the CEO can miss letters in a sentence that’s right in front of her eyes. And it’s not because they’re dumb – there’s no such thing, we all have the same mental capacity (see our post on neurons) – it’s because of how we’re wired to think.
Most people don’t know that our brains actively try to store every piece of information we receive for subconscious, automatic recall. Or that we have a function in our brains called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) that filters information. And that, if you’re not aware of how these systems work, you can miss important information – to the point of where you actually fail to see objects that are right in front of you.
Of course, LifeXchange makes you aware of these things and then shows you how to work around them, for more effective business meetings, relationships – everything that impacts how you run your company, and ultimately, profits.
3. THE IMPORTANCE OF VISION FOR DRIVING YOUR TEAM
“Probably the biggest learning is how important having a solid vision is, and how to get your team fully aligned with that vision,” Nelia says.
And not because it’s a beautiful idea, but because we now know that your brain is wired to take your body wherever your eyes are looking. “I studied horse jumping jockeys for a bit,” says LifeXchange Solutions founder Dr Cobus Oosthuizen (PhD Mentoring and Human Behaviour). “And when I asked them what they do as soon as the horse clears a jump, they all said the same thing: They fix their eyes on the next jump.
“Turns out that’s an important mental tactic. Your brain will make your body follow where your eyes are focused. And it’s so powerful that even the horse picks it up through the tension in your muscles and knows to head for the next jump.”
It’s very much the same on the business level. Having that clear vision, and visualising it with your team is one of the most powerful tools you can employ to achieve business goals. That’s why LifeXchange puts so much into teaching these skills in our organisational management solutions.
4. HIGH-PERFORMANCE THINKING
Another awesome insight is that every individual has an almost unending potential to do or become anything they can think of. But we all have perceived obstacles that we see as standing in our way, perhaps preventing us from achieving those goals.
And then exciting research shows that it’s at this point where there’s a critical difference in thinking pattern between high-achieving and low-achieving individuals in general. High achievers look at almost any obstacle with the belief that it’s in their power to change it.
Low-performing individuals see obstacles as external to themselves and often use those obstacles as excuses to not even try. LifeXchange shows businesses how to positively engage employees to use high-performance thinking.
Again, something very few people are aware of. Your brain functions on a “perceived normal” – whatever you, on a subconscious level, believe to be the truth about yourself and other people. And then, as soon as you step outside of your brain’s “perceived normal”, it will “trick” and slowly but surely convince you to get back to where you were before.
It’s one of the main reasons why diets fail, gyms are empty at certain times of the year, etc. If you believe you are overweight and nothing can change that, even the most advanced diet programme will eventually fail, because your brain will self-regulate you back to the point where your belief becomes your reality again.
Remember the saying that our minds create our realities? Well, it’s true in so many ways. And, in business, people’s perceived normal can have a huge impact – if no one truly believes you can make that extra million, you probably won’t make it.
LifeXchange shows businesses how to adapt an entire team or company’s thinking, to create a new perceived normal that allows you to achieve even the most audacious goals.
6. SETTING THE RIGHT MENTAL TENSION TO ACHIEVE GOALS
“When we talk self-regulation, the big lesson for me was how to take the effectiveness zone (perceived normal) and raise it to the new ‘me zone’,” says Nelia. “And the tools to do that is having the right vision and then getting your mental tension just right to work optimally.”
LifeXchange shows you how to overcome people perceived boundaries to success through mental tension (cognitive dissonance), with practical steps and exercises you can use to change how your team views your business goals, to make them a reality.
7. THE POWER OF SELF-TALK
Self-talk is exactly what it sounds like – the things we tell ourselves in our minds. And we don’t realise that it’s our most powerful tool for changing our perceived normal and really making those goals obtainable.
“I’ve learned, personally, how to recognise when my mind wants to slip back into old habits and counterproductive ways of thinking, and then how to uplift my own thinking to levels where I believe I can achieve my goals through self-talk,” says Nelia.
8. THE VALUE OF SIGNIFICANCE
We don’t always realise that when we set goals or give people a task, it can feel like coercion – see our post on mental pushback. When often all that’s needed to upregulate an employee’s commitment and performance is to show them the significance (for them) in their tasks.
For example: ‘We’re not asking you to sell more products because we want you to, we’re asking it because we want to provide more security for you and your colleagues, and we’re giving you a higher commission to do it, so it’s really in your best interest’.
“I also really value the insights into how to change your team’s perception of tasks from something ‘I have to do’ to something ‘I want to do’,” Nelia adds.
BONUS: IT’S FUN AND ENTERTAINING
“For me, our sessions with LifeXchange and Dr Cobus was the highlight of my week”, Nelia adds. “I carefully planned travel dates and leave so that I wouldn’t miss any sessions.
“It’s exciting and inspirational. And Cobus is an awesome speaker and facilitator – he comes across as super down-to-earth, the type of person that everyone can associate with. He gives lively, fun and interesting stories from his personal experience with his own family and career path.
“I’m a big fan and I, for one, would love to do more work with him and the team at LifeXchange. I’d recommend it to anyone in a management role,” Nelia concludes.
ABOUT CAPE UNION MART
Like they need any introduction. Cape Union Mart is one of SA’s biggest and most successful outdoor goods and clothing stores, and one of our favourite #CompaniesWhoCare.
Want to get the same insights for your company? Ask us about our neuromanagement workshops.
Also, check out the weird science behind employee motivation.