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Featured Article

How to Engage Every Brain!

(September 6, 2014) In his book, Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina says, “If you are leading a modern corporation…you need to know how brains work.” In fact, in a world overloaded with stimuli, where so many distractions are fighting for your learners’ attention, your most important job may be knowing how to engage those brains.

In spite of 100 years of dogma saying otherwise, we now know that new neuronal connections can take place, even in the adult brain. In other words, you can change the brain through learning.

But there are plenty of brain-draining obstacles in today’s world that can get in the way. Two of the most prevalent, particularly among leaders and high-potential employees, are sleep deprivation and multi-tasking, both of which dramatically impact productivity, the ability to learn and the energy required to shift thinking—an essential component of leadership agility.

While you may not be able to force people to get enough sleep, there are some things you can do to increase the effectiveness of the learning you develop and the way in which you deliver it.

First, for the critical learning points you must get across, recognize it may take more time and that you may need to employ a variety of different techniques to engage all of your learners so they clearly understand the concepts. To make sure the knowledge sticks, there are a few best practices you can follow based on what we know about thinking and learning:
•Provide context
•Engage emotions
•Introduce novelty
•Create “meaty” challenges
•Provide time for processing and practice
•Stagger the learning

Generational shifts are also bringing in a new breed of learner, including digital natives who want to learn via social and other technologies. This may require you to engage your own brain so you can adapt your thinking and be open to other perspectives and learning approaches, including those you might not prefer yourself.

But it’s more than just generational differences we’re talking about. Learning is a mental activity, and as a learning professional, you have to recognize the full thinking diversity in your audience. Every learner’s brain is unique, specialized and situational. How you design and deliver learning, the activities you incorporate, when and how often you schedule breaks—all contribute to how well the person will engage in and retain the learning. Particularly for those learning points that are absolutely essential, your best approach is to bring in a tapestry of methods that appeal to all the thinkers in your group.

Keep in mind, too, we’re asking people to stretch outside their mental comfort zones to deal with more complexity in the job and higher performance expectations, and that requires their energy and effort. When you prepare the brain by providing context and making sure the design fits your learners’ needs, they will be mentally prepared for the challenge. Even though they may still not “like” the discomfort required to stretch, they can own the challenge and view learning as a victory.

In a noisy environment, made all the more challenging by the urgency we have to get people prepared to step up, the pressure is on to make sure every learning opportunity connects and delivers results. By applying what we know about learning and the brain, you can get your learning across in a way that appeals to your audience so they—and the organization—can quickly benefit.

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    Featured Audio & Video

    Business Linked Teams

    One of the major benefits of the Whole Brain® Thinking System is its relevance to so many operational and strategic people development activities. We use the HBDI® as an objective and neutral way of helping our clients to understand their thinking preferences and how that plays out inBLT-Logo-Black-Letters-Huge-3371-x-1258 their everyday work. We work in partnership to implement meaningful personal development plans.  For us, the major advantages that the HBDI® has over its competitors, is the simplicity in design, application and accessibility and the ease of use across cultures and all levels of seniority.”

    - Samantha Caine, Client Services Manager, Business Linked Teams Ltd.


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      To access our full book list of recommended reading, click here.

      Featured Book

      The Whole Brain Business Book, by Ned Herrmann

      Get practical tips, advice and insights from our collection of audio podcasts and learning videos.

      Goodbye, left brain/right brain. Farewell to simplistic concepts and superficial solutions. In the hot arena of mind research and its applications in business, the new benchmark is Ned Herrmann’s Whole Brain® Thinking System. It delivers what it promises.WBBB

      Here, in his most recent book, Herrmann himself shows how to apply his famous four-quadrant paradigm for maximum productivity and creativity at work! It is the first book to apply the whole brain® thinking exclusively to business.

      The culmination of decades of research, this guide is as well-balanced as the model of the brain it describes: it is visionary and communicative, logical, organized, with conclusions drawn from a database of over 1,000,000. You and your organization will use it to:

      • Learn about yourself and your company
      • Break out of the “box” created by overreliance on one or two styles of thinking
      • Optimize your leadership and followership styles
      • Create and manage Whole Brain® Teams
      • Inject creativity into every area of business

      If the administrators in your company are stifling the new ideas put forth by the communicators and visionaries…or if you’ve shifted too much power from the marketers to the budget cutters and are now paying the price…it’s time to get back in balance. Ned Herrmann will show you how to harness the power of all four thinking preferences, with exercises and examples citing lead-edge companies. It’s smart business. And it’s Fun! Order here.

      Access our full book list.




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        Featured BrainBytes®

        July 2014: A Wake-Up Call for Human Resources

        It seems Human Resources is constantly in the midst of reinvention. From the early years as a “Personnel” function, it’s evolved in emphasis with the times through industrial psychology, organization dynamics, compliance and legal, and most recently, working hand in hand with finance. In other words, it’s been all over the place.

        In Whole Brain® Thinking terms, though, the function has been pretty consistent. The focus has been heavily on the B-quadrant aspects of processes, structure and “rules,” combined with some C-quadrant employee engagement activities. This preference for the green, B quadrant continues to show up even as the business environment has changed dramatically, and that means when new challenges arise, HR looks for the “green” answer. But the answer to a changing world isn’t limited to rethinking competencies or streamlining processes.

        The following graphic shows Bersin’s 2014 Predictions plotted across the Whole Brain® Model. Clearly, the future of HR isn’t just about technology or recruitment or engagement or analytics or strategy. It’s about all of these.

        More and more, I’m convinced the only way HR can truly reinvent itself and stay relevant is through Whole Brain® Thinking. The future of HR is Results-Driven and Streamlined and Social and Strategic.

        Download the Whole Brain® response to the Bersin 2014 Predictions.

        Download our latest white paper for specific tips and strategies for adapting to the future of HR.


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          Access research and study information related to the Whole Brain® Thinking System. To view research on a specific topic, click on the relevant tag to the left.

          If you are interested in using the Whole Brain® Thinking System in a research project, master's thesis or dissertation, please download and complete the research consent application.

          Featured Research

          Balance of Thinking Improves Team Effectiveness

          A six-year study at the US Forest Service concluded that teams with a balance of thinking preferences are 66% more effective than non-balanced teams, and that they consider more options and make better decisions.

          The study examined the effects of applying the Whole Brain® Thinking System to group/team construction, comparing teams comprised of people with homogeneous thinking preferences with those that included a balance of thinking preferences, representing all four quadrants of the Whole Brain® Thinking System.

          Download the full report: How to Improve Group Productivity (Charles G. DeRidder and Mark A. Wilcox)


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            View our on-demand webinars to learn best practices from business leaders and experts.

            Featured Webinar

            On Demand Webinar: HRDQ Optimizing Team Performance

            Listen to webinar recording here. Organizations such as Microsoft Game Studios use a thinking-based strategy to assemble teams that are equipped to tackle tough business challenges, and Kevin Sensenig i is here to share them with you.

            As the business environment grows more demanding, organizations are becoming dependent on the collective intelligence of teams to improve problem-solving skills, discover innovative solutions, and deliver higher quality results in less time. Yet all too often teams are unable to reach their potential, regardless of the talent and experience held by the individual team members.

            Join us for A New Model of Team Performance: Optimizing Team Brainpower for Maximum Results. Led by, Kevin J. Sensenig, this interactive webinar will give you practical tools and think-centered methods for helping teams to tap into their full brainpower. He will use examples and exercises to guide you through an easy-to-apply model and she’ll share the specific strategies major organizations such as Caesars Entertainment and Microsoft Game Studios are using to assemble the most effective teams for tackling tough business problems.

            Participants Will Learn:

            A thinking-based model and tools to help teams work more efficiently, collaborate more effectively, and reap the benefit of diverse perspectives.
            How to apply the latest research on thinking and team productivity to help teams achieve specific business objectives, whether the team is virtual or on-site, intact or cross-functional, or collaborating with external stakeholders.
            How to assemble the most effective team, based on the mental demands of the assignment, project, or problem.

            Who Should Attend

            Organization development professionals
            Human resources managers
            Team leaders

            Webinar recording.


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              Download white papers with tips and strategies for leveraging better thinking for better performance and better results.

              Featured White Paper

              Are Teams Broken? Or Just Not Using Their Heads? Team Thinking in a New Light

              We’re relying on the collective intelligence of teams to solve problems faster, come up with more innovative ideas, and deliver higher quality results in less time. But is the sum of the parts really adding up to more?

              Download this white paper to learn:

              • A system that helps teams build trust faster, streamline communications, make better decisions and get the benefit of diverse perspectives.
              • How to apply the latest research on thinking and team effectiveness to achieve specific business objectives.
              • The limits of “feel good” teambuilding activities.
              • Tips for overcoming three common team challenges.

              Download the white paper: Are Teams Broken? Or Just Not Using Their Heads? Team Thinking in a New Light



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