BrainLink Group Newsletter #1 2016
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The BrainLink Group newsletter


Welcome to our first issue of BRAINSMatter in 2016. Our newsletter comes out at the beginning of every 2nd month, and within these issues we aspire to provide you with relevant, thought-provoking and helpful information on developing great leadership and effective organisations. 

Our feature article this month is called "Our Brain New World", and is written by Dr Norman Chorn and Dr Terri Hunter. "Our Brain New World" proposes using our knowledge of the brain from a neuroscientific perspective to help us address issues of complexity and uncertainty that are becoming ever more prevalent in our modern organisations.

If you want to learn more about this concept and putting it into practice, you can join the Directors of BrainLink Group, Jenny McDonald, Terri and Norman, as they present "Our Brain New World" in a series of seminar events coming to a city near you. If you are interested click here for the invite or see it after the feature article.

Being still relatively early in the year (indeed, some say New Year's resolutions are best started on February 1st), we also present an article by Jenny McDonald presenting a neuroscientific perspective on how best to establish good practices in the new year for a more effective way of working.

Don't forget to take a look at our Upcoming events for all latest info on events both locally and worldwide, as well as browse our Recommended Reading section for articles that we have found interesting over the last couple of months.

Happy reading.
Latest news:
BrainLink Group will soon have a new home on the web - our full website will be up very shortly. 
When you visit our website, you will find information on our full range of products and services, latest news, useful resources and upcoming events. We look forward to sharing this with you.
'Our Brain New World'

By Dr Norman Chorn and Dr Terri Hunter

The ‘Brain New World’ is an attempt to understand the changes taking place in our organisations as we navigate through these conditions of complexity and uncertainty.

By using the human brain as a metaphor, we explore aspects of the modern organisation and the way we approach its development. We can learn several things about organisations by recognising that an organisation not only has a brain, but in many respects, it is a brain.


To read the full version of this article please click here.
"Our Brain New World" - Seminar Series
  • Join us for a high-impact 90 minute briefing in your city
  • Discover the latest thinking on organisations and leadership
  • Learn how brain science has changed our views on leadership, strategy and organisational effectiveness
  • Presented by BrainLink Group Directors, Dr Norman Chorn, Jenny McDonald and Dr Terri Hunter
Wellington       29 Feb
Dunedin           1 Mar AM
Christchurch   1 Mar PM
Auckland         2 Mar
Melbourne         8 Mar
Brisbane            9 Mar
Sydney              10 Mar
Adelaide            11 Mar
How is 2016 shaping up for you?

By Jenny McDonald

Are you back at your desk and determined that this year will be less hectic than last?
That you will make time for that walk at lunchtime every day?
That you will prioritise tasks and work on the hardest one first each day, before checking emails?
Or maybe that you will make more time to really talk to your colleagues and make good use of the team?

Each of us brings a fresh perspective when we come back to work, hopefully refreshed after a holiday and connection time with family and friends. But somehow, come February, that perspective has faded and we fall back on old habits.

Here are a couple of tips from neuroscience for setting brain friendly intentions and then harnessing the power of your neurology to turn those intentions into reality, all year long.

Firstly, set the goals in 2 ways: the big WHY – why the goal or intention is important to you and what you will gain (or avoid) by achieving this. Robert Spunt from Caltech researched the difference between WHY and HOW goals, from a brain perspective. He found that setting WHY goals is energy intensive for the brain, so takes more effort, while chunking a goal into bite sized HOW pieces is much easier for the brain to focus on. Once you have determined your motivation or WHY break the goal down into concrete steps that you can begin working with now. 
Second step comes from the work of one of the leading thinkers in the world of behaviour change, Peter Gollwitzer. Gollwitzer recommends setting “if-then” intentions alongside your goal. This means setting a plan in place to take alternative action whenever the old habit starts up. For example, if you find yourself eating your lunch while working and not going for that walk, you could agree with a colleague or a friend that you will go and find them and they will join you for a walk around the block. Setting the intention beforehand primes your brain to remind you to take a different action, and creates stronger neural pathways for the new behaviour.

To summarise:
1. Set a goal or intention and write it down, stating what it is and why it is important to you.
2. Chunk that goal or intention into achievable concrete steps you can take now.
3. Decide what you will do if you slip back into old habits, using the if-then framework
4. Go ahead and make your goals a reality – and remember to celebrate – the dopamine system in the brain loves to be rewarded.........

I suspect Oscar Wilde didn’t know much about neuroscience when he said:
“Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere with scientific laws. Their origin is pure vanity. Their result is absolutely nil.”

But neuroscience now shows us how to use those scientific laws.
Our Brain New World Series
Can our understanding of the brain provide new insights for organisations and leaders? 
Join BrainLink Group Directors, Jenny, Terri and Norman for this Trans-Tasman series of highly informative talks and learn a neuroscience- and brain-based approach to enhance strategic thinking and organisational development, leverage productivity by understanding threat and reward, build leadership and team capability, improve personal productivity and manage your cognitive load, attention and priority setting
New Zealand
Monday 29th February         KPMG Wellington, CBD                                   Register here
Tuesday 1st March AM       Dunedin Public Art Gallery, CBD                        Register here
Tuesday 1st March PM       The George, CBD                                          Register here
Wednesday 2nd March        To be confirmed, CBD                                    Register here
Tuesday 8th March             Ether Conference Centre, CBD                        Register here
Wednesday 9th March        Pullman Brisbane King George Sq, CBD            Register here
Thursday 10th March          The Menzies Hotel, CBD                                 Register here
Friday 11th March               Adelaide Hilton, CBD                                     Register here 


MBSLA accreditation workshop - March 2016
Thursday 17th March, 9am - Saturday 19th March, 5pm                     Register here

Ether Conference Centre, 265 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Become part of a community of coaching and HR professionals who will be trained and accredited in this unique, brain-based, leadership assessment.

You will:
  • learn brain science that informs how you coach
  • learn what the results mean and how to use them to coach your clients
  • understand how your client can optimise their brains to enhance their leadership effectiveness
  • work with your clients to build their brain capacity and monitor progress through reassessment.An attendee of our recent Sydney workshop in November had the following to say:
"The recent 3-day accreditation workshop for the MyBrainSolutions Leadership Assessment tool was informative, well-paced, and provided plenty of opportunity for participants to practice debriefing the tool's results. Facilitators Terri Hunter and Jenny McDonald practised what they preach, making the 3-day workshop brain-friendly learning. Many thanks to all BrainLink staff who were involved in hosting this workshop"

Global MBSLA accreditation workshops:

17 - 19 March               Orange County, CA, USA              Register here

12 - 14 April                  Johannesburg, SA                         Register here

09 - 11 June                 Orange County, CA, USA              Register here

17 - 19 October            Silicon Valley, CA, USA                 Register here


ABL-X 2016 Global Conference:

20 - 21 October                                                                    Register here
Silicon Valley, CA, USA
Why Organisations Don't Learn
When you have a good chunk of free time, delve into this article published in the Harvard Business Review in November 2015. It discusses research which shows how our natural human biases - focusing on success, trying too hard, acting too quickly, and relying too much on experts - interfere with our organisation's capacity to become or remain a learning organisation, an important factor to being competitive and successful. This article then goes on to discuss strategies leaders can use to combat these biases in the workplace.

We hope you have enjoyed this issue of BRAINSMatter.

Please forward any contributions or comments to Cathy at or by replying to this email. We'd love to hear from you.

Terri Hunter        Jenny McDonald
Cathy Rich            Pippa Simm
Norman Chorn       Paul McDonald
Copyright © 2016 BrainLink Group, All rights reserved.

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