SUMMER, 2020 |
Cutting-edge programs for advanced leadership and team development
THRIVING IN unprecedented change
by srini pillay, m.d.
Welcome to this new era—one filled with massive unknowns. To some, these unknowns are scary and intimidating. To others, they are simply unknowns, inviting step-by-step analysis or interventions. What's the answer? Nobody knows. Yet, there's a guide to thinking and feeling your way through this. And that's what FLOW will help you discover and customize for you and your organization.
There are many people and programs claiming to know the way forward. Some will be right, and others will be wrong. We will only know this in retrospect, and because we were right before, does not mean that we will ever be right again. The current prediction is that most companies in the Fortune 500 will no longer be in the index in 2027. That's just 7 years from now. How could that be?
"In 1958, corporations listed in the S&P 500 had an average stay of 61 years. By 1980, numbers from research firm Innosight reveal that the average stay had declined sharply to 25 years. In 2011, the average tenure dropped to 18 years. At the present rate of churn, Innosight’s research estimates three-quarters of today’s S&P 500 will be replaced by 2027" Harvard Business Review, July 2017
With this in mind, can you be secure? No. Should you be secure? Absolutely not. Should you be anxious? When it suits you...when it moves you forward...and when you can't help but be anything else.
And that's where we and our partners come in. Together, we will work with you to be the most helpful conversation partners that we can be as you navigate this unchartered terrain.
If you're too anxious, we will show you ways that you can be less anxious. If you're not anxious enough, we can help you become more innovative to conjure up productive anxiety. And if you simply want to be ushered in and take things one-step-at-a-time, we can do that too, helping you build the confidence that you need every step of the way.
Whether your needs are leadership development, mindset strategies, or business strategies, we will help you find the resources you need to build the architectures that will endure through the earthquakes of uncertainty whether they are pandemics, political unrest, or pressures from the inside and outside.
So, welcome to this brand new issue of FLOW—a resource that will likely inspire some thoughts in you, whether you hire us and our partners, or not.
“Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.”
I am so, so glad to be in this with you. I've worked my entire life to be as ideal a partner as I can be to help you think through this anxiety-provoking mystery called life. And when I did, I never knew that this is what was happening, or what would come to be. With love, integrity, and humility....
NEW ERA MINDSET
After World War I there was a movement that shook the world called "surrealism." André Breton and his contemporaries rejected the hyperrational pre-war sensibilities in favor of this new approach that opposed convention, linearity and perception. The result in the upcoming years was breathtaking.
Dali's melting clocks, Magritte's pipes that were not pipes (even though they looked like them), and André Breton himself in the throes of free-writing, spilling whatever was in his consciousness onto the page without an editor or filter. What sounded like it might be chaos captured the imagination of the world, and in fact, was not at all as disordered as it seemed. It took time, discipline and order to engage in these expressions.
Since then, neuroscience has proven the malleability of time—that the past and the future can be depicted in the brain at the same time. Magritte's pipes were in fact simply pictures of pipes—representations that matter. Neuroscience teaches us much about how our mental representations can change the way we act and feel. And Breton's free writing mirrored Freud's discoveries that neuroscience has now proven: not only do we not dream in straight lines, but the less we live, imagine and act this way, the more intelligent our decision-making.
In fact, yesterday's business goals of calmness have been thwarted by the oh-so-surreal lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, and businesses now realize that navigating the hazardous terrain of R&D, competition, digital transformation, and virtual teams is not going to be a 3-step process, but a voyage of discovery for which they must not just be prepared, responsive, and appropriately reactive, but also ANTIFRAGILE—able to thrive in the midst of unprecedented chaos.
While this might not seem to even be possible except for a fortunate few, as a leadership development expert, psychiatrist, brain-imaging researcher, technology entrepreneur, musician and poet, I believe that this is not only possible but necessary. The good news is, this is not new to you. You just didn't think of it that way.
Every day in your life there is disorder all around you. Murder, suicides, illnesses, births, deaths, tornadoes. You've managed through all of this. The immense future is not newly unknown—it always was.
The key is to stop looking for "answers", and instead, to look for the best ways to move forward—to stop believing that expertise is superior to your own instincts; it never is—and to stop obsessing over "how" to succeed or "why" something happens, but to treat these questions and their supposed answers as possibilities, and to learn how to interact with possibilities instead.
I have partnered with some of the world's most advanced thinkers on engaging possibility to help you thrive in disorder. The answers are within you. They always were. And soon, you will discover how to access them.
complexity is the new calm
"What leaders need during a crisis is not a predefined response plan but behaviors and mindsets that will prevent them from overreacting to yesterday’s developments and help them look ahead."
McKinsey &Co., 2020
Your brain has 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections. Its complexity is unparalleled, Yet many of its secrets are knowable, and business leaders can benefit from understanding them.
Businesses are made up of people. People have brains. Brains have conscious and unconscious components. And the unconscious components are what largely determine behavior.
Strategy is all about team structure and function. Yet, this will come to naught if there is not a mindset strategy to accompany it so that unconscious challenges can be anticipated or met with greater ease.
STRATEGY WITHOUT A MINDSET APPROACH ADDS TO CONSCIOUS CHAOS.
After the COVID-19 epidemic, organizations face three levels of challenges:
Transitional: e.g. working virtually or the slow integration of a workforce in stages
A new order: e.g. changing customer demands or behaviors
Thriving forward: e.g. R&D to stay relevant or learning to be creative in disorder
Strategy firms can help you with the macroscopic picture. For example, McKinsey & Co.'s "nerve center integration" model can help you make structural and functional rearrangements to your team. This could prove to be invaluable to leaders and their teams.
Duke CE's approach of integrated expertise would bring you the best of the best in thinking partners too.
Mobius Executive Leadership will add spirit and strategy to your leadership approach.
And we at NeuroBusiness Group (NBG) will bring you these and other world-class partnerships that will help leaders and their teams through each of the challenges above.
Understanding the brain is not helpful in isolation. So I've created a leadership and team mindset strategy that relies heavily on
Brain science (e.g. Why does goal-directed coaching disorganize the brain?)
Computational neuroscience (e.g. What do computer models teach us how leaders can be more agile?),
Cognitive science (e.g. How do you decrease brain blood flow to be less anxious and more confident?),
Psychodynamic models (e.g. What leadership and team unconscious defenses are decreasing brain function and strategic speed?)
Philosophy (e.g. How does Aristotle help us develop meaning and purpose and bolster brain function within organizations?)
Development (e.g. How do you develop curiosity in the brain?)
Art (e.g. How can you bolster creativity by using principles of art and brain science?)
Design (e.g. How do software design, and agile and lean principles help us redesign the brain for leadership and team strategies?)
The Body (e.g. How does sitting impact creativity and the brain?)
Business research (e.g. What business mindsets worked and did not work in the prior recession?
Using a customized combination of these elements along with partners who excel in guiding organizations to success, NBG can help you now.
MINDSET OVER MATTER
WHY BRAIN SCIENCE?
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from stressors strongly enough to endure the next phase of development. In the brain, the orbitofrontal cortex is one region that promotes resilience. Brain science teaches us that this region activates when you are rewarded, in control of your emotions, satisfied with life, and have a balance of earthly pleasures and meaning and purpose.
One of the key brain structures implicated in being resilient is the amygdala. Yes, it registers anxiety, but it does much more than that. Brain science teaches us that is calms down when there is social support, and that it, together with the brain's conflict detector are the alarms that will go off when there is no psychological safety on teams.
At the center of resilience, is the ability to adapt to adversity. But this ability is not as obvious as it seems. Just as an umbrella will not protect you from a torrential storm, simply taking things one-step-at-a time, while helpful, may not be enough.
My barn, having burned down, I can now see the moon.
Mizuta Masahide (17th century Japanese poet and samurai)
Major reframes may be needed, even when it appears as if not much has changed. And reframing is not just another way of thinking. It is looking at things from the outside in (What do leaders and teams feel?), from the inside out (What do customers feel?), all around (What are our competitors thinking?), from deep within (How can I disrupt myself?), and from high up (How do we fit in the big picture), or from another world (How must we change to meet the changed world)?
NBG uses a comprehensive model of resilience that incorporates many ideas that are represented in our multidisciplinary approach. And we work closely with our partners too.
Using a model based on what actually changes the brain reliably, you can learn:
How to make change easier
How to make uncertainty less threatening
How to worry less
How to feel less overwhelmed
How to build a stronger sense of meaning and purpose
Contact Paula Parker at
to find out more about how we can help leaders and your teams become more resilient with our VIRTUAL or in-person programs.
"The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better."
Antifragility & Neosurrealism: Making Art from Garbage
We would like to imagine that the human brain works in perfect order, but in reality, it is far more complex. The good news, is that this complexity can be harnessed to thrive in disorder. In fact, in an unpredictable world, there are two approaches that help the new and revised NBG approach that I am calling NEOSURREALISM.
The "surrealism" aspect addresses a fact from brain science: neurons function best at the edge of chaos, and the brain that works on multiple planes at the same time will make more intelligent decisions. This kind of complex brain function is what is needed. In fact, people who are depressed have "more order" in their brains; when psychedelic drugs produce transient insights, this kind of parallel processing increases brain disorder. The "neo" part of neosurrealism is that rather than eschewing order altogether, I believe that there IS order within disorder. And we must also probe certain structures of order. Within disorder, architecture may be solid or fluid. NBG will help you translate these abstractions to business mindsets. (e.g. improvisational techniques such as an intention to share experience can be taught at the very deepest level.)
What does it mean to thrive in disorder? Metaphorically, to thrive means that you leverage the winds to sail, that your failed cake becomes a pudding, that you lean into a bend at full speed rather than slowing down, or as in the video above, you make art from garbage. In business, these metaphors are harder to translate, but I have worked with leaders in their respective fields to translate this into what is relevant at work. The following programs: that can be delivered VIRTUALLY or IN-PERSON.
NBG: Inquire about our programs that use brain science to help leaders and their teams:
Become more agile
Become more creative
Thrive in disorder
Fourth Space Design: Inquire about our programs that use brain science and principles of creativity together with MIT-based Ph.D. artist Aithan Shapira to help leaders and their teams
Thrive in change
Center for Existential Confidence: Inquire about our programs that use brain science and principles of philosophy together with one of the founders of executive coaching, Jim Selman, to help leaders and their teams:
Thrive in uncertainty
Navigate strategic challenges without control
Develop a strong sense of self-sufficiency to thrive in chaos
SupraQuantum Leadership: Inquire about our programs that use brain science and principles of early-brain development together with world renowned development expert Bobbi DePorter, to help leaders and their teams:
Boost curiosity to thrive in uncertainty
Develop a gamer's mindset to thrive in uncertainty
Emergence—Defined by Chaos, Driven by Design: Inquire about our programs that use brain science and agile, lean and green principles together with software and design expert, Bob Gower, to help leaders and their teams:
Redesign leadership and communication systems to thrive
Develop brand eccentricity to break through the online noise
Develop an entropic organization to optimize complexity
30/7/U: Inquire about our programs that use brain science and principles of physical wellness together with former top Equinox trainer in the US, Brandon Kolar, to help leaders and their teams:
Connect the mind and body in specific ways to thrive
Integrate mind-body practices in into daily living
When you work with NBG, we will help you connect the various elements in these "strive to thrive" programs to your company's strategy, and also work with our strategic partners such as Duke CE and Mobius Executive Leadership to scale these processes within your organization.
Mindset competencies: antifragility
We have designed a program to help you get your team back to work seamlessly. Whether right at the beginning or to iron out hitches mid-way, NBG can help team optimization. Contact Paula Parker to find out more:
team preparation for GETTING BACK TO WORK
Looking for a keynote speaker? I will help leaders and teams optimize performance using brain science tools that are simple, effective, practical, and easy to implement. If you are interested, contact Paula Parker at
A virtual reality PROGRAM
Working from home may sound amazing to many, but it can get old fast. Also, working around anxious people at work is not going to be a breeze. In either instance, you may need an escape into another world. And we have just the solution for you.
Reulay is a brain-based virtual reality app that is designed to elevate the human experience. As the chief medical office of Reulay, I have designed a 7-step brain-based approach to alleviating stress and anxiety. Reulay is designed to help you feel more calm, in-control, more creative, and more confident. And when you take time off, it will help you enhance your complexity too.
What you will need:
10-minutes to yourself
Reulay Inc is part of the Facebook Oculus ISV Program - a program that works with enterprise developers and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to engage with Oculus, so if you invest in the future by getting an Oculus headset, Reulay can be delivered to you as well.
When might Reulay be helpful?
Scenario 1: You've had a busy day at work. Your e-mail box is filled with worse and worse news. You simply wish you could go to sleep and get up again to face a new day, but there's no rest in sight. In fact, it's just 2 pm. What should you do?
Time to Reulay
Scenario 2: You were fine an hour ago, but now your mind is all over the place. You just need to get your mind back on track, but you can't, no matter how hard you try. What should you do?
Time to Reulay
Scenario 3: You're bored out of you mind. You have nothing to do. You don't feel like working. And you don't want to meditate or use any kind of effort to relieve your mind. What should you do?
Time to Reulay
REULAY BLUE DOOR
Reulay BLUE DOOR is our partner program with premium luxury brands. If you are a premium luxury brand, contact us to understand the tremendous benefits that come with Reulay Blue Door. Some of these advantages include:
Access to our experience lab to world class creatives from Harvard & MIT who will help you develop dynamic brand eccentricity to cut through the online noise
Special discount and custom partner programs
Contact Paula Parker at
to find out more
Contact Paula Parker at email@example.com
to find out more about how we help family businesses
THE BRAIN AND FAMILY BUSINESS
Workplaces are often stress incubators, and if you are working from home, your home will likely become identified as one too.
How do you manage mental health challenges at work? And how can you help empower your workforce? As a practicing Harvard-trained psychiatrist and leadership development expert, I am well positioned to help you deal with mental health problems in the workplace. That's why LinkedIn Learning reached out to me to teach their online courses in depression, anxiety and addictions in the workplace.
Mental health challenges such as stress, depression, and anxiety impact the individuals suffering from these illnesses as well as the workplaces themselves. Job stress costs workplaces $300 billion annually with increased absenteeism and presenteeism, as well as decreased engagement.
How can you reduce the stigma around mental health?
What help is out there?
In addition to traditional care, what else can you do for yourself and your team?
How do you change your brain blood flow to feel better?
If you are interested in a virtual keynote on depression or anxiety in the workplace (or at home), please contact Paula Parker at
extErnal VIRTUAL transformational neurocoaching
Join me online to become certified in Transformational Neurocoaching (TN)
What is transformational neurcoaching?
TN utilizes principles of brain science to facilitate behavior change, enhance resilience, and build antifragility. It is "transformational" because the learning is experiential, and the concepts are based on cognitive and psychodynamic research, together with brain science to solidify abstract ideas.
Practitioners will emerge from the program with a program to transform themselves that they can apply with their own clients as well.
Some concepts covered are:
The science of possibility
Understanding psychological defenses
If you are interested in a new program to upgrade your skills and do a deep dive into your own psychology to be able to help others, contact Paula Parker at
in-house virtual transformational neurocoaching certification
New ideas for a new era: Embed and scale brain-based interventions throughout your organization. See external virtual certification for more details.
Srini Pillay, M.D.
Srini Pillay M.D. is the CEO of NeuroBusiness Group, voted one of the Top 20 movers an shakers in leadership development in the world (Training Industry.) He comes to leadership development as a certified master executive coach, Harvard-trained psychiatrist and brain imaging researcher. As a physician, he still has an active clinical practice, and he works 1:1 as a coach with executives as well.
His background as a physician and biotechnology researcher gives him a specific depth of experience within pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
His background as a technology entrepreneur allows him to work with technology teams with depth as well.
And his background as a musician, poet and creative scientist allows him to understand creative operations within companies more deeply too.
Current and past corporate involvement:
Leadership development in non-profits such as the UN and World Bank
Food and Beverage, Insurance and health insurance Fortune 500 consulting companies,
Think tank at McKinsey & Co. on adult learning and leadership development
LinkedIn Learning Instructor on depression, anxiety, neuroscience and addictions in the workplace
Board member: FRED Leadership
If you are interested in hiring him: Contact Paula Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org