Entries from August 2009 ↓

RETHINK by Ric Merrifield

I had the great pleasure of reading “RETHINK” by Ric Merrifield. It is a business manifesto to cost cutting and innovation. Is not what we need especially in this era of shrinking economy and fast change? I find the approach of the author simple & easy to understand. He refers to the fundamental questionings: the WHATS & the HOWS. In a nutshell, he suggests focusing on the  ‘Whats’ to be out of the trap of the ‘Hows’.

This precisely fits in with the ongoing discussions I was having with Olivier the last week. The software engineering part of his business concerns more the HOWs, he has to look into more of the WHATs. Easier said than done!

In Rethink, consultant and business architect Ric Merrifield challenges business

leaders to open their eyes and view the operation of their companies in a whole

new way, free from the “how” trap of concentrating on how things are accomplished.

Delving deep into every aspect of business activities, Merrifield shows

readers how to escape this trap by looking past the “how” toward the “what.” He

also illustrates how successfully rethinking business goals and the methods used to

reach them can lead to revolutionary new ways to cut costs and optimize the corporate


Never has there been a more important time for company leaders to re-evaluate

and reorganize their operations to maximize efficiency and productivity.

Merrifield explains how successful changes to a company’s business processes can

only come from learning to predict potential behaviors, identify and categorize the

important “whats” by value.

Merrifield also warns that before making any modifications, even to a seemingly

low-value process, each factor must be carefully examined to find its connection

to high-value “whats.” These connections are often overlooked because they

can be hidden in personal, emotional or technological relationships and, if severed,

can bring disaster.

By using the tools of analysis illustrated by Merrifield, businesses will be able

to anticipate the unexpected discoveries that will result from rethinking and will

be able to rethink, find innovative new ways to achieve their “whats,” best their

competition and increase profitability.

I enjoyed the analysis of Ric’s account of ING direct USA strategy to rethink on retail banking.

Reflexion Dominicale

Mc 7,1-8.14-15.21-23.
Les pharisiens et quelques scribes étaient venus de Jérusalem. Ils se
réunissent autour de Jésus, et voient quelques-uns de ses disciples prendre leur repas avec des mains impures, c’est-à-dire non lavées. – Les pharisiens en effet, comme tous les Juifs, se lavent toujours soigneusement les mains avant de manger, fidèles à la tradition des anciens ; et au retour du marché, ils ne mangent pas avant de s’être aspergés d’eau, et ils sont attachés encore par tradition à beaucoup d’autres pratiques : lavage de coupes, de cruches et de plats. –
Alors les pharisiens et les scribes demandent à Jésus : « Pourquoi tes
disciples ne suivent-ils pas la tradition des anciens ? Ils prennent leurs repas sans s’être lavé les mains. »
Jésus leur répond : « Isaïe a fait une bonne prophétie sur vous,
hypocrites, dans ce passage de l’Écriture : Ce peuple m’honore des lèvres,
mais son
cœur est loin de moi.
Il est inutile, le culte qu’ils me rendent ; les doctrines qu’ils enseignent ne sont que des préceptes humains. Vous laissez de côté le commandement de Dieu pour vous attacher à la tradition des hommes. »
Il appela de nouveau la foule et lui dit : « Écoutez-moi tous, et comprenez
bien. Rien de ce qui est extérieur à l’homme et qui pénètre en lui ne peut le
rendre impur. Mais ce qui sort de l’homme, voilà ce qui rend l’homme impur.
Car c’est du dedans, du
cÅ“ur de l’homme, que sortent les pensées perverses
: inconduite, vols, meurtres, adultères, cupidités, méchancetés, fraude, débauche, envie, diffamation, orgueil et démesure. Tout ce mal vient du dedans, et rend l’homme impur. »

Le mot qui a  retenu mon attention ce matin à la lecture de Saint Matthieu, c’ est bien : CÅ“ur. En citant Isaïe notre Seigneur Jésus parle de hypocrisie du peuple qui a son cÅ“ur loin de lui, et encore Il se réfère au cÅ“ur de l’homme ou sortent les pensées perverses. Le cÅ“ur ou le fond de ce passage, qui semble être une réponse de défense des quelques uns de ses disciples contre une accusation des pharisiens pour leur non respect de la tradition et les rituels prescrits. Jésus d’abord se réfère aux pharisiens qui n’ont pas le cÅ“ur net : leur action n’étant pas en cohésion avec leurs pensées. Ils restent sur les détails, le paraitre, au lieu de se focaliser sur le cÅ“ur de l’évènement : l’essentiel. L’observance des rituels des anciens certes pourrait être sujet à des remarques mais ne constitue un rien contre l’essentiel qui était de partager un moment de relation et de cordialité avec notre Seigneur autour d’un repas.

Cela me donne à penser, les discussions vaines sur le rituel pré Vatican ou post Vatican qui font couler tant d’encres. L’essentiel n’est il pas de retrouver le recueillement dans la présence de Dieu et d’être en union avec Lui ? Peut importent dans la forme qu’une prière soit dite le cœur de l’objectif est bien de prendre conscience de la présence de notre Dieu créateur et d’être en relation avec Lui.

Donne moi Seigneur Jésus, d’avoir un cœur ouvert pour t’accueillir du dedans et de produire les fruits d’amour de Tu me nourris pour mon prochain. Fais que je sois à afflue de l’essentiel- mon regard vers Toi, L’eternel – que je consacre le plus de mon temps et énergie à Ton œuvre, au lieu de me perdre dans les meandres des petites choses terrestres sans importance qui vantent que mon ego.

Port Louis Cruise Hub Indian Ocean


The last time I was in Barcelona to join a Cruise, I was amazed by the Cruise terminal and the set up of the Port Terminal. Since traveling to the less prosperous countries of South America, I had the opportunity of using and testing more modest facilities.

In the Indian Ocean region, whilst Mauritius is the star Tourist destination, is it possible to build up Port Louis to be the  main hub of Cruise liners by setting up the appropriate facilities?

With the improving technologies with the latest  cruise ships, the ride could be as calm as in the Caribbean region. The Indian Ocean of our region would well be developed into a cruise ocean. This could well be a regional project spearheaded by ‘Commission de L’Ocean Indien.’ Adequate part facilities could be coordinated to be ready to allow cruises to operate in Mauritius, Reunion, Comoros, and ports of Madagascar.

One could very easily image the ripple effects that Cruise liners have on the economy of the countries?

We just need to have the vision and to go for it. Let us hope the right quarters can hear my plead.

Pragmatism & Deng Xiaoping

My thoughts, this morning are still digesting the text I read last night from Kishore Mahbubani on the need to be open-minded and pragmatic.On the other hand, I would encourage you to read the life path of Deng Xiaoping from whom we can take lessons.

At the beginning of the twenty first century, as we enter into one of the most intense period of change experienced by humanity, America is abandoning its pragmatist streak when it needs it most. We are moving into very uncertain political and economic terrains. It would be foolish to assume that the western ideological assumptions of the 19th and twentieth century will necessarily work in the twenty first century. It would be wiser to keep an open mind and to challenge every ideological assumption embedded in our minds. Pragmatism is the best guiding spirit we can as we have as we venture into the new century. It is therefore only appropriate to quote once again the greatest pragmatism of the twentieth century, Deng Xiaoping: ‘it does not matter whether a cat is black or white; if it catches mice, it is a good cat.’

I cannot prevent me to flash back to my grandfather with whom I had the great privilege to have been closed to during his retirement years when he took up the projects of looking after the repairs and maintenance of some of the family properties. It was precisely his open-minded thinking and pragmatism that struck me. In his own words he told me: do not be ideological, understand the underlying principles of any theory then apply them in your practice using your good sense. Good thinking is through good questioning and hard work.

How I would have loved to think that these open-mindedness and pragmatism are traits of Hakkas?

Tim Smit & Social Enterprises

Corporate Social Responsibility seems to be now  a buzz word in Mauritius. The government would like to see the involvement of the private sector in shouldering the burden of the social pains. Is not the responsibility of the government to look into this aspect through the ministry of social affairs? It would appear that by lowering the taxes, the government would be introducing some other types of revenue earning devises through compulsory payment. Is it fair or not? At this stage I would stay on the fence. We have still to evaluate the use of the compulsory tax levied on training and the benefits derived from it. How can we break the ingrained mentality that is prevailing in the public sector that tenure is over riding productivity?

However, this article which was published on the Guardian in January 2009 is enlightening and has some food for thoughts. Is it possible to start Social enterprises in Mauritius?

Think bigger and better

Social enterprise is not just about tiny community projects: it is a model for running big business and public services alike

Have you noticed how everybody talks about us as if the words “charity” and “competence” don’t go together? This indicates to me that the first battle for social enterprise is a psychological one. I would like to think that companies such as Unilever, Shell and BP could be social enterprises – and that anyone running a social enterprise should aspire to be good enough to run organisations like that well.

It is my view that there are a number of private businesses that should be social enterprises: water, energy maybe, and railways?

One of the real big cons about social enterprise is that there is a belief that the private sector is rigorous and professional and dynamic. But many of the best charities are run like very, very fine businesses, and a lot of companies I come across are run like accidents.

Innovation comes from the confidence to trust your instincts, having the bravery not to believe that hidden in the endless array of business management manuals is the secret to being Gordon Gekko. The truth is that they are all bibles, they are all motherhood and apple pie, and they are all bollocks. When you read The Harvard MBA in 10 Days, it does not tell you anything about attitude. But it is attitude and values that should distinguish a social enterprise.

Transformative power

Social enterprise is hugely important, but we need to be more bullish about its potential – to understand its transformative power, not in terms of getting jobs for people who previously found it difficult. That’s kind of a loser’s mentality. What we should be about is talking about how we can transform services in this country to act efficiently and how we can bring wealth back to a wider stakeholder group.

We’ve got to get the news out to the people about social enterprises, but there is no definition of a social enterprise. The soppy one is: it is an organisation with the rigour of the private sector and the citizenship values of the public sector. But the real battle for us is to think of rules of engagement that can actually bring that welding power of private and public together for a greater good.

Last year I spoke at the 40th anniversary of Resurgence magazine, and asked the audience if they believed that everybody on Earth should have access to clean drinking water. They all put their hands up. I asked them who supported WaterAid, a fabulous charity, and almost everybody put their hands up. Then I asked who believed WaterAid could provide clean drinking water to everybody on Earth. Nobody put their hands up. I laid into the audience. I said: “The problem is you’re in love with hippie shit.”

The truth is that the very organisations that make your tummy turn, because your politics suggest you shouldn’t be supporting them, are the only people capable of it. Shell, ExxonMobil: these companies have the project management, the drilling skills to actually do this stuff.

That is our battle ground. It’s to grow up and not take the baggage of the 60s – the radical chic of being pro-business or anti-business – with us into the next phase of our development. We need to understand that there is a new configuration developing, and if we can’t bring business together with the sort of value driven systems that we have, that will be our failure.

So if we are going to talk about innovation, the starting proposition is to leave some of that old baggage behind, and not to demonise any particular sector, but to look at how we can do things better.

Eden is a social enterprise, which we built out of innocence. We were fortunate that it was in a place of great deprivation, which meant there was a predisposition in government officers who were looking after that area to look at anything that might bail us out of a really awkward situation. But it was built completely out of innocence. I went to the local development committee and said I had this great idea to build the eighth wonder of the world [in Cornwall]. I had no business plan, but said they had to believe me that it was going to be absolutely fantastic. They gave me £25,000 to go away. Then I raised a bit more money, and very soon we had a little fighting pot and went to see the Millennium Commission. It, eventually awarded us half of the then project cost of £74m.

We brought the Eden Project in on time and on budget, and have since invested £130m.

If you were to ask me, if you were to put a rusty razorblade to my throat and say, you have one minute to say why you did it, it would be that we wanted to find the most derelict place on Earth and create life in it. We then wanted to show how clever human beings are, by building something totally fit for purpose, which I hope we did.

I wanted to run a place that had the values of sustainability. We do fantastic local sourcing – 90% of everything we consume at Eden is locally sourced, our waste strategy is highly regarded, waste neutral. It is a lot easier than people say. But ultimately, I wanted to see how we could answer the question, what does a great place to work feel like?

Piddling little things

Our social enterprise at Eden cost £130m and has already put £800m back into the Cornish economy – which is more than double the entire money that has come from Europe for the whole of the south-west. So to think of social enterprises as being piddling little things that you have to talk about in hushed library tones is nonsense.

All over the country, as a result of the climate change debate, there is going to be an opportunity for starting new energy companies that will link agricultural production with all sorts of different aspects of the economy. These drivers of energy are fantastic areas for social enterprise. And they’re social because if you set them up regionally then everyone who lives in that region is likely to buy their energy from that company, and if they know that their purchases will create profits that can be used to pay for social benefits in those areas, it is a wonderful virtuous circle that means the revenue is going back to stakeholders, and so on.

I think it’s fantastically exciting, because we can do it and it works. I think social enterprise is the future model for organising our collective state assets.

· Tim Smit is chief executive and co-founder of the Eden Project in Cornwall. This is an edited extract from his speech to the Social Enterprise Coalition Voice 07 conference last week.

Saint Louis IX Roi de France

Aujourd’hui le 25 Aout, c’est la fête de Saint Louis, le saint Patron de l’église de Maurice et de la capitale du pays. En grande pompe la cite de Port Louis fête chaque année cette événement. J’ai en mémoire un statut de Saint Louis qui est placé sur les parvis de la place de la CATHEDRALE, à présent reconvertis en espace vert. Je pense qu’il est opportun pour moi en ce jour de parfaire mes connaissances sur ce roi France. Pourquoi son nom était choisi pour être le nom de Port Louis ? Qui était ce Louis et qu’a-t-il laissé en héritage pour que son nom transcende les siècles ? C’est également mon Saint Patron, tout comme mon Père, Louis France, Louis est un de mes noms et pour continuer la tradition, Louis est egalement un des noms de mon fils. Est-ce par rapport au  père Louis Souci, le prête canadien, que mon père estimé énormément ?

Je vous livre mes notes de lecture de ce jour sur mon Saint Patron:

Des nombreuses villes ont êtes nommes en mémoire de Saint Louis IX notamment au Québec, aux états unis d’Amérique, Haïti et au Sénégal.

J’ai souvent lu l’expression française : paiement en Louis d’or. C’est bien pendant son règne que les louis d’or ont pris de l’essor.

L’ordonnance de 1263 assure une bonne monnaie. Il installe au Temple une commission financière chargée du contrôle des comptes royaux, renforçant la structure mise en place en 1190 par son grand-père Philippe Auguste, dessinant la future Cour des Comptes. Louis IX connut un rayonnement au delà de son royaume. Le XIIIe siècle reste dans l’histoire comme “le siècle d’or de saint Louis”. La France, centre des arts et de la vie intellectuelle grâce, entre autres, à la Sorbonne, y atteint son apogée aussi bien économiquement que politiquement. Louis IX commande la plus grande armée et dirige le plus grand royaume d’Europe. Sa réputation de sainteté et de justice est déjà bien établie de son vivant et on le choisit régulièrement comme arbitre pour régler les querelles entre grands d’Europe. Le roi est considéré comme le primus inter pares (le premier parmi ses pairs).

L’architecte Eugene Viollet le Duc par exemple, avance l’hypothèse qu’il était un homme politique rusé et habile pour consolider son pouvoir et agrandir son royaume. À l’époque, les grands féodaux (barons, ducs), comme la dynastie des Coucy opposaient une concurrence farouche au roi de France. Ils se querellaient constamment et manigançaient parfois contre la personne même du roi. Louis IX sut, en se montrant comme un saint, utiliser l’appât du gain de ses barons pour les inciter à participer aux croisades. Peu des grands féodaux qui y participèrent revinrent en France, et Louis IX put mettre la main sur leurs terres et leurs possessions. Ceux qui avaient survécu furent ruinés par l’expédition, si bien qu’il devinrent alors plus dépendants du roi pour leur sécurité.

Ses mesures contre les « péchés » démontrent une ferveur religieuse, mais elles démontrent aussi un fin esprit politique. Tout en se gagnant les faveurs de l’Église, il gagnait aussi la faveur des gens très pieux de l’époque. Il en gardait ainsi un meilleur contrôle sur son royaume, et une légitimité accrue.

Sa modernisation de l’administration, et son renforcement de la justice du roi étaient les dernières pièces de l’architecture politique qu’il s’était bâtie afin d’accroître ses pouvoirs et ceux de ses descendants sur le trône des Capétiens.

Louis IX réussit ainsi à poser les fondations d’un royaume de France, uni sous un roi de droit divin. Il y parvint par une subtile politique qui était beaucoup plus efficace que de se quereller avec ses vassaux et essayer de les soumettre par la force.

Cependant, Louis IX fidèle à la mission d’évangélisation garde, en son for intérieur, l’espoir de les convertir. En bon croyant il les protège donc de toute exaction.

Memory, NLP & Neuro Science

How Much of Your Memory Is True?

New research shows that memories are constantly being re-written by our minds.

by Kathleen McGowan

This interesting article appeared on the July-August issue of Discovery magazine. I am indebted to Olivier who sent me the link. He knows my very keen interest in Neuro-Science, memory, emotions, and decisions.

I would like to highlight from the article a comment on addiction. This gives me a new thinking on addiction and it could lead in finding better resolve to the numerous drug addicts in our country.

Addiction is another kind of pathological remembering, but in this case the memory is pleasurable. Just as adrenaline sears emotional memories into the brain with the help of the amygdala, drugs of abuse enlist the amygdala and the brain’s reward centers to forge unforgettable memories of pleasure. Anything connected to the bliss reawakens the memory, in the form of craving. “When you see someone with a beer and a smoke and you get a craving, you are suffering from reminiscence, from an emotional memory,” Brunet says. Adapting experimental methods of forgetting to addiction might make it easier to quit.

From by NLP training, I have experienced the rewriting of a person “past history” almost permanently. Does that prove the statement made by Nader?

“For a hundred years, people thought memory was wired into the brain,” Nader says. “Instead, we find it can be rewired.”

I had always believed that civilisations with short history had restricted future, and civilisations that are rooted in a long past has a longer future. People who can draw from its ancestry, seem to have more to draw from to build a more creative long future.

“Having a memory that is too accurate is not always good,” he says. Put another way, memory and imagination are two sides of the same coin. Like memory, imagination allows you to put yourself in a time and place other than the one we actually occupy. This isn’t just a clever analogy: In recent neuroimaging studies, Harvard psychologist Daniel Schacter has shown that remembering and imagining mobilize many of the same brain circuits. “When people are instructed to imagine events that might happen in their personal future and then to remember actual events in the past, we find extensive and very striking overlap in areas of brain activation,” he says. Other researchers have found that people with severe amnesia lose their ability to imagine. Without memory, they can barely picture the future at all.

It is suggested in the document that the exercise of remembering and rewriting of our memory is done. I have been taught through several NLP protocols to achieve precisely this outcome.

That is basically what all these scientists hope to do. Nader, Brunet, and Pitman are now expanding their PTSD study with a new, $6.7 million grant from the U.S. Army, looking for drugs that go beyond propranolol. They are increasingly convinced that reconsolidation will prove to be a powerful and practical way to ease traumatic memories. Sacktor also believes that some version of the techniques they apply in the lab will eventually be used to help people. Most recently, LeDoux’s lab has figured out a way to trigger reconsolidation without drugs to weaken memory, simply by carefully timing the sessions of remembering. “The protocol is ridiculously simple,” LeDoux says.

None of these researchers are looking to create brain-zapped, amoral zombies—or even amnesiacs. They are just trying to take control of the messy, fragile biological process of remembering and rewriting and give it a nudge in the right direction. Brunet’s patients remember everything that happened, but they feel a little less tortured by their own pathological powers of recollection. “We’re turning traumatic memories into regular bad memories,” Brunet says. “That’s all we want to do.”

In the nutshell, I am fascinated to note the amount of practices of NLP that find plausible explanations through the newer discoveries in Neuro-science. To be realistic, it will not to be surprising also to learn that some other practices of NLP are not founded in the new discoveries.

Reflexion Dominicale

Jn 6,60-69.
Jésus avait dit dans la synagogue de Capharnaüm : « Celui qui mange ma
chair et boit mon sang a la vie éternelle. »

Beaucoup de ses disciples, qui avaient entendu, s’écrièrent : « Ce qu’il dit là est
intolérable, on ne peut pas continuer à l’écouter ! »
Jésus connaissait par lui-même ces récriminations des disciples. Il leur
dit : « Cela vous heurte ? Et quand vous verrez le Fils de l’homme monter là où il était auparavant ? C’est l’esprit qui fait vivre, la chair n’est capable de rien. Les paroles que je vous ai dites sont esprit et elles sont vie.
Mais il y en a parmi vous qui ne croient pas. »

Jésus savait en effet depuis le commencement qui étaient ceux qui ne croyaient pas, et celui qui le livrerait.
Il ajouta : « Voilà pourquoi je vous ai dit que personne ne peut venir à
moi si cela ne lui est pas donné par le Père. »
A partir de ce moment, beaucoup de ses disciples s’en allèrent et cessèrent
de marcher avec lui.
Alors Jésus dit aux Douze : « Voulez-vous partir, vous aussi ? »
Simon-Pierre lui répondit : « Seigneur, vers qui pourrions-nous aller ? Tu
as les paroles de la vie éternelle.
Quant à nous, nous croyons, et nous savons que tu es le Saint, le Saint de
Dieu. »

Si j’étais présent avec ses disciples à Capharnaüm, ayant dans ma pensée et la volonté de rechercher un messie libérateur et que le soi disant messie, me demande de manger sa chair et de boire son sang, J’aurai certainement cessé de l’écouter.

Comment un libérateur aurait pu me sortir de mes conditions de misère humaine et de domination de Romains par des mots incompréhensibles ? Heurtés et déçus j’aurai pris la clef des champs.

Comment comprendre que ma volonté et ma croyance puissent être assujetti de la volonté du Père du prétendant Messie ? Assez, j’aurai cherché ailleurs !

Et c’est bien cela que le texte, nous demande : lire et entendre avec l’esprit et non la chair ! C’est un changement de paradigme ! Vivre de l’esprit et non de la chair.

En modifiant le registre de mon point de vue comme Simon Pierre qui nous replace dans la fidélité à notre Dieu envers et contre tout, et en doublant notre foi dans la sainteté de Dieu au-delà de nos besoins de chair- physiques, nous pourrions aspirer à la vie éternelle- le fruit que nous proposer le messie, le sauveur de notre âme pas notre corps de chair.

Seigneur, nous qui sommes fait de chair et d’esprit, sommes souvent dans une confusion totale. Nous sommes tirés par les deux bouts : de temps en temps par l’esprit et plus souvent par la chair qui semble être plus facile. Oui, nous avons besoin d’être choisi par notre Père céleste pour nous sortir de notre dilemme.

Dans nos moments de tiraillements, viens Seigneur à notre secours. Viens nous éclairer de ta lumière. Fais nous comprendre que vivre de l’esprit est plus important que tout. Ainsi si nous vivons de l’esprit sur terre, nous sommes et serons déjà dans Ta gloire. Te rejoindre dans la vie éternelle, n’est ce t il pas notre quête?

Les Amoureux de Peynet

Ce matin, ma grasse matinée au lit, je regardais les dernières informations sur Telematin. Et voila que mon attention était dirigée à un petit documentaire sur Raymond Peynet. A priori le nom de Raymond Peynet ne m’invoqué rien de particulier.

Au fil du reportage, un sentiment de nostalgie m’envahi. Les illustrations et gravures de Raymond Peynet montrées à l’écran me faisait revivre des moments joyeux de ma vie où quarante ans de cela, je me trouvais pour la première fois visitant les quais de Paris.

1968. Je flânais dans Paris et faisais la découverte de cette grande capitale Française, ville de l’amour. Voila, je retrouve les cartes postales que j’avais achetés pour affranchir à mes amis et parents.


Aujourd’hui quarante ans après, je découvre l’auteur des gravures des ces cartes postales, d’un gout quelque peu coquin et apprend que Raymond Peynet était mondialement connu et qui avait plusieurs musées dissimulés en France, Japon, et Chine pour faire valoir ses œuvres.

Quelque bonheur d’avoir vu beaucoup d’eau passé sous les ponts et de pouvoir revivre les souvenirs.

Neuroscience & Leadership

I was so excited yesterday to read the Special Report of Soundview on The Brain Behind Business: How the New Neuroscience Is Changing Leadership.

Two of my favourite themes, leadership and Neuroscience, were combined, for my pleasure. My mind was so to say, reformatted instantly as I read through the document, especially at this time, when I was diligently preparing the NLP practitioner Group’s material for discussions.

The new discoveries in Neuroscience cast a new light on the functioning of the Brain, which in some cases affirming to the long time practices of human in leadership skills and in other cases dispelling others. But perhaps more importantly they are bringing in hereto new practices.

The social aspect of the Brain is now a new term and its discovery is being developed. Interestingly enough I am wondering on the break throughs that are possible with the development of Social networks and collective intelligence brought by the Face book, YouTube, flickr, and the like.

The Neuroscience of Leadership

In 2006,Strategy+Business magazine published a groundbreaking article titled “The Neuroscience of Leadership” by David Rock,CEO of Results Coaching Systems, and Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz. Rock is a management coach and the author of Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to

Transforming Performance at Work, Personal Best and Your Brain at Work, which will be published in October 2009. Schwartz isa research psychiatrist at the School of Medicine at the

University of California, LosAngeles, whose books include The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force and Brain Lock :Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior.

In the story for Strategy+Business, Rock and Schwartz explain how many companies, such as Toyota and Springfield Remanufacturing Corp, have been able to create successful

business models by tapping into corporate practices that “resonate deeply with the innate predispositions of the human brain.”

Rock and Schwartz point out that 20 years of neuroscience research have given scientists and psychologists a better perspective on the ways people consciously and subconsciously

act and respond to their environments.

They write: “Imaging technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging

(fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), along with brain wave analysis technologies such as quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) have revealed hitherto unseen neural connections in the living human brain.”

With the help of the latest breakthroughs in computer analysis, researchers have been able to link their theoretical work with the brain and the ways it thinks, feels, responds and perceives.

According to Rock and Schwartz, here are six things the latest research by neuroscientists can teach managers and executives about the art and craft of leadership:

1. Change can be painful because it can trigger physiological discomfort.

2. Behaviorism, “based on typical incentives and threats (the carrot and the stick),” doesn’t work for very long.

3. Constructive performance feedback, which means, “Politely tell people what they are doing

wrong,” doesn’t engage people.

4. Paying attention creates chemical and physical reactions in the brain.

5. Our expectations and preconceptions shape our reality.

6. Repeated, purposeful and focused attention can lead to long-lasting personal evolution.

The Social Nature of the Brain

Since the publication of “The Neuroscience of Leadership,” Rock continues to explore and write about what leaders can learn from new brain research. He has been fascinated by the latest discoveries in the social nature of the brain.

In an exclusive interview, Rock says that a major shift has taken place in the way neuroscientists understand how attention changes the brain. He explains,

“What we are seeing now is that attention is so much a function of the social environment. The brain is attuned to avoid social threats, like a drop in status; and to achieve social rewards, like a sense of connectedness with people.

The big surprise has been that the brain networks for social pain and pleasure use very similar networks for physical threats and rewards. This means that Maslow was kind of wrong—to the

brain, the social is as important as the physical.”