Tag Archives: groups

Brains: A users manual

I just realized that I have been writing this blog for a few months and I have not yet written much about brains, learning, thinking, and behaving. WHOA! If you know me, or you have been in a class with me you know I talk about this stuff all of the time. I need to say something about the 3-pound (or so) cranial powerhouse we are all packing around up there. Oh sure, the things I have been writing about could be associated with brain power, mind, and how we make up our mind, set our intention and realize our ability. But today I thought a little about how brain based thinking, behaving and learning sounded like fun. Oh…that was one semi-geeky comment.

I associated with the work of Doctors Geil Browning and Wendell Williams about ten years ago; the profile and company is Emergenetics International. I love their tag line: Moving Thinking Forward. I liked it so much that I became a certified associate and have presented it to classes and groups and I’ve included the work in my presentations, research and writing. So, a little intro is appropriate here.

What’s this word – Emergenetics – you ask?

The word itself (Emergenetics) comprises the words emerge (i.e., life experience or nurture) and genetics (i.e., nature) to help explain how each person uses preferences based on thinking and behavioral preferences. An Emergenetics© profile provides a tool that will help you understand thinking and behavioral preferences based on the latest brain research.

So it really fits in with my theme of raw ability and the talents and strengths we each bring to an activity, a situation, a team, a group, a leadership responsibility, a….well…really everything. It is part of the total package we walk in with EVERYTIME we show up.

The metaphor we use in Emergenetics divides up the brain into four quadrants of the thinking attributes with an outline of our behavioral preferences. The behaviors are metaphorically encircling the thinking because one would notice our presenting styles through behaviors first, and then the thinking would follow as we engage in dialogue/interaction. The four thinking attributes (Analytical, Structural, Social, and Conceptual) and the three behavioral attributes (Expressiveness, Assertiveness, and Flexibility) combine patterns that can explain our diversity. Each of us has a beautiful brain regardless of the profile or picture of your brain. The beauty lies within the combination of how our strengths emerge from our genetics. More information can be found it the book Emergenetics: New Science of Success (2006). AND, just keep reading this blog….you can bet I will write more about this stuff.

Our approach to the world is the cumulative effect of our past, in the context of the present, as we prepare for the future. The leader’s identity process could become engaged before the person even realizes it is happening, “your brain changes with each movement, thought, experience or conversation you have” (Browning, 2006, p. 17). Our brain is engaged in the identity process and creating the leader within. Warren Bennis has written about this idea by stating that leaders are the products of their entire lives. He suggests that a leader is someone who takes in all his or her experiences and creates (and continually recreates) a new self.

ME + WE =

Wait, there’s more! Since we’ve established a team has multiple ME (you can’t really make me plural, hmmm imagine that). So there is a mixture of individuals, each with their own brain, which creates synergy and energy. This ME + WE = Energy, Synergy, and Esprit. I just found out that Esprit is defined as lively intelligence…I like it. In Emergenetics language we call this combination of people (i.e., brains) a WE Team. WE of course is the combo of members and it also means Whole Emergenetics Team. It is also possible to coordinate groups or teams (from a larger group) into a whole team that combines thinking and behavioral preferences so we have a balance of each of the seven preferences represented “at the table”.

It’s electric!

Our brain functions through the connections and synapses of a couple 100 billion neurons lighting up some scientific machinery. I read one place we have 100 billion neurons and then another source said that was a myth, we only have 86 billion. What’s a few billion neurons among friends? The point is…there is a whole lot of electricity moving around within us and between us. This alacrity (within each) building on the energy and esprit (lively intelligence) of ability is how we can create great things together.

How do you think about things? Are you more of a “let me think about it and get back to you” person or a “let me ask around and see what others think” type of person? Are you the grand entrance type of person or more of the slip in and sit down sort? What roles do you play in a team? Chances are…the role you play in one group is probably pretty much your persona. Yeah?

To find out more about this Emergenetics Profile for you or your organization: 

Leave a comment

Filed under Leadership, Uncategorized

Take a bow!

I love the curtain call of play, or really a theater show of any kind. That final culminating event sends a chill down my spine every time. No. It does more than that; I am moved to tears during the curtain call. I have to catch my breath. I cry and gasp a bit for air. It is an odd feeling. I can’t explain it. I don’t even have to know anyone in the show personally.

I can feel the energy and exhilaration from the cast. Their faces penetrate the atmosphere of the theatre. Their collective WE DID IT. WE DID IT AGAIN. I LOVE DOING THIS. Seems to fill the space and touch me deep within that social part of my brain that loves to see people doing what they love.

When someone is doing something out of love and passion, they exude self-confidence. Multiply that times the number of people in the cast and I think we have found the source. That hard work, choreography, synergy, and mutual support add a positive charge to the whole environment. I felt the same way when I was a camp director with my staff. I feel the same way every time I see my students do a presentation or accomplish something good. I love to see the mutual benefits of working together. I get a deep sense of personal pride from the fact that I helped a little in their pride and sense of accomplishment. These have become dynamic positions for me (and markers for my own life) because I get to train, support, and counsel people through a significant growth periods in their lives. I like that connection.

I just read the acknowledgement section of my most recent doctoral student. I cried. She said nice things about me as chair. That was nice to read. BUT it is so much more than that. She acknowledged her community of support and those people who believed in her. I cry every time I re-read the acknowledgements and thanks in my dissertation. All of this hits home for me and reminds me that even in those times we are alone we have “people” that provide support in some way.

I like to think that I approach my job and life’s challenges with an attitude of opportunity and experimentation. Nothing ventured is nothing gained. Learning to be less of a linear thinker and discover how to incorporate a mistake sometimes adds to a project. Being more flexible and open to new possibilities is one of my biggest life lessons. When we work with people, we should realize that from time to time control is almost impossible. All we can control for sure is how we react. If we decide to see what is possible and how we can contribute, it is almost impossible give up. My favorite word is Alacrity. It means: cheerful readiness. Let’s use it in a sentence: We jumped into the project with alacrity. We might add to the group process if we jumped into a project with alacrity an open mind and flexibility.  And, who controls this approach – each one of us.

Permission, now there is a word. Who gives it and when do “they” give it? Who are they? Let’s turn THEY into ME. I can give myself permission. The initial sense of permission has to come from within. We each give ourselves permission to be, do, act, or react to everything. Some days we are comfortable with our own sense of permission, and some days we are not.

If you have been reading some of my posts, you know I like to play with words. Here we go again. Mission. What is your mission? What is it you want to be when you grow up? What is your legacy, your personal mission statement? What do you want people to say about you in the end…or after the end when we aren’t here to hear. Now for the word – Per – it means: for each, for every, by means of, through, by, according to, OR accordance with.


What moves you through (i.e., per) life to create your sense of accomplishment? What moves you to tears when you are so damn proud of yourself for doing, being, creating? How do you approach your mission with alacrity?  How do you add to the play/production/project with alacrity? Give yourself permission to live PER your MISSION. Be what you want to be. Go forth and show the world how you approach your mission with alacrity.

Leave a comment

Filed under Leadership