Monday, December 04, 2006

CLUES Talk to the boss!

Ever been apprehensive about talking to the CEO? You need to deal with it or it could become a career limiting move. Listen here for tips on talking with the boss.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

CLUES The jealous amydgala

Sometimes jealousy can really cost us. In this edition of CLUES listen to an extract of 'Where Did That Come From?' If you want more go to

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

CLUES I don't intend to die

Sometimes you have to choose. Why are we so poor at succession planning? It's our amygdala again. Listen here for more.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CLUES Teenage brains - an emotional cauldron

Teenagers seem to be risk taking, fearless and reckless at times. It's not just their hormones - it's the way their brain is developing. Listen hear for more information.

Monday, October 09, 2006

CLUES My husband won't hold my hand!

Ever done irrational things based on old emotion memories? And are you risk averse or risk seeking? Listen here for some answers.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

CLUES Look at me when I'm talking to you

Have you ever found yourself saying: Look at me when I'm talking to you! Well you might get a better answer if they don't. Listen here if you want to know why.

Monday, September 11, 2006

CLUES The Croc Hunter and the racing car driver

Last week Australia lost two icons - two fearless men. Listen here for more about their fear, or lack of it, and the worrying impact of anticipation

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

CLUES Fast but maybe furious!

Do you make 'snap judgments'? Of course you do and that's important in life threatening situations - but is it OK at work? and can you do anything about it? Listen and find out.

Friday, August 11, 2006

CLUES The High Cost of Gutlessness

Lack of courage may be costing your organisation money, people and customers. listen and find out why and what to do about it.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I burst into tears - was there a better way to handle it? (Cirstie)

Cirstie wrote:
All the girls in our office decided to go out for a girls lunch. We asked our boss (male) would that be ok and he said yes but he didn't look happy. However upon our return he was agitated and called me into the office (being the supervisor) and blasted me about all and sundry. He was so angry he was shaking and really the things he was saying were just ridiculous. There are 6 of us so we all went in different cars and he timed how long we took etc. I truly believe it was an almond reaction to not being invited to lunch. Anyhow I burst into tears because he was being so unreasonable. Did I therefore have an almond reaction to his aggressiveness and is there a better way I could have handled it?

Here's my reply:
Phew!! From what you say, it was a classic Almond Effect ® on his part! I wonder what that was about? What was he anxious about? Was there work to be done that he was frustrated might not get done and he had a lot riding on it? Was he fearful about being left out, talked about? Has he got a problem with a group of women having fun because of some past experience? I can’t possibly know without talking to him and I guess you can’t know unless you asked him. But certainly from what you have told me, your diagnosis was right.

As for your reaction, probably also right but don’t beat yourself up! Without you wanting it to do this when surprises like that happen, your amygdala interprets the event as a threat to job security, good relations with your boss, i.e. life as you know and want it – and then we react in ways that surprise us (the logical us) and afterwards we regret what we did!! Just learn from it and ask yourself what you could do differently if it ever happened again.

Without wishing to sound commercial, that why I wrote the E-book Where Did That Come From? – it gives a lot of examples of what other people have done and do in similar situations, starting with the ability to recognise what is happening to you and learning to distract your amygdala so your top brain has time to click in and get you back in control.

Hope that helps – whatever you do, don’t let it get to you. If you need to clear the air with him, think clearly how you’re going to do it, even write out a script and practice it with a person who loves you and wants to help, then go to it. Doing this pre-warns your amygdala that the situation is going to arise and hopefully allows you to stay more in control.

Otherwise let it go and try very hard not to store that memory. Whatever you do, don’t stop going out to those kinds of lunch – if you did that it would just reinforce your ‘fear’ of his reaction, and similar situations would cause you anxiety – whoever your boss might be.

Hope that helps. Taking it as you described, it’s a classic situation of poor self-control and self-awareness from a boss.

Cirstie's reply:
He is very insecure, young (only just 30 - most of us are in our 40's and beyond) and I think he does worry that he is being left out. Will have to try and include him a bit more but still ensure we have our girls days. I really don't think it had anything to do with work load although he may have been a little insecure about being asked something he didn't know how to answer while we were out.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

CLUES His Boss was a Woman!

Do you know someone with IED? Intermittent Explosive Disorder? Yes it really exists - could it explain road-rage and other times when people lose it. Listen and find out.

Monday, July 17, 2006

CLUES And your greatest fear is?

"The mind is a wonderful thing. It starts working the moment you're born and never stops - until you get up to speak in public." Listen to the latest edition of CLUES to learn why this happens and what to do about it.

Monday, July 03, 2006

CLUES Why what you can't remember...

Ever been caught offguard by an old memory? It can be a CLM! Listen to this edition of CLUES to find out more.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Having cleared minds not to resist change, how do you maintain a culture of consistency that allows the company to attain its long term goals? (Pat)

Consistency is not just about behaviours but also about systems, processes and procedures. If people are open to the idea of change, doing something differently, but for example, the admin systems or supplier arrangements or customer interfaces don't support the new way, then it'll be almost impossible to keep your people engaged in the new direction.

The most significant contributor to culture is the way people actually behave not necessarily what the 'rules' require. So consistent approaches by managers, all managers from top to bottom, is essential. That's where strong leadership becomes essential, to not only model the way but be prepared to make tough decisions about managers and others who by their behaviours, sabotage change initiatives.

CLUES Passion Persistence Performance

In this latest edition of CLUES, check out the role of passion at work - how it can drive us to success or failure.

Friday, June 02, 2006

CLUES Do your people love or hate their jobs?

Listen to the latest edition of my e-zine and find out why some people leave their jobs and what you can do about it

Monday, May 22, 2006

CLUES Do you fear failure?

Does our fear of failure bring about the very thing we are afraid of? Listen to this issue of CLUES and learn how to deal with this fear more effectively.

Monday, May 08, 2006

CLUES Let's talk about Love!

Listen to the latest edition of CLUES and learn about the amygdala in love and out of control!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

CLUES - Why deadlines drive you crazy

Why do deadlines drive you crazy? In this issue of CLUES, you'll learn how to deal with deadlines more effectively.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Reaction Management - What strategies can one put in place that makes them think about a situation before they have a negative reaction? (Lisa)

It all starts with being consciously aware of yourself. You have to take the time to analyse what your triggers are, what happens to you physically when you react without thinking and what situations you've experienced that have left you regretting your actions. I know you're reading my fortnightly newsletter on this, CLUES, and in the next few weeks, I'll be covering more on this topic.

In the meantime, take a moment and write down all the things that really irritate you. Now write down what happened when you reacted first and thought second. Did you notice anything happening to your body - were you getting tense, tummy in knots, shaking? Your body will often tell you (if you're alert to it) that you're getting worked up long before your thinking brain clicks in. Learn what your signals and your triggers are, and the moment you sense it happening, take a slow deep breath and count to five. However instead of counting to five, count to 'I'm fine.' ie 'one, two, three, four, I'm fine'. Do this a few times if you can. This should start to slow down the adrenaline flow, start sending 'stand down' messages to your amygdala and give your thinking brain time to click in. But you have to do a lot of thinking and preparation now to train your brain for what you really want it to do before The Almond Effect (R) kicks in.

There'll be an e-book of with more explanations and more than 50 strategies to develop Reaction Management on my website in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

How does the brain react when I'm feeling angry or upset? Do I have any control over these responses? (Candy)

You could be feeling angry or upset because, through your senses (ears, eyes etc), your amygdala has perceived a threat. So your limbic system triggers the distribution of adrenaline and hormones to literally prepare your body to fight off the threat or flight, run like crazy away from it. Your heart starts thumping to get the blood to the large muscles in your legs, you might even go pale as the blood streams there too. You might feel sick or you might need to run to the loo - because your body has suspended digestive functions to concentrate on the fight or flight necessity. You may shake, become tense, get a headache - all symptoms of your body's preparation for fight or flight.

If it is a real life threatening situation, then you'll be pleased all this is happening, it's life saving. Often however it is not - it's just that the amygdala has reacted without waiting for the neo-cortex - thinking or rational part of the brain) to let it know what the real situation is. And then we can just 'go off' and do or say something we regret and this is The Almond Effect.

You can train yourself to control these through a number of ways. The first and most important one is to develop strong self-awareness, to be able to instantly realise when your body is showing signs of stress (adrenaline flow etc) or you find yourself reacting emotionally not rationally. Then you can immediately deploy the strategy that most works for you to calm yourself down.

I am about 3 weeks away from completing an e-book and a CD on a more detailed look at how to control The Almond Effect. Email me if you want more details.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Does The Almond Effect vary depending on the generation? Do Y's differ in effect from X's or baby boomers? (Iven)

Good question. Each generation's brains are essentially the same from a neuro-biological point of view. But the great mystery is why different brains react differently in the same situations? The amygdala sits within the limbic system in the brain. Memories and experiences are stored there. Can we say this is also the place that stores our values, our belief systems - possibly, but no-one knows for certain and there are heaps of theories. But these are what impact the various generations' reactions to the world.

The neuro-scientists can tell us that the neo-cortex in young people (teenagers) is still coming to full form whereas their amygdala is already functioning from a very early age. Maybe that's why they go off at things we don't think are that important - they don't have the ability to moderate their behaviour as well as adults.

And at the other extreme, baby boomers and seniors, have probably 'seen it all' and have taught themselves, either deliberately or by accident, to allow the thinking brain more time to click in when something stirs them up.

Underpinning our reactions are the neuro-patterns we have stored and that our amygdala identifies as a threat to life as we know it. Our experiences individually and in groups, at school, our social and work environments, the influence of the media, religion, world events and so on will all impact on what our amygdala perceives as life threatening. So yes I think there is a difference between generations, just as there are differences between individuals. It is a multi-layered response.

Why have you chosen an almond? (Ian)

The part of the brain that is always on the look out for life threatening situations is the amygdala. It is the part of the brain that acts when it perceives a threat without waiting for the neo-cortex, the thinking part of the brain, to identify whether it's a real threat or not. Problem is, the amygdala often gets it wrong. And amygdala is Greek for almond. It also has the shape of an almond, so we get The Almond Effect.

What is The Almond Effect(R) (Ian)

At its most basic, The Almond Effect is when your emotions drive you to speak or act without thinking about it first, you go off half-cocked and usually regret it!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Welcome to 'Ask Anne'

I've created this blog so we can exchange ideas about The Almond Effect (R). I'll also try to answer your questions about how to retain great employees, great customers and/or great relationships. Look foward to hearing from you.