Crack The Behavior Code

Create Peak Performance In 20 Minutes

Christine is known for creating strategies that are responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue and company value. Imagine if she was able to sit down with you and SHARE all of her knowledge and insigh
Latest Episode5/28/2020

What Stress, Change And Isolation Do To Your Brain

Season 2, Ep. 9
Let’s dive into the neuroscience of stress. Your brainreleasesstress hormones, like cortisol, which then fire upexcessivecell-signaling cytokineswhichalteryourphysiology. Suddenly your ability toregulate your behavior and emotionsis compromised. Your ability to pay attention is compromised, your memory, learning, peace, happiness are all compromised.Why? Becauseall that change has causedyour system to beoverloadedwithstress.And excessive stress often causes us to withdrawin order toself-soothe, to try to cope, to try to slow things down and remove further stimulus since we’re already overloaded.But then we get new stress: thestress of disconnection.Disconnectionpossiblyfromyourself,fromothers,your purpose,your place in the grand scheme of things, and evenyour relationship with nature. Today we see increasing chaos, distrust, aggressiveness, and many other behavioral challenges in our world due to disconnectioncaused by excessive stress.Andin stressful times, more than peaceful ones,weacheto beseen, heard, acknowledgedin the midst ofall this isolation.We ache to belong.In my leadership and culture coaching work I am seeing tremendous amounts of isolation caused by the stress of change.What’s Happening Inside When Stress Is Happening OutsideDopamineis the neurotransmitterthat isfired when we anticipate reward or receive an unexpected reward, pleasure, or praise. But dopamine in excess is a problem. It inhibits ourprefrontal cortex (PFC), which affects our ability to make good decisions, focus,solve problems, regulate our emotions and behaviorand much more.We get excess amounts of dopamine from constantly checking email, text and other alerts—and in fear and change scenarios we will often constantly check to see if we’resafe. When the PFC is inhibited we see greater irrational risk taking, obesity, aggression, addiction, schizophrenia because increased sensory stimulation and decreased cognitive stimulation (in thePFC) has occurred. It’s a big deal.FOMO(fear of missing out)is not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, it causes us often to have that addictive response to constantly check our messages, our emails, social media, etc. However, what’s beneath it is the desire to connect. It’s the desire for warmth. It’s the desire to be seen, to besafe, to belong, and to matter. We’reactuallycravingoxytocin, the bondinghormone, tohelp usknow we’re not alone.3 WaysToCure Stress-Based IsolationCome Together.Humans are tribal. Being together with other humans is how we have survived for centuries. And yet, technology,in an attempt tobring us together has actually brought us apart. We all want to be in the ‘in-crowd’ and not in the ‘out-crowd’. Yet we areseeing more and more separation. This makes change even harder, because when times are uncertain we need one another more than ever.Here’s atool to connectwith yourself and others more effectively.We help our clients launcha number ofcultural programs to bring people together.Practice Compassion.When weencounterpeople who are angry,there is no point in judging someone who can’t reach out to others. Better to reach out and give them as much as an experience of*same as*as possible to help them re-establish their ability to connect, to bring them safety belonging and mattering, and to give them a positive experience of connection. Which just might help them choose to learn to reconnect to themselves and others throughout their life.Manage Your Energy During Change and Stress.And where does your energy go in times of change?Check out this cool image. Do you see why how thestories we tell about changecan affect a person’s experience? How we as leaders canactually affecta person’s physiology, neurotransmitter firing, hormones released? How awesome is this responsibility?The Net-NetUnderstanding the neuroscience of stress is imperative to avoid feeling isolated.Changecauses stress which often results in isolation.The physiological impactsof stress and isolationeffect our ability to navigate change, and once we’re aware of these we can connect with others to reduce these impactChange requires a lot of energy. Be sure to manage yours!Yes, changeis prevalent. And when it happens, know that stress and isolation can be prevented by increasing connection,noticing the stories you’re telling yourself and others about the change, and managing your energy via your emotions.Resources mentioned:Stress, Change, Isolation infographic:

12 Stress-Busters Happy Healthy People Know

Season 2, Ep. 8
Email. Texting. Voicemail. We’re constantly connecting with others, so why do so many people feel so disconnected–which is a key factor in excessive stress?According to Dr. Edward Hallowell, an expert on anxiety and stress, there are twelve ways in which people need to connect in order to have full, rich, healthy, long lives. I had no idea how much more connected I could feel until I read his outstanding book, Connect: 12 Vital Ties That Open Your Heart, Lengthen Your Life, and Deepen Your Soul. I learned more about connecting in that book than I have from any shrink or at any seminar.Here’s his list of 12 Stress-Busters of where we should all be connecting. Ask yourself these questions:1. Family of Origin:Do I have strong bonds and clear communication with my parents, siblings, relatives? Do I connect with them regularly?What are some ways I might increase connection?2. Immediate Family:Do I treat them with love and respect?Are we emotionally close?What are some ways I might increase connection?3. Friends and Community:Do I see friends and neighbors on a regular basis?Do I share my life with them frequently?Do I make time to enjoy their company?Am I involved in community groups and projects?Do I identify with and support the community I live in?What are some ways I might increase connection?4. Work:Do I have emotional equity and a sense of mission at work?Do I share a connection with my co-workers and company?What are some ways I might increase connection?5. Beauty:Do I enjoy beauty regularly, do I appreciate it and pay attention to it and savor it?Do I take time to enjoy a favorite art form?What are some ways I might increase connection?6. History:Do I feel part of the history of humankind?Do I learn about it, feel the power of it, and cherish the history of my country, town, culture?What are some ways I might increase connection?7. Nature:Do I connect with nature on a weekly basis?Do I spend time outdoors or indoors caring for plants or appreciating nature?Do I have special places that are healing to me?What are some ways I might increase connection?8. Pets/Animals:Do I enjoy playing with and having a relationship with a pet?Do I value animals and enjoy seeing them, listening to them, interacting with them?What are some ways I might increase connection?9. Ideas and Information:Do I learn new things often?Am I interested in new ideas and perspectives?Am I getting the most out of my brain power?What are some ways I might increase connection?10. Organizations and Institutions:Am I a member of any organizations?Do I contribute to their growth and welfare?What are some ways I might increase connection?11. Greater Truth/Spirituality:Do I have a spiritual practice?Do I make time to read spiritual, uplifting books or listen to CDs or podcasts?Do I continue to seek meaning and truth in whatever way resonates with me?What are some ways I might increase connection?12. Myself:Do I meditate, have quiet time alone, know what matters most to me and live according to it?Am I comfortable being who I am?What are some ways I might increase connection?Years after reading Ned’s book I’ve maintained these connections, to varying degrees, in all 12 areas. And my life is richer and more fulfilling than it has ever been. Email? Texting? Voicemail? Helpful, yes. And now I use them to better connect with others.How connected are you? How connected would you like to be?Additional resources:Connect More Deeply With Others infographic:

Guarantee Work-Life Balance With These 3 Daily Actions

Season 2, Ep. 7
What is your life experience when the work day is complete? Are you spending time doing things that you love or are you too drained to do anything other than recoup before the next workday begins?We spend a lot of time at work and the brain-based tools that I teach my executive coaching clients show them how to maximize their efforts, stand in their energetic weight and master executive presence. If you aren’t having fun when you aren’t at work, it may be time to reflect.Life is a balancing act, and work will become less fulfilling if your downtime is void of ease, grace, joy, and fun.These are the three actions that leaders can do each and every day that will put them on the path towards guaranteeing work-life balance.Action 1: Move The Needle: Focus 70% + of your time on HVAs. There will always be a parade of bright shiny objects trying to distract you. Keep those beasts at bay by tracking your high-value activities (HVAs) and low-value activities (LVAs). Resolve to get to 70%+ of HVAs in the next 60 days. Effective delegation increases the amount of time that you will have to focus on the items that will move the needle. [see below for our HVA/LVA Tutorial -- and share it with your team!] Action 2: Honor Your Boundaries: Are you honoring your personal life commitments? We all avoid uncomfortable human relations issues sometimes, but what is the cost? It’s exorbitant. As we give our power away and compromise our integrity, we inadvertently teach our brain that not honoring our personal life is acceptable. Set up a new system with healthy boundaries and behaviors that will anchor the fact that a commitment in your personal life is equally as important as a commitment at work. [See below for our energetic weight infographic--you can test your energetic weight with it!] Action 3: Embrace Mindfulness Practices: Do you have a mindfulness practice? If not, it may be time to start incorporating at least one mindfulness practice into your daily routine. One of the biggest causes of stress is ruminating, or repeating a certain stressful thought. The brain sets off down an old thinking pattern and stays there. Mindfulness practices teach our brain to pop up out of that old pattern and recognize it for what it is: a default and well-worn groove that we have a choice to step out of. Mindfulness meditation re-grooves the brain and builds a new neurological network. Do it enough and, like the studies show, you can train your brain like a muscle to stay calm and present in the face of adversity or good old daily stresses of life. [See below for our Beyond Your Brain infographic -- this will help you determine the ROI on mindfulness/meditation]Leaders learn how to manage their energy. They focus on the actions that only they can do to move the needle in their organization, they honor their boundaries and personal life commitments, and they know how to stop the world and stop their thoughts on command.Try the three above actions and you’ll find your personal life will be as fun and fulfilling as your work life!Resources mentioned:HVA/LVA Tutorial: Anchoring infographic: Weight infographic: Your Brain infographic:

Become A More Emotionally Intelligent Leader in 4 Simple Steps

Season 2, Ep. 6
The CEO tells the VP Marketing candidate he’d hire her if she lost 20 pounds. She’s “too fat to represent our company.”The VP Operations tells her team if they were competent they would’ve achieved their quarterly goals.The CFO sends the Controller an angry email saying his budget “sucks and is pathetic.”The VP Product Development says “deal with it” when the favorite lead engineer and keeper of the culture quits.What do all these leaders have in common?They aren’t emotionally intelligent. They are sending “nasty-grams” to their teams and causing emotional disengagement and shutdown in others. They have low EQ.And EQ = money, according to Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves (see resources below).“The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ equals $1,300 to an annual salary. If that’s not enough, EQ accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs”.All. Wow.So let’s figure this out in a straightforward way. First, i’ll summarize emotional intelligence and you’ll see a handy infographic in the show notes:Here’s how to start becoming more emotionally intelligent:1. Figure out what you’re feeling. It’s essential to be in tune with your emotions—this is Self-Awareness. Now based on what you are feeling, is it the appropriate time to send that angry email? Right now it’s key to remember that communication is redundant: humans cannot *not* communicate—our facial expressions, body posture, vocal tone/pace/pitch betray us. Even in email or texts our vocal tone/pace/pitch can be detected.You know what it feels like to receive an email when someone is spewing anger or venting frustration. You also know what it feels like when someone handles a challenging situation with compassion, a spirit of collaboration, and overall respect and kindness. People can tell. Your vocal tone does indeed come through in written communication.2. Take a breather. Holding off on sending a nasty-gram until you cool down is Self-Management. We need to shift out of Critter State [fight/flight/freeze or Amygdala Hijack] into Smart State [clear thinking, behavioral choice, innovation, collaboration, creativity] in order to practice Self-Management. Now is a great time to unpack the visual, auditory and kinesthetic cues that triggered you. And if you’re in Critter State one of the easiest ways to shift out of it and into Smart State is to practice 7-7-7 breathing. Inhale for a count of 7, hold for count of 7, exhale for count of 7. Do 7 times. Ahhhhh. Now you have choice to respond vs. react compulsively. Excellent!3. Consider the recipient. While you are practicing #1 or #2 above, consider what the recipient might feel upon receiving your communication. This is Social Awareness. They are a different person from you, so they’ll likely make different meaning—they’ll interpret your communication–based on their Map of the World and not yours. Many components factor into a person’s map of the world, such as education, where they grew up, socio-economics, religion, childhood experiences, adult experience—which is why we misunderstand one another so often: we all have different maps.This consideration is Social Awareness.4. Focus on the outcome. What is the outcome you’d actually like to achieve? How would you like to make someone feel in order to empower them and move the ball forward? It’s time to craft a message that will get the result you want and make the person feel powerful, effective, enrolled, engaged, whatever positive emotion you want. This is Relationship Management.Let’s revisit the above real-world scenarios. When I was asked to come in and coach these leaders to become more Emotionally Intelligent they had team members ready to quit, some were totally checked out and no longer cared, some were downright hostile due to prolonged mistreatment. So I had my work cut out for me.Once the leaders were in touch with their feelings and had boosted their Self-Management and Self-Awareness, we then worked on Social Awareness and Relationship Management. This transformation took 4-6 months (based on the leader) to become an automatic response.When I asked each of them how they would’ve navigated the scenarios above were they able to turn back time, here’s how the communications were edited (yes, after the fact, but better than repeating the mistake!).The CEO tells the VP Marketing candidate she has great skills and he’d like to explore how she can best represent the company.The VP Operations asks her team what they need to achieve their goals next time. Did she set the bar too high? Were they all too ambitious? Do they need more/different resources? Were there cross-functional dependencies that we all missed considering?The CFO meets with the Controller and works through expectations for the budget, filling in any gaps so what defines “success” is super clear. The Controller feels safe to ask questions and push back on things they disagree with.The VP Product Development sits down with the team and lets them express their grief without judging them. Then she asks what the team needs to heal and move forward, noting that they’ll tackle this together, as a team, all for one, and one for all.How emotionally intelligent are you? Where would you like to increase your emotional intelligence?Resources mentioned:EQ Research: Wheel:

Reduce Drama In 3 Proven Ways

Season 2, Ep. 5
Cultivating the WitnessTo witness yourself, to keep the ego in its appropriate role (the ego is the CEO for the vast majority of humans, like 99.99999999%!), we need to catch it at its tricks.Here’s an initial list. You may want to keep it on your phone and add to it when you notice a new trick it tries to play on you!Also note when the ego tries to take over it’s helpful to use the Feedback Frame on your current life experience (ask what’s working and what you’d like to see more of, be sure to have equal amounts). The ego sees everything as negative. Interesting.Tricks of the EgoThe ego’s only function is to hurt self or others. Catch it when it tries to bum your high/make you feel lousy...Favorite ego behaviors/beliefs:Feel offendedFeel left outFeel others aren’t appreciating or acknowledging youFeel less than othersFeel more than othersFeel self-pityFeel self-righteous or justified for inappropriate behavior (“they started it!”)Relentlessly seeks approval/validationRelentlessly seeks to controlJudges self and othersCompetes with self and othersFears the futureDwells on the painful past, regrets it, is obsessed by itThe ego wants all of the above to be fixed by someone or something else. The ego does not take self-responsibility.Resources Mentioned:Emotional Agility infographic: Frame infographic: infographic: Frame infographic:

The Three Essential Agreements Every Team Needs

Season 2, Ep. 4
Ambiguous or unspoken agreements often cause pain.Lots of it.This is why more and more organizations are creating agreements for expectations of one another. These aren’t employment agreements—these are behavioral agreements. These agreements, or codes of conduct, help an employee both be easy to manage as well as to bring their personal best.As a Leadership and Culture Coach, I’m often asked by leaders to “change their people.” They want their team to care more, be more present, more accountable, have greater ownership of their thinking, or have greater performance in a specific area. They think they have a sales problem, an operations problem, an attention-to-detail problem, a whatever-you-want-to-call-it problem. But they don’t. They have only one type of problem.A Leadership Problem.They aren’t leading their team or the individual’s on their teams to the desired behaviors. And this brings us back to understanding the expectations of one’s behavior, and also, of course, the attention and investment that leaders make in cultivating their team.If an individual isn’t performing well, look to their leader.If an individual is dissatisfied with their job, look to their leaderIf an individual is feeling disengaged, look to their leader.Chances are good their leader isn’t investing in them. But wait a sec—doesn’t the individual have to participate too? Yes, we’re all in this together. Let’s get clear on each person’s role in the system.There are 3 Jobs All Leaders and Employees Have. Let’s talk about who owns what.Job #1: Foster Engagement ContinuouslyLeader’s Job:Make sure the employee understands the organization’s mission, vision, values and how they connect to themModel the mission, vision, values every single day, and talk about them, and praise people for honoring them in their behaviorProvide an Impact Description for each role so everyone knows how they support the mission, vision, values and how they contribute to the organizationPay attention to your people and give them feedbackEmployee’s Job:Understand the company’s mission, vision, values and how you connect to themBe a role model of at least three of the values (let’s assume there are 5-6)Bring ideas for how to improve things, solve problems, reduce stress to your leaderIf any of the above are unclear, ask your leader for helpGive your leader feedback to help them grow their engagementJob #2: Optimize Execution and ResultsLeader’s Job:Prioritize and explain why we’re doing what and when and the impact it has for us allHelp the team understand how to do it if they get stuck and encourage them to seek inputOptimize High Value-Added Activities, minimize Low Value-Added ActivitiesUnderstand and communicate dependencies, contingencies, and needle movers so all are clear—all need to know what could interrupt execution and how to navigate around it and prevent itKeep the communication flowing so everyone can do their best workNote the meta-programs and SBM triggers of your colleagues and team, and communicate in them during stressful timesEmployee’s Job:Think things through, be proactive to ensure priorities are clearBe present in your interactions to save everyone time and ensure things are done right the first timeUnderstand the outcomes your team and leader want and when, and how they align with your organization’s outcomes and those of other teams so contingencies and dependencies are navigated effectivelyIf progress toward outcomes isn’t happening, or if anything’s unclear, ask your leader for helpIf your leader isn’t clearly prioritizing, give them feedback to help them improveJob #3: Grow and Learn TogetherLeader’s Job:Help your people map out Individual Development Plans so they can see how they’ll grow at your organizationWork with Talent/HR to ensure your team has clear, impactful, ongoing learning plans and opportunitiesHelp your team collaborate with other teams in your organizationGive your team opportunities to shine across the organization and increase their status/visibility to all other leadersIdentify ways the team can be more impactful to the businessEnroll the team in identifying and optimizing process changes that will improve effectivenessNormalize feedback and make it comfortable vs confrontationalEmployee’s Job:Ask your Leader to advocate for your team individually and collectively with people outside the teamTake responsibility for shortcomings and give credit to team members when they deserve it—share and celebrate winsPoint out opportunities for your leader to be vocal about individual accomplishments that might not be visible outside the teamEnvision and plan how you specifically you can deliver value to the organization in a specific period of time—and then do itContinuously invite feedback on your performance, and offer it to your leader on their performanceNote the meta-programs and SBM triggers of your colleagues and leader, and communicate in them during stressful timesThe Net-NetBehavioral expectations help everyone get the results they wantBoth leaders and their direct reports must agree to your code of conduct—we’re all in this togetherThe only type of problem is a Leadership Problem: the leader’s not leading or the direct report isn’t stepping upThis is a rough draft to get you started. What else do you need to add to ensure communication and expectations are clear at your organization? Let me know!Resources Mentioned: Impact Description Example: Frame infographic: Tutorial: Development Plan Example:

What Keeping Secrets Does to Your Brain

Season 2, Ep. 3
Secrets. We all have them.One of our clients recently had to let an executive go for non-performance reasons. The tricky part was the executive was well-loved in the organization and a large number of the employees reported up through his department. Prior to the termination, my client had to, of course, keep a secret of it. He had to self-censor, to watch what he said to whom and when. He had to be careful not to reveal the secret when long-term plans were discussed that the to-be-terminated executive would not be a part of it.At times our client felt anxious, a little depressed, obsessively thought about it and felt inauthentic since he had to wait for the right timing to proceed with the termination.He also felt isolated.You’ve had to keep a secret before… how did it make you feel?The True Cost of Keeping A Secret—it’s Not What You ThinkNew research now reveals the truth behind secrets—and it’s not what you’d expect. First, 97% of people have one or more secrets at any given time. But most common is 13 secrets per person… whoa! Secrets included workplace secrets like pending terminations or promotions, personal life secrets like surprise parties, dark or controversial family secrets, you name it. And secrets have different categories, including simple preferences (maybe you really don’t like your mother-in-law’s casserole but pretend you do) to full-out breaches of trust, like infidelity or even embezzlement.So what does keeping a secret do to your brain? Here are the 2 biggest problems I see (and notice the research backs them too):Damages your well-being – think back to my client above. The energy it took to resist, to self-censor, the rumination (the repetitive thinking about it), the anxiety and depression in anticipating what would happen when the secret would be revealed, all took an enormous toll on him. His emotional resilience was reduced significantly and he noticed he was more irritable. He wasn’t sleeping as well, so he was experiencing what we call REM rip-off, which negatively impacted his behavior further.Damages your focus and decision-making – when you’re distracted by a secret you aren’t fully present. Then your cognitive biases will likely take over and you’ll have less behavioral choice. You may be telling yourself scary stories instead of being able to reframe what’s happening and how you feel. To make matters worse, you’re out of rapport with yourself, too.Since you’re experiencing the opposite of being mindful, here’s what’s happening in your brain:your amygdala is on overdrive (irritability, quick to drop into fight/flight/freeze),your hippocampus is compromised due to the stress of excessive cortisol which then cause excessive cytokines, so learning, memory, and immune system are compromised,and last your pre-frontal cortex is likely offline a great deal since you’re in Critter State so your ability to communicate, collaborate, innovate–basically be your personal best–is down the tubes.So what to do?Reveal Your Secret To A Trusted SourceOften we hold our secrets close because we have some guilt, shame, or blame tangled up with them. Find out which of these is trapping your secret. Our client was feeling guilty about having to let the executive go, as he knew he’d disappoint some of the staff. But for all the others, he’d usher in a new world order, which would be more empowering and positive. He was feeling some shame for not having dealt with this sooner. And he was also blaming the executive for not fixing the behaviors he had repeatedly asked him to.My client suffered for 2 weeks, then his wife urged him to call me. When he did we worked through his painful emotions and rumination with some potent brain-based processes to re-establish rapport with himself, and to create a positive outcome for the situation. Once his well-being was considerably restored we could move on to strategy—who he’d talk with when and the key messages to keep everyone calm when they heard the termination news.When you reveal the secret it loses its power over you. Then you can brainstorm, get an unbiased perspective, no longer feel excluded from others.The Net-Net:Secrets cause isolation and hurt us emotionallyThey also affect our performance, focus, decision-making abilityShare your challenging secret to get a fresh perspective and stop suffering!What secrets do you have? What story are you telling yourself that keeps you isolated with them?Resources Mentioned:Secrets research: Stress, Change And Isolation Do To Your Brain infographic: Being Excluded Does To Your Brain infographic: Making infographic: of Consciousness infographic: