Matte and van Otterdijk psychologists at MATTE consulting a firm with 23 years experience in executive and organisational development in Canada published a paper re: a case study of the brain and corporate training for two executives and an executive team who did Neurofeedback (the most powerful form of brain training).
They were searching for precise scientifically based and self empowering tools for their executive clients that clearly demonstrated a return on investment to:
- quiet their minds
- improve their attention and focus
- improve mental agility
- improve decision making
- increase physical and psychological well being
Their research indicated Neurofeedback to be the most powerful and useful for executives. Their work with neurofeedback has been so successful they have set up specialised Mind Rooms and are also working with teams to:
- improve teamwork efficacy
- improve work flow
- improve positive attitude
- improve general wellness
Neurofeedback is an effective tool to change beliefs as it increases an executives self efficacy perception and empowers them to make the changes internally and then execute those changes in the work environment. It also de-stress an executive and produces sharper mental clarity.
A 60 year old CEO was able to overcome burnout and become substantially more calm and focussed after 20 x 1 hour training sessions.
A 40 year old managing partner of a highly successful legal firm was able to substantially increase concentration and be more productive at work.
An executive team of a large manufacturer going through important organisational changes were able to gain improvement on teamwork efficacy, work flow, positive attitude, cooperation and general wellness.
Matte and van Otterdijk concluded there is a pressing need for an understanding of the brain and corporate training and they are convinced that executive performance optimisation can only be achieved by teaching executives to self regulate with Neurofeedback.
Creative Problem Solving
Alpha Neurofeedback training has been demonstrated to increase creative problem solving in high achieving research scientists producing insightful breakthroughs on long term projects whilst reducing anxiety and stress levels.
Dr Colin Martindale PhD in several research projects found that professionals who were creative problems solvers increased their alpha (8-12hz) brainwaves when given a difficult problem to solve.
In contrast Martindale found that similar professionals who didn’t describe themselves as creative problem solvers didn’t increase their alpha when given a difficult problem to solve.
He went onto to do other research with Neurofeedback and demonstrated that training to increase alpha in none problem solvers increased their ability to solve problems.
Martindale stated: “When creative people go to work on an imaginative task, their alpha jumps …” and “Creativity is a matter of having the right brain waves.”
Therefore it is natural to assume that if you need to increase you or your teams creativity, problem solving or innovative thinking then Neurofeedback training is a powerful way to actually physically train the brain’s ability to be creative.
This has been clearly seen in Hardts research with scientists and Gruzeliers research with musicians. The brain and corporate training should now be seen as inseparable for cost effective outcomes.
Creativity, stress and anxiety reduction
Increasing creative problem solving and reducing stress plus anxiety levels in high level research scientists has a direct relevance to executive and senior level management.
Dr James Hardt PhD formally of the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute of the University of California Medical Centre and now director of the Biocybernaut Institute, conducted a small trial with seven volunteers, who were scientists at the Stanford Research Institute and a control group of age matched executives from Silicon Valley.
Both groups were given pre training stress tests (physiological stress response––measuring galvanic skin response, muscle tension [EMG], skin temperature, heart rate and respiration rate and subjective stress questionnaire the Signals of Stress inventory [SOSI]) and a creativity inventory.
The two groups were well matched on all three groups of tests.
The alpha group did alpha EEG biofeedback training once per day and the control group went about their normal routine. At the end of five days the tests were repeated for both groups and Hardt found that the physiological stress (emotional stress and auditory startle stress) in the alpha group was significantly reduced but the control group had risen slightly.
The subjective measure of stress (SOSI) showed an average of 56% decrease for the alpha group and the control group had a 5% increase.
The alpha group had a 50% increase in their Ideation Fluency scores, which Hardt described as ‘highly’ significant. He concluded that alpha training holds the promise of reducing anxiety and increasing creativity in a ‘wide’ range of people.
U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) in Peak Performance Training
Champion athletes and sports stars are seen as role models for peak performance, many of them speak at corporate function to motivate executives and senior managers. However, all sports stars and athletes have an off-season. US Army Special Forces have no off-season, and their training goals are always first priority.
As many senior level managers, executives, entrepreneurs, sales people, are very similar in this way ie action oriented highly aroused, very goal oriented people neurofeedback training would substantially improve their performance and be much better suited to them than meditation. No longer can the brain and corporate training be separated!
Dr James Hardt PhD provided alpha neurofeedback training to two teams of US Army Green Berets being trained for classified missions requiring the highest possible mental and physical fitness, and their seamless integration to both achieve mission objectives and to survive and remain functional under the most extreme and challenging conditions.
During this training, three of these elite soldiers (12% of those trained) discovered they had unresolved doubts, fears, and reservations about their mission. Once these three soldiers realized they did not have sufficient inner alignment with their mission to remain in the Army, they could then move on to apply their high motivation and skills in suitable ways in civilian life.
Their commanders were relieved and grateful to have a training technique to weed out those who might falter under field conditions, and the 88% who remained were clearer in their purpose, and far more highly skilled in self regulation and peak performance on demand. They reduce anxiety, defensiveness and fatigue and increased mental flexibility.
Another interesting feature of Hardt’s program was that the soldiers were sent on a one month meditation retreat, which Hardt found caused the action oriented soldiers stress rather than enhancing them.
However, the neurofeedback training did the opposite and in fact when the equipment was provided for ongoing training at their base, two thirds chose to do it during their free time instead of sport!
Hardt has trained world class athletes in both team and individual sports.
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Matte, R. & van Otterdijk, M. Performance optimization program for the business community: Combining executive coaching and biofeedback. Biofeedback Vol 40, Issue 1, pp 26-29 (2012)