Becoming the Observer (The Accountability Model)

In the second video in our Accountability Model series, we discuss the first tool and technique; Becoming the Observer.  As leaders our ability to observe our thoughts…feelings, emotions and behaviours is a critical component of building self awareness and understanding  our impact on those around us. Is what I am putting my attention on serving me, making me feel good, and getting the results I want.  If the answer is “no” then  slowing down and reflecting is important. We can then use mental contrasting to assist us in better understanding our emotions and behaviours. Mental contrasting is an activity where we use great questions of ourselves in order to consider a different perspective.

For example, we might ask:

  • Do I have all of the information
  • Why did I get triggered
  • Do I know for sure it is true
  • Could I apply positive regard
  • What judgments do I have
  • Are my judgements impacting me negatively

These are only some of the questions we use as we observe ourselves, thoughts, feelings and actions.


Everything begins with YOU.  So start looking inward.  If you want to change something in our outer world you need to change something on your inner world first.

New Video Series- The Accountability Model

We are very excited to share with our community our Accountability Model and how it is used to enhance Leadership capabilities.  Even more importantly, when the tools are consistently used we see corporate cultures transform into intentional, meaningful communities driven by values and purpose underpinned by a culture of coaching for choice.

Understanding what it is to be human allows us to question all of our old beliefs about performance and performance management. The title Performance Management implies the managing of other peoples performance. In this series we will challenge our basic understanding of why so many traditional approaches to management and leadership simply don’t work.  Some of those areas might be:

  • Be clear about expectations
  • Hold people accountable
  • Manage performance
  • Give feedback continuously (every day)
  • Never let them see you sweat.  (my personal favourite)

This series will unpack the Accountability Model and its impact on how to create cultures where individual contributors thrive.  How we use the model and its tools and techniques to create environments where individual choice, intention and attention matter.  Assisting employees make clear and defined choice for themselves is critical in increasing performance. Our definition of   Accountability = “The Ability to Account for Oneself”


Neuroplasticity- Creating a New Pathway

In this weeks video Michael talks about the importance of consciously creating new neural connections in the brain. He explores the difficulties in intentionally make choices that allow for a new pathway to be formed. Some of his analogies take difficult concepts and make them easy to follow and understand.   Why does any of this matter when it comes to corporate leadership.  We often say, “We train people how to treat us”. . What are we training our teams to do?  How is this impacting the new near-connections they are making in their brains and what is the overall impact to individual and team performance.


As leaders we need to continuously evaluate the environment we are creating and the things we are training people to do, say and act.

The Pathway to Well-Being

In the first 4 videos in this series we have touched on Perceptions, Attention Regulation, and Judgements  and the possible impacts to our physiology. In this next video we will share with you our Pathway to Well-Being.  This model greatly assists leaders in understanding, where they put their attention will persist. Our attention will affect our emotions and emotional management is key to well-being, brain function and ultimately performance and outcomes.


Michael shares with us some further information on the importance of this. He uses an analogy of someone in the workplace that has bullying behaviour. What do you think happens to those around them?

We hope you will check out the video posted tomorrow and share your thoughts, comments and questions.

EGO- How it might show up!

In our next video Michael discusses some of the ways in which we have experienced leaders in the workplace and how the EGO plays a role.  It might not be what you think!  As Michael continues his exploration of becoming the “Observer” of yourself  we reflect on how the EGO might display itself.

Do you have an Inner Bully or maybe you have an Inner Champion.  I suspect you might have both. As Michael discusses these topics remember that we often use extremes in order to draw our attention to an important matter. This does not mean that extremes are the usual, in fact extremes are most often the exception.  These exceptions assist us in becoming a better observer of ourselves and allows for further reflection.


One of the key challenges we all face, whether we are living with our Inner Bully or our Inner Champion is the neurochemistry that these strong positions can illicit.

Join us tomorrow for another video in this series.

Attention Regulation and Leadership Development

Where we put our attention is very important when it comes to managing our emotions effectively.  When something happens outside our control, that we do not like, we often will make up a story about that situation or person. Where we put our attention will impact the emotions that are created. Those emotions can then affect our physiology.

Our ego can easily take the drivers sit, steering us right into uncomfortable feelings and emotions. We suggest that leaders begin to become the observer of their thoughts and where they put their attention and the resulting emotions. Once they do this they can ask themselves some important questions to assist in determining if where they are putting their attention is appropriate or helpful.

Some of those questions are:

  • Do I know for sure it is true?
  • Is what I am putting my attention on make me feel good?
  • Is what I am putting my attention on moving me in the direction I want to go?

If the answer is no, no and no then we can choose to redirect our attention. In some cases we can apply positive regard and in others we can simply work towards neutral.



In this second blog and video Michael shares the importance of recognizing the bi-directional highway  between our heart and our brain. He discusses the important role that our heart plays in sending signals to the brain regarding our safety.  When we sense danger we send a message from the heart to the brain that we are under threat.  The autonomic nervous system is affected and our body begins to produce adrenaline and cortisol without our conscious awareness.

These two hormones allow the body to react appropriately in the face of real danger. However, what happens when we simply think anxious or fearful thoughts. What if we  relive in our minds a dangerous situation we experienced in the past.  This can affect our heart rate (our coherence) and create the environment for adrenaline and cortisol to be produced.

Heart, Brain and Emotions

Our understanding of this bi-directional highway is so important in understanding human behaviour and emotions in the workplace. Leaders who are informed and take time to understand our unique physiology and the Heart / Brain connection are better prepared in understanding human behaviour in the workplace.

We hope you will take a few minutes to explore this new video in our series.  Please feel free to comment as we want to hear from you

Our Pot of Soup

Understanding the complexity of human behaviour is at the forefront of leadership development. Our willingness to explore new areas of science relating to positive psychology, heart/brain communication, and the autonomic nervous system are important components in understanding what makes us tick.

One of the analogies we use is a  Pot of Soup. We are born with some basic attributes (ingredients) such as a tendency towards introversion or extroversion, however than life happens.  Prior to the full development of our brains we are exposed to well-meaning and loving parents, grand-parents, teachers, coaches and clergy. All of these individual influences have a significant impact on how we see the world.


In this next series of videos we explore the complexities of being human. We explore the opportunities each of us have to improve our understanding, empathy, compassion and profound awareness of what makes us who we are. Concepts will be linked to critical leadership skills and how performance is improved as we build understanding and practice new skills.

As Michael explores these complex topics it is valuable to remember that we never want anyone else to fully know what is in our Pot of Soup nor would we want to know all of another person’s ingredients. It is the high level, ten thousand foot view, that informs in order to build deeper compassion and care in our organizations. Exactly what we need to create a true community with the competitive advantage we seek. “The Secret Sauce of Our Corporate Culture”.

Love and the Compassionate Culture- Kindness Part III

The courage to be kind to ourselves.

In this week video we discuss the importance of honouring ourselves, strengths and weaknesses. The courage it takes to be honest when we make an error is a sign of character and authenticity. One the one hand we say that we want people to be honest and candid with their thoughts and feelings but often this is not actually very comfortable.

When we have a digression it is important to recognize it, move through it quickly, and let it go while reflecting and  learning from it. The key is not to dwell on it and beat ourselves up.


Only a few months or year ago we may not have even recognized a behaviour within ourselves as undesirable. When you recognize this now we need to honour the place within yourself that takes ownership. Your ability  to be honest with yourself and others even when it is not easy is huge progress.  The key is to acknowledge, let go and move on with a clear intention to catch yourself earlier next time.

That’s self-care … that’s kindness to oneself.

As leaders part of your role is to make space for these reflections through great inquiry, curiosity and exploration with no judgement.  Not easy that’s for sure!


Love and The Compassionate Culture- How Kindness Plays a Role Part II

In this next discussion we explore how errors and mistakes at work impact our personal well-being and those we lead. Many companies understand and state that errors are a part of growing and learning and that it is ok when an error occurs. But, is it really ok.

Forgiving Myself and Others

Often corporate cultures will have very good intentions and logically understand the human condition and all of it’s intelligence and it’s flaws. They will state that errors are part of innovation and growth and that is ok when an error occurs. We believe these statements come from a well meaning place. However, the reality is often different than the intention.  People in a quiet and subtle way are made to feel bad when an error occurs. They are required to taketh mistake apart, examine it in detail, and relive the short falls. There is a long standing belief that we need to examine in great detail an error in order to ensure that it never happens again. However, there is no evidence to support this logic. We would suggest this is very flawed.

When an error occurs the person has usually already relived it over and over again and doesn’t need the manager to remind them. What they need is kindness and support in moving forward with positive energy.

No Sweeping Under the Rug

This does not mean that errors are ignored or swept under the carpet.  What it means is that the leader can explore in a compassionate way how the person is feeling and what they have already processed.  Leave the responsibility where it belongs and allow the employee to process in their own unique way. Make it safe for them to talk about it and to build a plan for recovery from a positive perspective.