Archive for March, 2011

Libby Purves’ column in the Times today headlined with “Less flair, more care.  We urge creativity in our children, but as recent police errors show, attention to dull detail matters as much”

She goes on to say the Independent Police Complaints commission has made public exactly what went wrong for 17 years in the hunt for the “Night Stalker”, Delroy Grant who robbed and raped old people. She claims that individual officers had not been dotting their i’s and crossing the t’s and criminals have been free to carry on committing crimes when they could have been behind bars.

This Libby feels opens a wider theme.  ”Outside Science and engineering the virtues of nit-picking accuracy and fussy care have become less valued than they were. Modern children are more likely to be urged towards creativity, freedom and questioning the status quo. All good stuff but care and precison matter too and should not be dismissed as “anal”, joyless or borderline obsessive – compulsive disorder”

Of course Libby is correct and this is just what we advocate at Analytical, logical and detailed thinking is just as important as being imaginative, flexible and thinking about the people in any situation. This is why we suggest people use their whole brain in any situation. Most people have a dominant preference and I think you can see what Libby’s is when she talks about early parenthood and how she checked utensil sizes every few weeks after one of her children got its head stuck in a saucepan!! She also sought babysitters with a ‘fussy awareness’ of hot pans, plugs, string and marbles! When mine were little I was just glad of a break and accepted anyone who looked half sensible!

I think you wouldn’t be wrong in describing Libby as being left brained in her thinking so what’s that?  Well she has an eye for accuracy and perfection and gets terribly upset if someone points out a mistake and says she feels sick for an hour or two! Someone who was more right brained in their thinking would just be grateful someone had noticed and wouldn’t be bothered about being wrong. She also has an eye for detail describing her weekend at sea and how she notices that nearly every problem has its origin in someone’s lack of punctiliousness. People who are more right brained in their thinking generally don’t go looking for problems they live in the moment and enjoy it.

But thank goodness we have people like Libby and thank goodness for free spirits too.

I would like to take up her point about creativity and children but that is for another blog!


Libby Purves in the Times yesterday was saying how the diagnoses of ADHD in school children has rocketed, and with them the use of Ritalin (methylphenidate). What started in the US in the 1960’s has risen in this country from 3,500 prescriptions in 1993 to over 610,000 two years ago.

Libby Purves includes a checklist in her article of symptoms of ADHD and of its sibling ODD Oppositional Defiant Disorder. These include: short attention span, carelessness, forgetfulness, being unable to stick at tasks that are tedious or time consuming, ignoring rules and instructions, unwillingness to sit still, fidgeting, impulsiveness, interrupting conversations and having too little sense of danger.

She goes on to say that “Boys are diagnosed most, but the NHS website suggests they’re closing in on girls too, with the mainly inattentive form of the condition, which may make them quiet and dreamy. Don’t look out of the window or doodle hearts, Suzie or they’ll get you with the chemical cosh”

This unease about the wide acceptance of the drug solution to this problem is something Sir Ken Robinson highlighted in a talk he gave at the London Business Forum a couple of years ago and it’s been something which has concerned me for a long time too.

I’m not saying that there is no such thing as ADD, ADHD or ODD I’m saying that some children are misdiagnosed. Reading the above checklist you could be describing someone who is a strong R1 or very right brain dominated in their thinking. Sir Ken Robinson writes in his book ‘The Element’ about Gillian Lynne who helped create some of the most successful musical theatre productions in history, Cats and Phantom of the opera. Gillian describes how when she is taken to a dance school for the first time “I walked in to this room, and it was full of people like me. People who couldn’t sit still. People who had to move to think” Sir Ken says “I think now they’d say she had ADHD and they’d put her on Ritalin or something similar. But the ADHD epidemic hadn’t been invented at the time. It wasn’t an available condition. People had to get by without it.”

Again in Libby Purves article “Professor Tim Kendall who chaired the NICE guideline committee cites “reliable reports of children in nursery being medicated” He went onto say that “There are two reasons why parents go shopping for a diagnosis. The first is to improve their child’s performance at school, and the second is to get access to benefits”

A few years ago I walked into my local bank and I got talking to the foreign exchange banker who was helping me send some money abroad. I told him about NBI brain profile and I predicted he was an L1 R1, a cerebral thinker and I described what that meant. He confirmed I was correct and wanted to know how I could read him so well. I explained that he was fiddling with his pen continuously, tapping his foot, he was easily distracted, had made a mistake on the form but was obviously good at Maths because he was working in a bank all these pointed towards a strong L1 R1 thinker. He then went onto explain how he had been put on Ritalin while he was at secondary school as his parents wanted him to get good GCSE’s.   Once he had got through school he came off the drug. If he had really been ADD, ADHD or ODD he would still be on the drug surely.

This isnt the only story I have personally heard and it’s the reason I am passionate about getting the NBI Brain profile into more schools.

Let’s get more parents understanding their children better rather than putting them on medication.

Whole Brain Leadership

Saturday 12th March, 2011

Is it a factor of the tough economic climate, the classic ‘when the going gets tough the tough get going’ type scenario?

Well something is certainly happening as the last three proposals we’ve been asked to provide have all been related to the above subject. What is it and how do you know whether you’re doing it?

Well what it isn’t is ‘leading’ by only measuring, controlling, being directive etc. this is much more aligned to simply ’managing’.

A clue was gleaned from an ex-professional footballer who had been observing Tottenham Hotspur’s rise to the heady heights of the last sixteen in the Champions League. He said that in the  800 days of his reign Harry Redknapp has not only applied great tactics in the games but he is forever encouraging players, celebrating their individual successes and team successes. Team spirit a much talked about goal seems to be the result the ‘whole’ becomes greater than the constituent parts. This is in essence is what whole brain leadership is about: the use of BOTH sides of your brain to understand what is needed in a particular situation with your team.