T.H.E. Insights

Is your company in reverse?

posted 15 Nov 2010, 05:15 by Terry Wilcox

Many companies are ignoring the latest evolutional human driver and are actually promoting an attitude used to exist in the stone-age. They are promoting an environment where thought is given to only the individual, the needs of the one rather than the many moving us back to thinking like a Neanderthal. The Theory of Excellence (THE) founder shares his thoughts on this subject.  

I was taking my dogs for their early morning walk today and was inspired by one of my next door neighbours. He was driving round our little village giving out Thai sweets made from rice.  He stopped next to me on his bike and handed me six carefully folded banana leaves. I asked if he wanted money in my best Thai and he smiled and said no thanks. Then he proceeded down one of the driveways of another neighbour to deliver to them. For some reason this made me think of the western world, companies and their influence on life!

I started to ponder how in evolutionary biology, people often speak of the four Fs, which are said to be the four basic drivers or states of mind that animals (including humans) are evolutionarily adapted to focus upon: fighting, fleeing, feeding, and reproduction. The last of these is obviously not literally an F word, but is tongue-in-cheek reference to fornication or the other more commonly used 'F word'. However, the Theory of Human Excellence, which focuses upon applying the latest developments in neuroscience within business, states that human evolution, has moved on and now there are five F's. The four F's mentioned above are reinforced by Dopamine and are based on individual success. The last F in this new innovative theory is for Family, which is the very latest part of the human brain's evolution and is Oxytocin based.  This neighbour was driven by his fifth F and receiving an enormous amount of pleasure delivering his gifts. He was looking after his extended family, which was our small village. It made me reflect on how we humans live now, what our future holds, and how companies are actually taking us backwards.

The human race moved from hunter-gathers to farmers. Going from day to day existence of catching what was required to eat to a planned life based on the seasons and supporting each other.  We shifted our time thought horizon from days to years considering what to plant and when, what animals to keep, and looking after each-others children whist other parents worked on other areas of the commune. The village was born and so were professions, work, skills and jobs. It was all based around the family. Being social. Caring for each other rather than just yourself. The extended family was our new way of life, including neighbours and animals. The human brain adapted and started rewarding giving, caring and social interaction. Laughing, cheering,
clapping, team work, empathy, generosity, caring prospered in every areas of our existence. We became socially orientated.

I then reflected on a chap I knew quite well who had totally focussed on the success of his company and ignored his children. This total and utter focus on the four F's cost him his family. I also thought about the current workplace. A sterile environment of nine till five with strictly controlled breaks. Clocking in and out. Sitting in cubicles answering phones. Glass walls to protect the employees from the very people they are interacting with. All the things that evolution has given us to enjoy the last F being sucked out of every factory or office. Then I thought about a recent documentary on the TV of a drinks company that wanted to employ the best. They had a ping pong table and a bar football table in the restaurant that was also used for meetings, and artificial grass on the floor. They focused on a great working environment and paid for their employee's children to attend university. I also thought about Google's free time for their employees to develop whatever they wanted and work with who they wanted. So, there was still hope for the human race with regards to work. Therefore, the question is easy for all CEO's, directors and business leaders - are you evolving or are you going backwards to a world driven by only four F's. Are you benefiting from the fifth - the real driver?

Liebherr Thailand Improves with THE

posted 24 Oct 2010, 01:17 by Terry Wilcox

The Liebherr Group comprises of more than 100 companies on every continent of the World and employs a workforce of more than 32,000 people. Liebherr produces a very wide range of industrial products including cranes, construction machinery, mining trucks, machine tools, material flow technology through to refrigerators, freezers and aeroplane technologies. The Thailand based subsidiary was founded in 1998 and now has a workforce of over 200 employees. At this plant they focus primarily upon concrete technology products producing batching plants to mix concrete and truck mixers to transport the concrete. These are sold domestically and throughout Asia. Liebherr has an excellent name for quality, customer service together with manufacturing well designed and reliable machinery. They are a market leader within the concrete industry and many, many of their trucks are delivering concrete throughout Thailand and the rest of the world.

Liebherr aspire to develop a working environment where employees continually improve their ability to achieving their goals; where new and expansive patterns of thinking are sustainably established; and where people are continually learning to understand the whole. Therefore, Liebherr understands that particular views and ideas from outside the organization, in addition to its own internal visions and strategies, are a significant component to introduce change and engineer the organisation for continuous improvement.

In order to improve their processes, procedures and interdependencies within the organization, Liebherr Thailand commissioned a consulting and training program from Mr. Terry Wilcox, founder of the Theory of Human Excellence (THE). After a comprehensive introduction of THE theory to the Senior Management of the organization, THE’s principles were used within a project to induced structural changes to the organisation. Increasing the efficiency of the project and also of the organisation as a whole was one of the key targets. The Project Manager and the project team were therefore also introduced to the concepts and approach of T.H.E.  

The project manager was working together with Mr. Wilcox for two months and used the THE approach on the project, plus on his own decision making process and rational. His view on the project:

“For me as a strong intuitive and fire fighting type of person, as soon as I see a problem, I try to solve it immediately, sometimes without thinking too much or thoroughly about how to solve the problem. As soon as I have a solution I just go for it. So what THE helped me to appreciate is that there are other ways of approaching tasks and issues.

Another significant point for me was that it is possible to get into another Zone; to change yourself; your behavior and your patterns during work. The Zone a person is in can be very different depending on the situation or environment around that person. For instance, a person can be in a different Zones when working, playing sport or relaxing with his family.

Finally, THE showed me where my strengths and weaknesses at work are, whilst extended my usual pattern of thought. I understood how to use different decision methods or styles and it really made me use much more of my brain power. It drastically changed my way of approaching issues and THE offered me alternative approaches to problem solving. During the actual project I adopted more strategies to follow or apply in certain management situations. These changes made the project more efficient and changed my style of working to a more structured and effective way. This also gave me more room for thinking about strategic topics and more closely controlling them rather than just problem solving”

Throughout the whole Thai organisation, even those employees who were not part of the project team, THE had an effect on their understanding of the organisations and employee behavior patterns. Conflicts and issues between people were discussed more openly and people understood the rational of decisions, plus they were able to reflect and understand their own thought processes alongside that of their colleagues. All employees using the approach have been empowered and the organisation as a whole is able to understand and change significant patterns. This new tool empowered Liebherr Thailand to become more efficient, plus create a constantly learning and improving environment.

Once more, Liebherr Thailand would like to thank Mr. Wilcox for his consultancy and is happy to recommend the Theory of Human Excellence as a practical and useful tool to help obtain a clearer picture of what is happening in an organisation and being able to adopt change to increase efficiency. 

We walk together - but who is in front?

posted 22 Oct 2010, 00:07 by Unknown user   [ updated 22 Oct 2010, 00:13 ]

I recently attended a Round Square conference with a theme of 'We walk together', which had some excellent speakers and sessions. Two of the speakers were really inspirational. Peter Dalglish, who is the founder of Street Kids International, plus Father Joseph Maier who is a very amusing Catholic priest and founder of the Human Development Foundation that schools 4,000 slum children. These two speakers seemed to have endless energy and drive to make a difference. Both their themes were along the same line - we can all make a difference.

Over lunch I sat with some Australian delegates and listened to their views on how they could incorporate what they had heard in their efforts to integrate their form of street kids, Aborigines, into their society. They were discussing how they could make a difference. Their collective view was that Australia's indigenous people needed to drop their cultural difference to be able to live the new Australian way of life. Some recent neuro research sprang to mind and this, coupled with how I think the Western way is affecting our world, had me questioning the views of the delegates and speakers.

Recent research states that scientists have been surprised at how deeply culture shapes the brain. An example is the medial prefrontal cortex that represents the self: it is active when westerners think of their own identity and traits. But with Chinese volunteers, the results were strikingly different with the "me" circuit humming not only when they thought whether a particular adjective described themselves, but also when they considered whether it described their mother. Westerners showed no such overlap between self and mom', (Begley 2010).

Also, comparing the East with the West from living in both regions and being a Westerner married to an Asian for nearly twenty years, I suggest that there are massive differences in the way the brain operates and our behaviour. Westerners are far more dopamine based - self orientated and personal goal focused as shown by the above research. Asians and probably other regions of the world are far more family based or social goal orientated, again as per the research. But why is this? I believe that it is a result of the security blanket that is in place in the Western World.

Health insurance, pensions, unemployment benefit, accident cover, maternity leave, plus many other types of personal protection. In Asia this is your family. When you are young in Asia you are totally dependent on your parents or relatives. When you are in mid-life you turn to your siblings. And when you are old you go to your grown up children houses, maybe even living with them for your final years. There are no nursing homes in Asia. This Asian family based culture also has a massive influence on both language and attitude. And, it is not just the direct relatives, but spans across friends, people of the same race and even animals. Some nations even use the title sister or brother with people who they come into regular contact with as alternative to the western Mr, Master, Mrs or Miss. The constant use of familial language greatly promotes and maintains this cultural trait. In the western world the state and your policies are your family in times of need.

So, is incorporating these 'less advanced cultures' into the western society correct? Research has also shown that the social reward that is secreted into the blood stream and brain, Oxytocin is far healthier than the personal reward chemicals such as dopamine. So, being social actually promotes a good life. We all know how much stress there is in the western world with large debt, pressure at work, and the massive detrimental effects of the stress from living in the rat race.

Consequently, I would suggest that these social based cultures should be teaching the western world how to behave; what values to adopt; and how to live with one another. Maybe, the delegates should try walk together with the people they are trying to help with the aim of learning, not converting. But as almost all the western world sees itself at the forefront of life, I guess they will still think they should be at the front taking the most direct routes as instructed by their new GPS enabled phone, rather that following the group who are enjoying the walk and each others company! So, we walk together - but who should be at the front??

THE Enlightenment Lecture - Regent's School, Pattaya

posted 21 Oct 2010, 23:42 by Unknown user   [ updated 21 Oct 2010, 23:49 ]

Terry Wilcox, the founder of the Theory of Human Excellence (THE), presented during the Enlightenment series of lectures to selected students at The Regent's School, Pattaya Campus. This lecture provided a basic introduction to the human brain. The main focus of the lectures is 'enhancing learning skills' that could boost an individuals performance and improve their ability to complete every day tasks.

The lecture covered topics such as brain plasticity and how this allows the brain to constantly change. How, through regular exercise, good food, adequate sleep and systematic thought, the brain can be developed. The students used plasticine to model the brain, reinforcing their memory of a constantly changing and growing mind. Also covered during the lecture were demonstrations of how the body's sensory inputs are combined with memories to form a picture of the real world and how this can be altered or tricked by illusions. To help understand the way the brain rewards itself, volunteer students performed practical experiments to help demonstrate both the individual and social human reward mechanism. This topic helped students to understand how motivation works and how to help each other succeed when in teams.

The lecture also covered how mirror neurons make humans follow other people's behaviour patterns like laughing or yawning, plus several accelerated learning techniques to help the students remember content. The final elements of the lecture covered how to raise performance levels when completing any task by using positive self-talk and visualisation techniques. Many practical experiments or alternative learning methods were incorporated to ensure the lecture was unlike their normal learning environment. An example of this is that all the PowerPoint slides had virtually no words and contained only relevant pictures or images. this helped the students to remember that humans actually don't think in words - but pictures. This also greatly aided their comprehension of the subject matter.

Feedback from the students was extremely positive. They found the content both interesting and useful. The general opinion was that the knowledge provided should allow them to improve how they learn, improve how they remember and help them achieve a higher level of performance. In fact, the lecture was so well received that Terry has been requested to conduct the same lecture at the earliest opportunity for the reminder of the student body.

If your organisation is interested in having a lecture on the theory then please contact terrywilcox@theoryofexcellence.org.

Take your dogs to the beach to increase your IQ!

posted 21 Oct 2010, 23:41 by Unknown user   [ updated 22 Oct 2010, 00:04 ]

Do you want to increase your intelligence? The Theory Of Human Excellence (THE) is founded upon the latest neuro-scientific research and helps explain how humans learn, think and behave with one of the key elements of the theory being ways to boost brain power. The founder of THE, Terry Wilcox, recommends walking the dog on the beach as one of the best ways to help boost intelligence as recent neurological research confirms you will receive three brain boosts all at once! It also reduces stress and helps promote healthy living.

It is widely recognised that petting a dog reduces stress and stimulates the brain to release its 'feel good hormones'. This has resulted in visits of Therapy Dogs to hospitals becoming a common event all over the world to help patients recover and heal. These “magical doggy moments” change lives and help improve both emotional state and the effectiveness of the human brain. But you don’t have to be sick to benefit from this interaction – anyone’s brain can benefit from playing with a pet. Another way to affect the brain in a positive manner is walking. It is now known that this is a good way to improve intelligence as it increases blood flow to the brain increasing the neural connections promoting new learning, memory improvements and cognitive power. So, walking the dog will achieve both these brain boosts.

However, a third way to increase the brains performance that can be combined with walking the dogs has recently been discovered. Neuroscientists have revealed through fMRI scans that viewing picturesque environmental scenes of natural features such as the ocean cause distinct brain areas to become "connected" with one another. They also found that man-made environments, such as highways, disrupt brain connections. Dr. Michael Hunter of the University of Sheffield's Cognition and Neuroimaging Laboratory and colleagues at the Institute of Medicine and Neuroscience at Julich, Germany, carried out functional brain scanning at the University of Sheffield to examine brain activity when people were presented with images of tranquil beach scenes and non-tranquil highway scenes. The natural scenes caused brain areas to work in sync, whereas the man-made environment had a disruptive affect. Therefore Terry Wilcox recommends that to gain the maximum tonic for your brain, combine all three types of boost – walk your dogs on the beach or in the country-side. Maybe even sit petting them whilst the sun sets. A sure guarantee of a brain boost combined with stress reduction. Terry Wilcox is founder of the Theory of Human Excellence has two Dalmatians – Domino and Bingo. They get several walks a day either on the beach or in the countryside. He is recognised by all that know him as full of ideas, always comes up with a solution, and immense enthusiasm for all he does. He puts this down to the thinking when walking his dogs. His two dogs have not asked for a share of his salary as they are happy to just get a regular bonus of a biscuit, bone or chew.

Neuroscience brings Direct Mail back to life!

posted 31 Aug 2010, 10:55 by Unknown user   [ updated 31 Aug 2010, 11:02 ]

Neuroscience continues to prove the 'marketing experts' wrong and also confirm for many of us that we never really understood how the brain works.

Recent neuro-research has proven that direct mail is not dead and actually has a stronger influence on consumers than digital media. Furthermore, actual real life experiments revealed that direct mail creates a much stronger impression that lasts longer, and delivers a better return on investment and improves a brand's adoption. Whilst postmen in the UK are extremely happy with this revelation, many multi-million dollar brand consultancy companies are a little red faced. They have been 'selling' new marketing strategies based upon -
you need to go fully digital; Social 2.0 is the only way; it needs to go viral; digital is much more cost effective, ubiquitous and has the best impact. How wrong they are and it just goes to show that we should continue to validate even our basic concepts against new developments in neuroscience.

These findings were the result of research done on for the Royal Mail by the Bangor University. People were given physical direct mail along with digital advertisements. What they found through fMRI scans is that direct mail is significantly more multi-sensory than online marketing, as a result of the increased number of senses used by holding something in your hand, rather than just looking at it one a monitor. So, the lets go digital bandwagon just hit a bump and all the advertising consultants will have to take out their old 'direct marketing' slides from the trash bin and build a new presentation based around a mix of digital and tangible items that we can touch, hold and feel. Time for a new set of buzz words and re-vamped strategic pitches, I think!

The Theory of Human Excellence (THE) is based on the very latest neuro-scientific research such as the experiments used above, plus some completely original thought based upon years of investigation and analysis. THE provides a new way to view the way humans think or make decisions, plus it delivers a revolutionary strategy that is used to define and control how organisations operate and improve their business in areas such as marketing, sales or man management. The combination of new research plus original thought are used to deliver human excellence at work, which increases productivity and profit.

Terry Wilcox
Theory of Human Excellence


posted 24 Aug 2010, 23:04 by Unknown user   [ updated 24 Aug 2010, 23:07 ]

It states on the Theory of Excellence's web site that the reward for being social is greater than the reward for being a winner. A reader has contacted me to ask why.

Winning a physical competition normally requires the body to elevate internal functions such as increasing heart rate, diverting blood to more vital organs, increasing the respiratory rate to get more oxygen from the atmosphere, breaking down glycog
en stored in the liver and muscle to get more glucose, whilst intelligence based tasks require an increase in brain power again requiring blood t o be diverted from other areas. Although both types of activities, when done in a positive state of mind rather than under stress or through anxiety, have positive effects on the body and are essential for health living, they can also have negative effects. Preparation for competition to get in the correct state of mind uses exactly the same hormones cortisol and testosterone as our body releases when under stress. Our body actually starts the primitive reaction of either flight or fight. Exactly the same state as stress and as we all know, 'stress kills'. Stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It raises blood pressure, suppresses the immune system, increases the risk of a heart attack, contributes to infertility, and speeds up the aging process. What may not be as commonly known is that positive social interaction has exactly the opposite affect and actually promotes good health helping to extend life.

Why is this? Because, when we socialise our bodies release Oxytocin, which is the brains way of rewarding i tself. Oxytocin is known as the "cuddle" hormone and has powerful, health-promoting properties. It is released when we cultivate warm, loving, intimate relationships and is most potent when we combine touch with positive interactions. Here are some examples on how you can experience the benefits of this hormone: take care of a pet; hold hands, hug and kiss more; give and receive a backrub; or go for a massage.

So, although winning gives the greatest buzz and we get a higher sense of reward, in the long term taken too seriously this is also having a negative effect on our bodies. The social reward gained from a relationship only has positive effects. But balance, as ever, is key. We all need exercise to maintain our bodies and the feeling of victory is great - but don't let winning become the be all and end all. Realise that you are competing to improve your health and not just to win. Enjoy the participation more than the result!

If you have any questions regarding the Theory of Human Excellence (THE) or anything else related to human performance, please feel free to contact me via the 
contacts page on the web site.

Terry Wilcox

Theory of Human Excellence

Change in the mirror

posted 23 Aug 2010, 02:08 by Unknown user   [ updated 23 Aug 2010, 03:37 ]

Has no one told the fashion industry that humans don't like change. Didn't they get the memo that change is difficult? If they did, they either ignored it or did not understand what it was about. The fashion industry doesn't concern itself with change, it just has faith in the power of the mirror!

And 'mirror neurons' are why the industry prospers. Merely seeing someone else wearing a new style, especially someone famous or a role model, triggers the brain to copy, imitate, or try to behave the same. That's why mega brands are so keen to have super-stars wear or use their merchandise, even to the point of giving them away free. These specialized brain cells also fire when we see actions performed or emotions expressed that we automatically mimic. We are all familiar with how infectious yawning or laughing can be. This is human mirroring at work.

One of the key reasons the fashion industry can play on this human aspect so successfully
is that it takes very little effort to keep with the latest trends or styles. New products or brands are carefully engineered so that they can be easily adopted. Just imagine how difficult it would be to start a new fashion that took 30 minutes to wear. The fashion industry knows the quicker the better; the easier to wear the more popular the item - just look at jeans. The only time-consuming, high maintenance trend that comes to mind that was a world-wide success is 'the teddy boy DA' haircut. However, that probably had the most famous person of all time promoting it - Elvis. And, I would imagine the men believed they would be equally attractive to women if they donned the same haircut. Sex sells. Another fashion industry corner stone, but that's for another day.

So, is change really difficult? Do humans reject new things, finding them difficult to a
dopt? If you ask the IT industry they say change management is 'nearly impossible'! If you ask the fashion industry they would respond 'its human nature and we have built an industry on it'. The real truth is that if you make change difficult, needing lots of effort with very little reward, then yes, it is difficult. However, if you make it enjoyable, rewarding and trendy then it is easy, it happens almost automatically.

Terry Wilcox
Theory of Human Excellence

Neuro research changing the marketing landscape

posted 9 Aug 2010, 04:43 by Unknown user   [ updated 24 Aug 2010, 23:08 ]

Large companies are starting to realise that understanding how the human brain operates and thinks can have a very positive effect on end sales. Nowhere is this more critical than in the world of consumer marketing. Previously, marketing campaigns for new products would include pre-launch  feedback from a typical target audience to understand their reaction to the marketing of the new product. Colours, slogans, packaging, adverts, smells, tastes, plus many other things could be tested by asking the target audience for their feedback. This was done by them either completing a questionnaire or providing verbal feedback sometimes within a group discussion. The results could be somewhat average and difficult to understand.

Companies are now turning to new neuro-scientific methods to gain a better understanding of their poten tial customer’s reaction. They are starting to employ functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) testing, which has taken the feedback to a whole new level. Using these scans they are capturing the test subjects' actual brainwave activity. They can measure and analyse their responses to different aspects of the product. By monitoring brainwave activity across the full brain, scientists are able to measure the immediate and subconscious reaction to various products. These include: Attention, Emotional Engagement, Memory Retention, Overall Effectiveness, Purchase Intent, Novelty, and Awareness.

By discovering how well something like a magazine cover, the box on a new perfume, the wrapper on a chocolate bar scores in each of these areas, neuro-scientists can help companies to select the correct visual stimulus which is most likely to capture our interest and appeal to potential buyers at the deep subconscious level. The same technology can be applied to a wide range of areas to discover the strength of subconscious responses that they generate in the brain.

This 21st century marketing science is increasingly being used across numerous industries worldwide to help companies improve their product development, package design, and marketing efforts. The practical applications are very wide ranging and will have a massive impact on the future of product marketing and new launches in many, many different industries.

Terry Wilcox

Theory of Human Excellence

The last decade's music will live forever

posted 8 Aug 2010, 10:19 by Unknown user   [ updated 23 Aug 2010, 03:32 ]

Why does that old song instantly make you feel good and make you start to shuffle your feet? Why does the smell of fish and chips remind you of Friday nights sitting outside the local pub with the kids on the swings? The Theory of Human Excellence can tell you why! New studies have explained that things we smell or hear are woven deeply within our memories and associated with that particular time, place or person. This fundamental concept is deep within the main principles of the Theory of Human Excellence.

Retrieving one memory triggers the others. This explains why a whiff of a particular type of perfume reminds us instantly of the person we know who used it. Just as a particular sound, like an old record can spin us back in time to re-live all the positives at that era.  Neuro science has now told us that sight, sound and smell memories are woven together in associated memories making the sensory parts of our brain function as one. THE utilises this basic brain function of how we think within the theory and the fact that when one memory is recalled or used as a stimulus, other related memories flood out.

Our recollections however are not always how it was or truly accurate. The brain cleverly only remembers the good times – it wears rose tinted glasses. Studies have shown that no matter how badly we have been hurt in the past, that we only recall the positive memories. We forget the feeling of the broken heart in the week-end disco. We forget the bad weather or queuing for a taxi for hours to get home. We only remember the good times we had with close friends and enjoying life. Again, this patchy recall needs to be taken into account when thinking about how information is recalled at work, which is covered within the theory’s section on decisions and forgetting.

This concept of associated recall is why the ‘re-live the previous decade’ type discos are so popular and everyone seems so lively and happy when at them. Everyone remembering all their close friends, strange fashions and old flames that dominated their lives all associated with the music of the era. So, it not just the seventies music that will live on, or the eighties or nineties depending on your age .. our children will also have their own ‘re-live the good-times’ discos. It well may sound like it is from another World to us rather than music but they, like us, will all be re-living their youth!

Ref: Role of Secondary Sensory Cortices in Emotional Memory Storage and Retrieval in Rats," by T. Sacco; B. Sacchetti at University of Turin in Turin, Italy; B. Sacchetti at National Institute of Neuroscience in Turin, Italy. Science, Aug 6, 2010.

Terry Wilcox
Theory of Human Excellence

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