Category Archives: AltMBA

Controlling our Lizard Brain could help us make better decisions

AltMBA2 Lizard

Our brains have developed considerably since early primates diverged from other mammals about 85 million years ago. However, increasingly, behavioural psychology studies are showing us how one part of our grey matter has not changed: our ‘lizard brain’.

The lizard brain, or the limbic system (the thing keeping a lizard’s mind ticking), was used by early humans as a primitive ‘fight or flight’ response. It was also a mechanism for weighing up feeding and procreation options.

Fast forward several million decades, and it has been identified this prehistoric part of our brain is now central to the processing of our memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions. Increasingly behavioural science is examining how controlling your lizard brain can have a profound effect on the way we solve complex problems, from finding a life partner to making better investment decisions.

Quick-fix solutions

The lizard brain enjoys the short-term game. It prefers immediate and quick-fix solutions. It is more fearful of loss than hopeful of gain. This is great for low-value decisions like crossing the road or choosing a hamburger. But engage your lizard brain with anything more complex, and there can be disastrous consequences.

The problem is the framework of the lizard brain emphasizes a narrow spectrum of information; obsessing about previous data while discounting future uncertain indicators. This ancient structure exerts powerful and often unconscious influences on behaviour; and, in the world of investments, it may explain why experienced investors buy at irrationally high prices and sell at irrationally low ones. Lizard brain thinking may also lurk at the bottom of financial catastrophes.

Behavioural psychologists talk about the lizard brain being essentially resistance. It is that little voice in the back of your head, the one telling you something will never work; the one which worries people will laugh at you.  And when under pressure, with the stakes raised and people watching, rather than rationally appraising all the options, the lizard brain instinctively strikes. Behavioural research shows consistently employing an instinctive response in complex, high stake decisions has a negative outcome.

You can read the full article on YourMoney.com – http://www.yourmoney.com/investing/make-better-investment-decisions/

AltMBA Download

AltMBA1

Yesterday I ran a 90 minute download at Redington covering what I learnt on Seth Godin’s Alt MBA.

20 people attended, some from Redington and some from other firms in the city. For those that didn’t make it in running a second session next Tuesday 18th August at Redington.

I had initially thought about going through all 12 Projects; but thankfully for those attending I managed to consolidate it down to 6 key areas of interest.

They were:

  1. What stopping us…?
  2. Making good decisions
  3. Being more creative
  4. Achieving your goals & dreams
  5. Making change happen
  6. The first step

Some of the lessons I was trying to convey were:

  • Know the change you want to make, who you are trying to change and what change you are seeking
  • Get inside the head of your target person/group. If you want to change, influence or persuade anyone of anything, you need to start by understanding their worldview.
  • Develop a human, charismatic and honest story that will resonate with the people you seek to change.
  • Be vulnerable. This will help your team/group open up and get beneath the surface quickly.
  • Review your boundaries and constraints (most are self-imposed) challenge yourself to think bigger, bolder and make more change
  • Push through your fear (it’s your Lizard Brain). When you feel scared that’s when you’re probably onto something good. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
  • The magic of continuous feedback from people who care. The quicker you send it/share it the more input you can get and the better you can iterate your way to success.

The AltMBA is one of the best learning experiences I have been involved in. It drew on the best of Management School and blended it with the best of Online Learning, as well as the latest Neuroscience to ensure what we learn sinks in, is applied and is retained.  Here’s Seth’s original pitch for it.

The question it raises for me is:

What if we could deliver highly effective training like this to new hires, colleagues, future leaders and clients? What if we could download seriously valuable skills in just a few hours or even days?

If you or someone you know would like to attend this AltMBA Download to get an overview of the content (not so much the format), send me a message ([email protected]) and I’ll confirm details.

Here’s a link to the presentation I delivered: AltMBA Download 12Aug Final

aor22

 

Can I help you to make change happen?

One way street

As many of you know I’m coming to the end of my one month course – Seth Godin’s AltMBA – which is all about “making change happen”:

  • It’s been a part time, one month long, online course run by Seth Godin and has taken up all my evenings and weekends.
  • It has been an intense, stretching and eye-opening experience (one more week to go).
  • It takes a very different approach of working, learning and collaborating. I think it offers a glimpse into the future of education. I have loved it and have learnt so much.
  • I’ve completed 11 projects over 3 weeks with 25 other people based in France, Ireland, South Africa, Nigeria, Singapore, Boston, New York, California, and India. (It’s taken up every morning, evening and weekend since 15th June).
  • I’m now into my final week with 2 final projects to go.
  • Here’s the application form for anyone interested in applying for a future cohort (you can give my name as a reference): http://goo.gl/forms/RR470HLG9q

For my final challenge (Project 13) I need to organize and run a live event to teach others what you’ve learned in altMBA. Seth’s brief is –

“Not everyone is able to do the course themselves. Sharing is a generous act, a gift. 10 people (minimum) must attend. It can be at work, at a group you’re part of, or for strangers. It can be offered free or with paid admission. But at least 10 people have to come, and you have to be in charge. It needs to take place no more than four weeks after the end of the altMBA. This is the culmination of everything we’ve learnt so far…”

I would really appreciate your input on this. I haven’t yet figured out whether to do this at work, at home or an independent venue; whether to do a 1 hour summary, a half day interactive workshop ora one week series of mini altMBA experience.

My question for you is –

Are you interested in attending? What would like like to get out of it? Who else do you think might benefit?
How much time do you want to give to it?
How deep would you like to go?

Please reply to this message or email me on ‘[email protected] with your thoughts.

For those of you who wanted to read one or two of my AltMBA posts they are all public; but to make it easier I have listed them below (and tried to categorise them):

General Business:

Project 12 – Launching the ‘Future Leaders’ program (3 minute video on helping others to make change): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/launching-our-inaugural-future-leaders-program/

Project 11 – Death is not the end it is just a shedding of skin (What if Apple did Savings & Investments): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/death-is-not-the-end/

Project 7 – I have a problem with Hierarchy (Organisational Change): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/i-have-a-problem-with-hierarchy/

Business Development/Sales:

Project 8 – We are all in Sales and we haven’t got a clue (Closing the Sale when decisions are irrational): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/we-are-all-in-sales/

Project 5 – Be the change you want to see in your clients (Inspiring change): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/be-the-change/

Project 4 – You were right to choose the competition (Understanding worldviews and empathy): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/right-to-choose-the-competition/

Redington/Pensions & Investments:

Project 12 – Launching the ‘Future Leaders’ program (3 minute video on helping others to make change): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/launching-our-inaugural-future-leaders-program/

Project 5 – Be the change you want to see in your clients (Inspiring change): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/be-the-change/

Project 4 – You were right to choose the competition (Understanding worldviews and empathy): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/right-to-choose-the-competition/

Project 2 – What is the difference between a dream and a goal (7 steps to Goal Setting): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/dreams-vs-goals/

Project 1 – Make better decisions in 5 minutes (using decision trees to decide what to do if a star manager leaves): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/make-better-decisions-in-5-minutes/

RedSTART/Saving/Financial Education:

Project 10 – If you don’t stretch your limits you set your limits (How do our Assets, Boundaries & Narratives limit us?) https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/stretch-your-limits/

Project 5 – Be the change you want to see in your clients (Inspiring change): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/be-the-change/

Project 2 – What is the difference between a dream and a goal (7 steps to Goal Setting): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/dreams-vs-goals/

Personal/Spiritual:

Project 9 – He didn’t belong and that made him sad (How self-imposed constraints kill our dreams/How can we scale/leverage them)?: https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/he-didnt-belong/

Project 6 – Are you a guardian of the future? (Creating a campaign for change – Global Warming): https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/guardian-of-the-future/

Project 3 – 4 strangers, 48 hours and 101 ideas (Using Business Canvas to brainstorm 101 new business ideas) https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/101-ideas/

Hope you enjoy them. It’s hard to believe but each of these was written within 24 hours. I welcome your feedback; it’s a gift!

Don’t forget to send me your thoughts on what you’d like to get out a live event covering the ‘top tips for making change happen’?

Thanks,

Mitesh

Dreams, Goals & Better Decisions

It is coming up to the end of week one on Seth Godin’s Inaugural AltMBA. It has been an intense, stretching, exhausting, exciting, terrifying, challenging, anarchic, productive, moving and inspiring experience. The AltMBA is a revolutionary way of working, learning, collaborating and expanding your perspectives. It offers a glimpse of the future.

We are one week in. I’ve been working with a learning group across Singapore, India, Malta and Ireland. I have shipped my first two projects with support from my learning group, guidance from my coach and feedback from dozens more on the course (third assignment in progress):

1. How to make better decisions: https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/make-better-decisions-in-5-minutes/

2. How to achieve your goals:
https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/dreams-vs-goals/

Alt MBA - books

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my experiences of this revolutionary way of learning at the end of the first week.

What challenges have I faced?

  • To get to know my learning group of 4 strangers overnight, to understand each other’s stories, ambitions and fears and to be vulnerable so that we can help each other perform and succeed.
  • To produce work at short notice, that feels incomplete, send out publicly for anyone to read, review and criticise.
  • To receive the feedback given openly without getting defensive and to honestly reflect on it in order to learn.
  • To see the incredible work produced by such talented people without feeling insecure or inadequate.
  • To keep on top of the discussions, comments, emotions and inspirations of 100 people across the globe.
  • To manage my work schedule and family commitments with the intense workload of the AltMBA.

What have I learnt

  • That decision trees are a really powerful way to de-emotionalise decision making and shed light on options you may not have considered.
  • That goals need to be specific, with clear identification of obstacles, requirements and a clear plan.
  • That it is far easier to give advice to others on how they should do their assignments than it is do apply that advice yourself.
  • To read, reflect, discuss, share, debate, write and publish at speed (every 48 hours).
  • To not judge others but to work hard to understand their story, background and perspectives so that you can see their best self and identify the value they can offer.
  • To receive constructive feedback as a gift and to invite criticism to learn more and faster.
  • To add a P.S. to my work 24 hours later to capture any lessons learnt, feedback, follow up thoughts and ideas. Doing it this way allows you keep a record. You can also see your progress.
  • To use new online tools for effective communication: DisqusZoom, Slack and Digg.
  • That I am not as good at managing my time as I thought I was.
  • That I am not as good a writer as I thought I was (plenty to learn).

What has been surprising?

  • How quickly you can learn and absorb an idea by prototyping and submitting in a short timeframe.
  • How quickly strangers can come together and collaborate effectively when driven by a common goal.
  • The importance of vulnerability to open up a group to work effectively.
  • How you can work together effectively with different people, with different work situations in different time zones.
  • How valuable it is to ask for and receive constructive feedback.
  • How much time, energy and effort we spend coaching, guiding and helping others on the course
  • How many hours there are in a day.

I can’t believe that it has only been one week. I wonder how I will feel at the end of this process. I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of what this process and network is capable of achieving and illuminating.

I am looking forward to getting to know my new learning group next week, as well as the next three new assignments.

This weekend’s we are studying Business Models to come up micro-business plans for 99 new businesses (let me know if you have any ideas).

Wish me luck!


 

Here’s a link to my first two AltMBA assignments if you’d like to learn more about decision making and goal setting:

1. How to make better decisions:

We make decisions more than we make anything else. We make so many decisions of such importance, with wide-ranging implications everyday. This is true for our person life and in our professional life. The truth is we desperately need a disciplined, systematic and simple process for making decisions, in every aspect of our life.

https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/make-better-decisions-in-5-minutes/

Decision Trees

2. How to achieve your goals:

We know that to make your dreams a reality, you have to be SMART: write down your goal as clearly as you can; put a date on it
list all the obstacles you’ll have to overcome (external & internal)
identify the skills, knowledge, the people and groups that can help you; spell out a detailed plan of action; you need to remember “why” you are doing it and what your purpose is as this will get you through the rough patches.

 

https://altmba.com/miteshsheth/dreams-vs-goals/

Goals