How “Smart” Are You, Really? The 3-Brained Approach to Decision-Making and Leadership

HomeBlogHow “Smart” Are You, Really? The 3-Brained Approach to Decision-Making and Leadership

For centuries, humans have focused on the fact that what sets us apart from other animals is the capacity by which we can think and reason, plan and strategize.

We have grounded our species’ superiority in the belief that our cerebral intelligence is the be-all-end-all and that our ability to figure out and “know” things through fact and scientific “proof” is what allows us to move forward in life, mastering the control and development of the world around us.

Of course, we have created some amazing advancements and have discovered some incredible things about ourselves and the world we live in by focusing on what we can reveal, build and explore through our minds and all that they can access, generate and design.

We have also destroyed quite a bit in the process.

We have, additionally, become so myopically focused on our cephalic brain, that until the early 1990s, we thought it was the only brain we had. We didn’t see and recognize that we have always had two other legitimate forms of intelligence within us, as well.

In 1991, Dr. John Andrew Armour and his research team out of the University of Montreal first introduced their findings that humans have a functional heart “brain.” Armour, a neurocardiologist, established that the human heart has a complex network of neural pathways comprehensive enough to constitute a brain.

Furthermore, Armour showed how the heart brain’s intricate neural circuitry allows it to function independently from the head brain, giving it the ability to learn, remember, feel and understand on its own.

In 1998, neurobiologist, Dr. Michael Gershon, published his book, The Second Brain, in which he discussed his discovery that the human gut system, like the head and heart, contains a complex and fully functional neuro network or “brain.”

Gershon shared that this enteric brain contains over 500 million neurons, and that it sends and receives nerve signals to and from various parts of the body, including the head and heart.

Like with the heart brain, Gershon discovered that the gut brain has the capacity to autonomously learn, store memories and perform independent information processing.

All of this speaks to the importance of using all three of our brains to better understand and prescribe meaning to everything in our lives, in order to make the soundest decisions and take the most well-informed actions. Since everything we create relies on these areas of information processing, the question becomes, how do we best learn how to tap into and understand what our three brains have to share with us?

Having read the book, Head, Heart & Guts: How the World’s Best Companies Develop Complete Leaders, I was inspired to create my Whole-Brained Leadership Program for company leaders and their teams. The book’s authors, David Dotlich, Peter Cairo and Stephen Rhinesmith, all coming from different sectors of the corporate world, used case studies from some of the largest global organizations who are teaching their leaders to make decisions and take action from information accessed through all three of their brains. As they mentioned in the book, “globalization, complex structures and constantly changing business models and expectations on leadership require those in charge to take a clear position, create meaningful relationships, which means building trust, and rethink the way things are done, while simultaneously building markets and delivering results.”

The book was published in 2006, and the authors admitted that the “gut” or instinctive/intuitive portion of teaching and learning was still something even they were developing and learning more about. Since this is one of the areas I see visionaries thrive in, I felt very prepared to add more to the Percipience Quotient (Gut Intelligence) piece within my program. What has been created is a fully balanced approach to understanding all of the available information that the world around us has to share in order to better understand ourselves and how to best live and lead more fluidly and successfully in our current times.

The first stage of the program includes understanding two fundamental frameworks: the Leadership Development and Leadership Intelligence models to help participants comprehend the process they go through, not only to grow as leaders, but to improve the level of “smarts” or intelligence in each of their brains.

The Leadership Development Model has two parts or “levels.”

Level I discusses a leader’s development through the four stages from a focus on “doing” to one where they are making more automatic decisions aligned with each of their brains from a state of “being.”

Level II addresses a need to shift from chasing the concept of balance to making choices based on alignment in order for balance to be the natural result. It introduces the questions we need to discover within and the actions we must take in order to truly embrace and capitalize on each stage of our leadership development.

The Leadership Intelligence Model allows leaders to understand their three levels of intelligence, as well as how to access them through targeted statements and questions and “listening” internally in different ways.

When used together, the Leadership Development Model and Leadership Intelligence Model can guide leaders through the developmental process of discovering, defining, aligning and activating the information coming from each of their brains in order to make and produce more whole-brained decisions and outcomes for themselves and their organizations.

Seeking personal and professional support to build the required skills and knowledge for effective leadership is imperative. As employees and clients become more discerning, and as the choice of great companies run by great leaders increases, the need to keep up does, as well. Invest in yourself, your company and your people by seeking the expert support that can help you reach your greatest leadership potential.

To find out more about the Whole-Brained Leadership Program and how you can improve the way your company’s leaders and teams interact, make decisions and take action, reach out today!