Great leaders are known for how their vision, actions and words inspire and motivate people to work towards a common cause. But how do leaders maintain focus, enhance their learning capacity and increase their ability to innovate? We’ve identified a set of four core competencies and associated behaviors that lay the foundations for an optimized brain/body system and a platform for wellness and exceptional leadership.
FourCore provides a holistic picture of an individual’s brain performance opportunity. With a specific focus on cultivating high-performing leaders, it recommends adaptations and behaviors that are proven to be effective in enhancing the functioning of the brain/body system. It is a rigorously tested and validated self-assessment that gives individuals an unprecedented personalized profile of the areas of opportunity to optimize the brain/body system for wellness, high performance and thriving.
How the Model Works
As a foundational driver of brain performance, exercise stimulates the formation of new brain cells in the hippocampus, a brain structure critical for building memory and knowledge. Exercise also moves the brain into a relaxed physiological state and reduces chronic stress through its variety of beneficial effects on the three interconnected structures (hypothalamus, amygdala and hippocampus), as well as the brainstem. It further enhances creative problem solving in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
Fueling the brain properly requires continuously available glucose (carbohydrates). The brain constitutes 2% of the body mass yet uses 20% of its energy, underscoring the need for a continuous supply of fuel. The brainstem and hypothalamus regulate cyclical intake of nutrients, while low GI type foods ensure a sustained supply of energy for brain and body.
Sleep is a rhythm as essential as breathing and heartbeat, except that its rhythm is an optimum 7 to 9 hours in 24. But we don’t just sleep to rest. Sleep and wake cycles are both highly active brain states regulated by the hypothalamus and brainstem. During sleep the brain builds and consolidates memory via the hippocampus and facilitates challenging problem-solving at the level of the dorsolateral pathways and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
SILENCING THE MIND
With Silencing the Mind we refer to purposeful sessions to enhance focus and/or to allow thoughts without reacting, thereby preventing worrying about the future or regretting the past (mindfulness). If you silence your mind for just 15 minutes daily it will positively affect the whole brain/body system. Among its many benefits, it promotes a relaxed physiological state at the level of the hypothalamus and amygdala and enhances the ability to focus and sustain attention at the level of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. It promotes brain cell formation in the hippocampus and reduces the sensitivity of the amygdala, calming it down and promoting clarity of mind through proper activation of the sophisticated prefrontal cortex.
Social safety is an unconscious process that precedes every action. The brain assigns a value to every sensory cue. It asks: Do I belong here? Is this me? Does this give me meaning? The amygdala, ventromedial pathways and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex facilitate social safety. These structures are richly interconnected with the dorsolateral pathways and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (problem-solving machine) and screen solutions for relevance and appropriateness.
Goal directedness is an unconscious brain state essential for goal achievement. This is not the same as goal setting. Simply put, our goal is to stay alive, survive and ultimately to thrive. To achieve this, the brain has developed a system that avoids threats and seeks rewards. The striatum (not shown here) directs our attention to stimuli. In addition, the amygdala, ventromedial pathways and ventromedial prefrontal cortex play an important role in goal-directed behavior.
In neuroscience, collective creativity is defined as the ability of a group to solve problems and fashion novel products that are adaptive for the survival and thriving of the group. For the individuals that are part of a collectively creative group, chronic stress is reduced at the level of the amygdala and hypothalamus. At the same time, collective creativity also enhances individual problem-solving ability by putting the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in control.
The brain learns and builds new knowledge by forming memories. The hippocampus is the key structure in this process. It feeds knowledge to the appropriate long-term memory sites where it can be used as the building blocks of innovation. Learning can be enhanced through a process called neuroplasticity (ability to form new brain cells and brain circuits). This happens especially in the hippocampus. We also introduce a novel term: ‘Hippocampal Fitness’. This refers to the state of the hippocampus when it is most ready to learn, filled with good nourishing growth factors and budding new circuits.
Abstraction is the capacity to make novel internal representations of the possible, a result of accurately grouping non-obvious patterns and their relationships. Abstraction draws upon knowledge (the building blocks of innovation) and largely takes place in the dorsolateral pathways. These pathways are sometimes referred to as the ‘super highway’ en route to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, where the most sophisticated problem solving takes place.
Executive function is assigned to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (outer top part of the frontal lobe). Regarded as the CEO of the brain, it is where the most sophisticated and enriched thinking takes place. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is interrelated with the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (inner bottom part of the frontal lobe). Important aspects of executive function include working memory, focus and sustained attention.
Neurozone® Self-Leadership is the capability to have a clear vision of the goal that needs to be achieved, accurately calculate the strengths and resources available to achieve the goal, provide adequate energy to drive the process and to effectively integrate learning from the process. In this sense self-leadership is an imperative for leadership of the collective. From a neuroscience perspective Neurozone® helps you to understand how to optimize your Brain/Body System for optimal self-leadership. This forms the platform for the acceleration of the mastery of the competencies of leadership, providing an essential foundation for any high-performing individual leader and organization.
Neurozone® Innovation Capacity refers to the foundational contribution of your Brain/Body System to the collective capacity (skill set) to solve problems and fashion novel products. Your brain has an astonishingly complex and sophisticated capability to form ‘realistic scenarios of the possible’. This lies at the heart of innovation. Your solutions and novel products are only deemed ‘innovative’ if the group also thinks so. This is why both the social-emotional and the abstractive thinking brain form part of the brain’s problem-solving machine. From a neuroscience perspective Neurozone® helps you to understand how to optimize your Brain/Body System for optimal innovation. This forms the platform for the acceleration of the mastery of the competency of innovation, providing an essential foundation for any high-performing individual and organization.
Neurozone® Resilience refers to the foundational contribution of your Brain/Body System to the collective capacity (skill set) of resilience. Resilience is the capacity of the Brain/Body System to withstand the challenges that threatens its stability. Neuroscience for Resilience By scrutinizing published and peer reviewed research, Neurozone® has identified and isolated the behaviors required to enhance one’s Resilience. These seven behavior groups include Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep/Wake Cycle, Silencing the Mind, Value Tagging, Goal Directedness and Collective Creativity. Resilience is an active process and adaptive. For example, the brain actively and continuously adapts at a molecular and neuronal level in the presence of a stressor. This adaptive capability determines the resiliency. Effectively enhanced resilience prevents implosion of the Brain/Body System and sets you up to perform at your best in all conditions. From a neuroscience perspective Neurozone® helps you to understand how to optimize your Brain/Body System for optimal resilience. This forms the platform for the acceleration of the mastery of the competency of resilience, providing an essential foundation for any high-performing individual and organization.
Neurozone® Learning Capacity refers to the foundational contribution of your Brain/Body System to the collective capacity (skill set) to register, store and consolidate information as insightful knowledge and to be able to retrieve this useful information when needed. To enable you to achieve this, you need numerous well-functioning components. Two examples are focus and sustained attention and another is a part of the brain called the hippocampus, filled with rich brain connections, ready to receive and consolidate newly learnt materials. We call this ‘hippocampal fitness’. From a neuroscience perspective Neurozone® helps you to understand how to optimize your Brain/Body System for optimal learning capacity. This forms the platform for the acceleration of the mastery of the competency of learning and development, providing an essential foundation for any development program.
The brain and body functions as a system. Consider this example: the most sophisticated part of the brain, namely the prefrontal cortex, is directly affected by bodily functions, e.g., how you breathe, how much you move, and whether you get a good night’s sleep. From the most basic to the most sophisticated, everything affects everything. We refer to ‘thriving’ as a flourishing and prosperous state of being. And to thrive, an optimized brain/ body system moves us into a baseline relaxed physiological state. This is defined as a state of ‘silent alertness’ where we are ready to respond to threats and opportunities, big and small. The Neurozone system is designed to help individuals and organizations to practically optimize the brain/body system.
The scientific grounding of FourCore
Developed by neurologists and neuroscientists, FourCore is grounded in published and peer-reviewed research. Neurozone® has identified 10 sets of drivers that work together in the brain/body system to maximize an individual or group’s self-leadership, resilience, and capacity to learn and innovate. This self-assessment reliably determines how the ideal drivers to enhance one’s core competencies are cultivated in any given individual or group. Based on these results, the Neurozone® system then provides actionable recommendations and links to useful apps.
Who is Neurozone®?
FourCore is a leadership development solution developed by Neurozone®. Through the practical application of neuroscience, Neurozone® delivers effective solutions with extraordinary results for high-performance business leaders. We partner with business coaches, HR and executive leadership, providing deep analytics that optimize the major drivers needed to master any competency essential for success.
What Customers Say About Us
My team has never been so engaged. The focus has changed to problem solving. We have made huge progress. Attitudes have changed. Teams are being created. Our world view has changed, we have a more positive, purpose-driven team and we are trying to consolidate and align our ‘why’.
This is the best neuroscience-based metric out there. I use it with my classes at MIT, my CE level coaching clients and our team resilience studies to great insight and effect.
I was so impressed with using the FourCore personally, that I knew I had to integrate it into the curriculum of a leadership development program I helped develop. Participants love using it because the language and recommendations are relevant, practical and easy to understand. It’s been a pleasure working with the Neurozone team because they have been true partners, communicating in ways that convey a deep level of knowledge and a high level of responsiveness. I look forward to continuing to use the FourCore personally and with leaders who I teach and coach.
You cannot improve what you cannot measure. FourCore reliably assesses the foundational drivers of NeuroHealth including sleep, exercise, nutrition and neuroregulation. Based on the identified needs, quality content can be delivered to modify behaviors and improve health. FourCore is quickly becoming a key component in my Integrative NeuroHealth clinic.
Recent Blog Posts
“Sitting one out” is a term that is growing in popularity among business professionals. It refers to actively taking time out to meditate or be still. Recent studies in neuroscience and psychology are shedding new light on the benefits for business leaders.
What does it take to be a great team? This is the question that every project leader, manager, entrepreneur, coach, team captain and CEO should ask. How can you take your team or organization from doing well, to being great?
A recent Neurozone study revealed new insights into the impact of high cortisol levels on core capacities such as resilience and self-leadership.