Mind Styles Research Supports Complementary Team Members

Helen Fisher notes that personality styles affect relationships, including team relationships. Her questionnaires are seen by some as a new and exciting disruptive form of a personality test. Her findings are based on brain chemistry.

Her survey is based on two areas:

·     Culture is influenced from external input during the life span, and

·     Temperament comes from constitutional genes, hormones, and neurotransmitters. Her field of study is how personality is linked to many of these internal factors.

People who are dopamine system expressers are curious, creative, and flexible. Those who express serotonin are social, risk-averse and want to belong. Those who express testosterone are direct and assertive and are drawn to analytics and rules like engineering, music, and IT. Those expressing estrogen/oxytocin are intuitive, empathetic, and long-term thinkers – have good verbal and social skills.

The amazing thing about this work is that with these new methods, looking at qualities of a person can be less binary and more like concurrent “volume controls” that can be turned up or down for each individual in these four basic areas. So, if a team member is risk-averse, this is not a weakness but is based on having a stronger serotonin system. Such a person also fosters more team connections.

It turns out that diversity of temperament is very valuable for higher team performance. This is very different or additive to our current understanding of diversity – and Fisher favors a team of complements of temperament. The conservative serotonin expresser is compatible to exploring dopamine expressers. It also explains why someone can be both extroverted and introverted, which past tests could not explain well.

Her work also shows how people from different parts of the globe can have genetic predisposition to different temperament systems. So, entire countries and organizations can take on specific temperaments.

There may be gender difference associated with high energy testosterone and greater listening with estrogen. However, since each of us have the array of the four systems, the model does better at explaining a more nuanced description of personality than more “all or nothing” theories from the past.

Please read the article and see if you like this new thinking about personality and complements on teams vs. positive and negative traits holding up to your scrutiny.


Enjoy the day.


If You Understand How the Brain Works, You Can Reach Anyone

By Alison Beard in conversation with biological anthropologist Helen Fisher

Harvard Business Review March-April 2017, pages 60-62


Simultaneous Low Intensity Exercise Helps Learning Last


Two studies have looked at the link of exercise and learning.  One study compared learning among 81 participants in 3 scenarios: after sitting quietly for 30 minutes, after gently biking for 30 minutes, and the third group during biking with mild intensity for 30 minutes. The third group (learning while biking) did best on short-term and long-term learning.

Another study found different results in two groups of only 11 participants. The single group sat quietly for 30 minutes while learning and then the next day exercised intensely for 30 minutes while learning.  Short-term learning was best in the sitting group, but there was no difference found in long-term recall.

One expert suggested that if you have an exam in a few hours, sit quietly as you study for short term recall.  If your exam is the next day, then studying during mild intensity might be a good idea to try.

What do you think?  Maybe we should all do this experiment. Learning during exercise is a form of multi-tasking which, while inefficient during a high intensity workout, has been found to optimize learning when simultaneously carried out at a mild intensity.  Perhaps testing out the author’s finding is worth a shot. Sit on that stationary bike in your basement as you study for an exam?


Enjoy your day.



How Exercise Can Help Us Learn by Gretchen Reynolds

New York Times, August 7, 2013

Goals for a Strong Heart in the Fall and Winter Seasons

In 2010, experts from the American Heart Association identified seven key behaviors that can optimize and protect heart health:

  1. Exercise
  2. Eat right
  3. Lower blood pressure
  4. Lower your cholesterol
  5. Know your blood sugar
  6. Maintain a healthy weight
  7. Don’t smoke

Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, representing the American Heart Association, says this list of 7 actions above is the closest medicine we have to achieving the mythical “Fountain of Youth.”

He emphasizes the following tips:

  • Get regular exercise – Both aerobic and resistance training and even short workouts help (i.e. calisthenics, push ups and sit-ups, walking stairs at work, walking around the neighborhood).
  • Avoid high blood pressure – Lose weight, watch salt and sugar intake, etc.
  • Know and lower your cholesterol levels (HDL, LDL, and triglycerides) – Eat fatty fish, nuts, tofu, fruit, olive oil, beans, vegetables, and reduce carbohydrate intake.
  • Lower blood sugar – Get a good night’s sleep, reduce extra pounds, lower alcohol intake, and follow your fasting blood sugar with your PCP, etc.
  • Eat healthy food – Eat fruits, vegetables, seafood, yogurt, organic foods, olive oil, etc. and avoid sodas, fruit juices, pasta, bread, processed meats, and trans fats, etc.
  • Don’t smoke – Quitting will immediately lower your risk of heart disease by up to 50 percent
  • Get a dog –It keeps you moving while you are loving and being loved.
  • Reduce stress in your life and work – Chronic mental and emotional stress takes a major toll on your heart.
  • Meditate – Evidence shows that meditating can blunt the body’s maladaptive response to stress.
  • Go regularly to your dentist – Studies have found that gum disease increases the risk of heart disease by 24 to 34 percent.
  • Lower alcohol intake – If going to drink alcohol, drink red wine in moderation – it raises HDL cholesterol, the healthy kind.
  • Walk in nature – Studies show that walking in nature can lead to benefits such as lower blood pressure and lower stress hormones.


Based on the heart-healthy conclusions above from the American Heart Association, which ones are you willing to include in your wellness regimen?  You might want to tape this on your fridge!

Enjoy the day!


7 Habits for a Healthy Heart by Anahad O’Connor, New York Times, Well Column, September 28, 2017.



Leadership is Hard

Sarah Thompson, chief executive and the subject of this week’s Link, sets the standard for leaders to:


  • Be selfless
  • Decide what needs to be done and do it
  • Think how they can make the whole team better
  • Do a great job
  • Set outcomes and give people more and more freedom to achieve them
  • Give people clear feedback in the moment so they can pivot
  • Validate their own energy and do what they need to do quickly
  • Hire people with stamina and commitment to the team and organizational goals


What else do you think a leader needs to do?

Enjoy your day!



Sarah Thompson of Droga5 on the Selfless Nature of Leadership

By Adam Bryant, New York Times, August 25, 2017

Changing Throughout Life

Can people change after middle age? Obviously. The right question is: Will you change, or will you remain stuck in your ways?


There are artists who start their work in their 50s or 60s, and still achieve greatness. There are politicians who only run for the first time in middle age.  There are runners who run marathons for the first time at 65, and there are people who begin to volunteer in ways they couldn’t have imagined.


What do you hope to accomplish in the next-phase of your life?  Do you want to give back in ways you never have before?


Or do you want to actually check-off a bucket list activity that you dream of completing?


Keep changing, and enjoy the day!



Can People Change After Middle Age? 

David Brooks, New York Times, Op-Ed,  August 4, 2017

Building Resilience as Life Goes On

Apparently, we need to fortify our resilience throughout our lifespan – not just during childhood.

Life has positive surprises for each of us as well as unexpected challenges.  Life experience, including emotional regulation skills, actually may give older people an advantage over the young.  It is good to be prepared for stress, but apparently we can build capacity for resilience after a challenge occurs as well.

The recommended ways to foster resilience throughout one’s life span include:

  • Practice optimism and spend time with positive people
  • Reframe the stressful situation as possessing gifts or at least a new story for self and others
  • Don’t take things personally, some things just happen.
  • Recall your past successes and comebacks
  • Give support to others even while you are struggling
  • Expose yourself to stress to make yourself stronger over time, such as a marathon challenge, or a trip to an unfamiliar country.

What other ideas to you have to foster your resiliency?

Enjoy the day!


How to Build Resilience in Midlife

By Tara Parker-Pope, Well/Mind Column, July 25, 2017

Procrastination: Catalyst of Creativity, or a Waste of Time?

In a past blog, I presented some upbeat evidence that procrastinators were more creative than people who finish tasks early, and were “masters of idleness,” as Jean O’Callaghan from the University of Roehampton in London offered. Recently, though, an actual procrastination conference met at DePaul University, nearby our executive coaching office. Sixty people from around the world attended.


The conference reported that 20% of the worldwide population chronically procrastinate, but was otherwise light on ideas that might be employed by those who constantly delay. Many researchers at the conference took up much more negative views towards the practice, not exactly hailing procrastination for its creative outcomes.


One coaching technique we have developed with our clients reporting delays – not mentioned at the conference – is to create tangible accountabilities, and to employ optimized task and time management skills in combating procrastination. What works for you to complete your goals or responsibilities?  If you experience inertia and distraction, do you ever reap creative benefits?

Enjoy the day!


What We Finally Got Around to Learning at the Procrastination Research Conference

By Heather Murphy, Science Section, New York Times, July 21, 2017

Cold Showers May Give You the Jolt You Need

Here’s an interesting (*non-scientific) theory: Cold-water therapy may turn you into a positive person by default. It appears that a cold shower may get you to stop caring so much about what you want and what you don’t want – i.e., it may neutralize preferences so that you can think more clearly.

We’ll wait on more research to make definitive statements, but this may be something to try if you need to implement a mindfulness goal, like clearing your head. In the meantime, heed these words from Chinese Zen master Z, ‘‘Do not like; do not dislike; all will then be clear.’’

So: Cold or Hot for you?

Aha! I trapped you into a preference.

Enjoy the day!


Letter of Recommendation: Cold Showers. Dolnick, Ben. New York Times Magazine. July 20, 2017.





Doctors: Think Twice Before Talking About Your Fitness

Doctors used to think that if they weren’t a role model of healthy behaviors that they were failing in their role as a physician. Doctors who smoked or failed to look fit were criticized for virtually saying to patients, “Do as I say, not as I do”.

However, the latest research reveals that Doctors who speak about success in their own pursuit of fitness risk offending patients and team members.

People seem to like when their physicians define wellness broadly, and show interest in the patient. Doctors who disclose their commitment to fitness in their own lives can at times be seen to shame patients who possess elevated weight or poor health habits. At Kaiser, patients were found to be more likely to choose a physician who did not advertise their own wellness accomplishments, rather than a physician who did.

What do you think physicians should say when they want to inspire you to reach a wellness goal?

Enjoy the day!




When Your Doctor is Fitter Than You Are

By Lauren C. Howe, Well Column, New York Times, July 13, 2017.

Show Up When You Say You Will

Show Up When You Say You Will

People are cancelling or breaking social commitments easier than ever before. In the New York Times, writer David Brooks categorizes the different forms that “bailing” has taken in the digital age.  One can bail on their close friends (possibly the most acceptable group to bail on), their fragile friends, their distant friends, or their professional connections (usually the least acceptable). The author  admits that he himself, does this frequently.

Is this really OK?

Of course it isn’t.

Wisdom regarding commitments can be found in dating and human resources. Daters often consider dropping someone who is markedly late or entirely misses the first date.  When companies hire, if one is late for the first interview, employers will usually lose interest in an applicant as well.

So be respectful, be empathic, listen well, and look forward to your meeting or plans.  If you no-show, you risk ruminating in bed that very night out of guilt and then getting up the next morning to pen a newspaper column like the author apparently did to justify his “bail.”

In short, simply show up.

Enjoy the day!




The Golden Age of Bailing. David Brooks. New York Times. July 7, 2017.

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