‘They think they know what they are doing.’

Peter Hinsen

In my meeting with Erik Scherder and Peter Hinssen at Entrepreneur’s Week in Amsterdam, I witnessed a brilliant accident between the information-driven visionary and the inspired guru of the brain. Prior to my tête-a-tête, I saw them both marking their territory on the main stage, intensely driven by their purpose to get the pack of eager listeners moving. Peter confirmed it once again: 99% of established leaders “think they know what they are doing”, but in fact today 93% are cleaning up yesterday’s mess. Overall, only 10% of managers say they look ahead (Energy Boost – Hans van der Loo), but in practice at most 1% are concerned with the future value of their company. They are mainly driven by the issues of the day, according to Peter. I also see this regularly in practice, and it is frequently recognized by employees in particular. There is a lot of corporate waste in Dutch business (industry-wide). On average, 50% of energy is lost every year, with an estimated cost of 40 billion euros (Energyfinder). Why is that? A lack of vision. 

The brain loses flexibility

Presumably unbeknownst to each other, Erik literally jumped into the room after Peter’s keynote to make people understand what this “crap from yesterday’ is doing to the brain. The functions in the prefrontal lobe of the brain (attention, decision-making, judgment, among others) decline with an excess of stimuli. People can no longer distinguish properly between what is really relevant and what is less meaningful. Continuous overload causes the so-called ‘brake’ of the negative emotion center (the amygdala) to shut off, and then the fence is drawn. People almost automatically become focused on the short term and quick wins. If things are really bad they are no longer able to process information properly at the highest level. The brain loses the agility to decide whether they are “doing the right things really well”. 

If this is already a daily challenge for the 93% of leaders, what does it do to the rest of the employees? I wondered. And what does this mean for wasted energy and resources in start-ups and established companies? But finally, what I really want to know is how to activate leaders to get them to turn around from that dead-end lane and let them choose a more effective route? I asked both of them essentially the same question. 

To Peter: “Nice outlook, but how do you get those 93% of executives into a solid vision-driven action mode today?” 

And to Erik: can you simultaneously detect and activate measurable positive energy sources (such as attention, ambition, etc.) in the brain? That turned out to be another great question.

Definite food for thought

Because I myself know the brain reasonably well as a psychologist and as an alignment consultant activating vision and driven energy, I also had an idea up my sleeve, just in case. Energy can be tuned to the right frequency in an afternoon. It can also be measured using a very accessible method. This caught the attention of both gentlemen. And so in the near future I will be speaking to Peter’s Nexxworks about how I can contribute with Vision Aligns to activate entrepreneurs today for the long term… “the day after tomorrow”. And Erik has asked me over for coffee to talk through finding and turning on measurable driven energy sources in the brain.

Joint Venture

In doing so, I hope to further blur the divide between these two masters and their fields. I see real promise  in the joint venture of activating people’s powerful vision and driven energy. Especially in the current market climate, leaders have a lot to gain from transforming daily waste into the raw material that contributes to the “day after tomorrow”.

My final question was: how can we make CFE: ‘Chief Focus & Energy’ truly future proof? In this disruptive market, it probably won’t take long  to put this hidden gold high on the strategic agenda. And that is what I make a daily commitment to. 

It was a good day, so to say.

Does focusing on the day after tomorrow appeal to you too? Feel free to contact me here. I would be happy to talk to you further.