Question --Our management team is hearing a lot about emotional intelligence in the business literature. Does HeartMath have a philosophical view on the subject and if so, do its programs develop or accelerate emotional intelligence?

Answer --In his 1995 groundbreaking book, Emotional Intelligence, researcher Daniel Goleman relates compelling research from the field of neuroscience, demonstrating that success in life is based more on our ability to be aware of and able to manage our emotions than on our intellectual capabilities. His research builds a strong case that a lack of success is more often than not due to mismanagement of emotions. Goleman and other researchers have now written extensively on this subject, and many consultants offer programs to "teach" emotional intelligence skills in the workplace, particularly for leaders. In the field of education, emotional intelligence has gained a considerable following because of the well-documented connection between a child's emotional state and their learning capacity. While the arena of emotional intelligence (EI) research has become somewhat fragmented, as evidenced by the lack of a coherent, universally accepted framework for EI, there is no question that development of a range of emotional skills is crucial to both personal and professional success.

In Goleman's evolving framework of EI competencies, these four dimensions are supported by the research at HeartMath as being key to personal and professional development:

        - Self-awareness
        - Self-management
        - Social awareness
        - Relationship management

In From Chaos to Coherence: The Power to Change Performance (by HeartMath founder Doc Childre and CEO Bruce Cryer), the following observations are made:

"What biology underlies this concept of emotional intelligence? Built into the emotional-cognitive structures of the brain are many evolutionary functions that date back to our species' struggle for survival and the mechanisms that evolved to cope with that stress. Brain structures like the amygdala in the emotional or limbic regions of the brain can ‘hijack' intellectual processes when intense emotions are experienced in the system. This is why even very smart people can make very foolish choices when under emotional stress. And, even scarier for organisations and people today is that millions of us have maladapted to the stress in our lives and are just beginning to realize how much stress we have."

In the accelerated pace of business today, people at all levels of an organisation need skills to recognise and manage their emotions in the thick of an argument, an important business negotiation or in any high-stakes situation in which decisions must be made quickly.  HeartMath's system of emotional awareness and self-management tools accelerates the ability to create the results we want to achieve instead of merely reacting to circumstances, to our detriment.

The HeartMath System is based on more than a decade of scientific evidence that when an individual intentionally shifts their focus to a positive emotional state, changes occur in their physiology--specifically heart, brain, and nervous system interactions--enabling them to gain control over their perceptions and behaviors. By gaining this new level of self-management, they are able to reduce stress, improve cognitive function, enhance communication with others, and have a richer and more stable emotional experience of life. In other words, we improve our emotional intelligence. It is this relationship between emotions and human physiology that is at the core of HeartMath's systems of tools and techniques taught in all our programs, for leaders and staff alike.

Leaders who have learned to apply HeartMath techniques to the pressures of a globalising economy and increasing societal and personal pressure, have reported a greater capacity to sustain a positive perspective, balance their emotions, improve their physiological functioning, and generate a productive and intuitive flow day to day, even in the midst of challenges.

Question --Given how widespread stress and anxiety are in today's workplace, what programs does HeartMath offer that effectively reduces the stress level at work (and home)?

Answer --HeartMath's organisational Coherence Programs have demonstrated dramatic improvements in the risk factors commonly associated with stress in Fortune 500 companies worldwide. These risk factors include:

  • cognitive function
  • emotional well-being
  • physiological health
  • blood pressure
  • cardiovascular function

Data from a series of programs at a Fortune 50 global corporation showed the following improvements in personal well-being and professional effectiveness:

  • 18% less anxiety
  • 26% less burnout
  • 20% less hostility
  • 32% increase in contentment
  • 36% reduction in overall stress symptoms, which included the following:

        - 56% reduction in sleeplessness
        - 31% decrease in rapid heartbeats
        - 27% reduction in headaches
        - 33% reduction in heartburn
        - 30% reduction in trembling due to stress

In a database of more than 1,000 participants in HeartMath programs, there was a 69% reduction in the number of individuals reporting high stress.

A key technology in the programs' effectiveness is HeartMath's emWave software learning system. This award-winning learning and feedback tool is based on HeartMath's research into heart rate variability, a key measure of overall health and well-being. The dynamic PC-based system can be used at any time during the work day or leisure time to instantly reduce the negative effects of stress and put mind, heart and emotions into the optimal state for exceptional performance.

Question --Developing leadership in our organisation is a key objective; however most of our executives already have MBAs and deep business experience. What we need are skills that can help turn experienced managers into effective leaders. What does HeartMath recommend for these specific applications?

Answer --Typically, a leader has followed a path from talented individual contributor, to valued team member, to highly regarded manager, to successful leader. Each stage represents an increase in complexity. These transitions can be quite challenging and even disorienting, particularly if the organisation is in transition. Some steps in this path may have been skipped, or the proper leadership and personal development has been neglected along the way.

HeartMath's Power of Coherent Leadership Program teaches that each new stage of leadership is new to the evolving leader, requiring new awareness, new intelligence, and new skills. The program provides tools and strategies to maximize talents, build lasting relationships and build a great organisation. HeartMath also offers a personalised Executive Coaching program conducted in four one-hour telephone sessions. And our High Performance Executive Program is a comprehensive six-month assessment and coaching program to ensure that the executive has a strong emotional and physiological foundation for continued growth as a leader.

Question --Retaining employees is my most important task as HR director, and working for a large hospital has made it all the more challenging because of the critical nursing shortage we face. Does HeartMath have programs that can positively affect nurse retention?

Answers --The HeartMath Staff Retention & Development Program is specifically designed to help health care systems increase and maintain high morale and decrease the debilitating costs of burnout and high employee turnover. Outcomes include improved employee satisfaction, enhanced communications, more harmonious and productive teamwork, and an increase in work/life balance.

One year after a HeartMath intervention, one hospital reported:

  • Reduced employee turnover from 28% to 20.9% overall; to 5.9% among HeartMath trained staff.
  • annualised savings of $800,000 in turnover reductions.

At the end of the second year employee turnover was down to 14% overall and 1.3% among HeartMath trained staff. Third year results sustained the dramatic improvements of the first two years. Improvements in nurse retention were particularly dramatic.

Question --Our Sales force is one of the best trained in our field. However top professionals are finding it more and more challenging to hold on to customers in today's competitive market place. What does HeartMath offer in this area?

Answer --While clients and customers may not remember everything that is said on a sales call they will almost always remember how they felt. Emotions play a key role in every selling situation. They fuel a sales professional's motivation, attitude, and confidence. They often determine whether or not the sales professional gets invited back. Most importantly, they impact mental function and overall health and well being. Yet more time is spent training sales people on how to manage information than on how to manage--and leverage--the emotional content throughout the sales process. At a time when buyer's skepticism and reluctance to trust the claims of well-meaning salespeople are climbing, these skills are critical for enhanced success.

The Power to Maximize Sales Performance (PMSP) enables sales professionals to sustain the essential physiology and emotional attitudes that underpin high sales performance. Designed to be a catalyst to existing sales training processes, PMSP empowers the sales professional to remain mentally sharp under pressure, improve resiliency and endurance, inspire client trust and respect, maintain flexibility and enhance creativity. More than a "feel-good" program, the Power to Maximize Sales Performance can help your sales team achieve breakthrough results.

Question --Our organisation is contemplating a massive restructuring that will radically change our culture and internal processes. We need someone to help us navigate the changes that lie ahead and minimise the disruptions at the employee, vendor, and customer levels. Does HeartMath have anything that can help in this area?

Answer --The 1994 CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation) Index "State of Reengineering Report" revealed 50% of the companies studied reported that the most difficult part of reengineering is dealing with fear and anxiety in their organisations.

HeartMath's Power to Change Performance program applies new information about the relationship between emotions and performance to a set of scientifically-based tools that have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety while improving the qualities of performance necessary for sustaining high performance during change: problem solving, communication and creativity. This program has been implemented successfully on four continents by organisations in the middle of mergers and acquisitions, mitigating the inevitable cultural and personal challenges associated with these changes.

For Information
Telephone: (02) 9412 2500 (Australia)
Telephone: +61 2 9412 2500 (International)
E-Mail: info@macquarieinstitute.com.au

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