Monitoring heart rate variance

 

Leaders participating on a number of Ashridge executive development programmes are receiving invaluable insights into their body’s physiological reactions to external stressors by wearing heart rate monitors as part of their customised programme.

Added on 02 August 2012 by Erika Lucas

Monitoring heart rate variance

Leaders participating on a number of Ashridge executive development programmes are receiving invaluable insights into their body’s physiological reactions to external stressors by wearing heart rate monitors as part of their customised programme.

The continuous wearing of the monitors for the duration of programmes which on average are 4-5 days including when asleep reveals participants’ sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and recovery) response levels shown by their heart rate variances.

Why is this interesting or useful for executives and learning transfer?

First Ashridge tutors are now able to see and test which elements of their programme are having the most impact on participants and exactly where the moments of best learning occur.

Secondly we are able to help leaders understand how their physiological responses impact on their performance. We know that our sense of resourcefulness is closely linked to effective performance because it determines whether we perceive stressful situations as a challenge (fight) or a threat (flight). Challenge responses to stress optimise performance whereas threat responses inhibit performance. By providing individuals with personal insights into their physiological responses to their external environment we are for the first time and uniquely in the executive education marketplace able to help individuals understand how this and their sense of resourcefulness might impact on their effectiveness at work as well as their overall health and well-being.

Ashridge customised programmes are typically very interactive and experiential. When participants are stimulated and feel challenged this shows up in a sympathetic response. These are the moments when the potential impact of the learning is longer-lasting and deeper. They are also moments that mimic the stress of leadership situations which helps develop leader’s sense of resourcefulness and thus their future performance. We’ve always believed this and have anecdotal evidence evaluations and forthcoming research that backs this up. Using these heart rate monitors we are seeing the impact of our programmes in hard black and white data.

Learn more about Ashridge customised programmes.