Thrive: Leadership in Complex Times


21st century leadership is exciting and can be contagious; it has never been faster moving or more pressured for immediate results. Leaders have to make decisions faster and more frequently and they have to get it right. 

Added on 15 September 2016 by Vicki Culpin


Sports and business share many common issues from coaching and leadership, to teamwork and management, but with the same need for results in highly competitive and pressurized environments. By exploring and applying the transferable lessons between business and sport, we are able to create powerful learning experiences in the classroom to produce a lasting impact.

By combining traditional understanding of leadership with Ashridge research and approaches that focus on the physiological and psychological elements that underpin organizational effectiveness, leaders do not just become more self-aware but are able to yield long-term sustainable change and positive outcomes.

Following Heart Rate Variance (HRV) analysis of recordings of 833 leaders on Ashridge programs which show leaders are stressed and not getting enough exercise or sleep, Ashridge is uniquely positioned to develop an innovative learning experience that leverages health technology, psychometrics, workshops and coaching to land thriving leaders at the optimum end goal of real impact, whether that be in their roles, their lives or for their organization.

Individuals are able to start to build a picture of who they are through completing a mix of psychometrics and wellbeing assessments. They will develop understanding of how the brain and body work and interact and the effect of pressure on the brain/body relationship, for example the impact that poor sleep has on the efficiency of decision-making. Individuals can take a lens on leading teams and take a more holistic view of teams as people, to understand what motivates them and help them to identify their own goals: ultimately we know that happier employees drive productivity.

Psychometrics, wellbeing assessments and relationship awareness can all give us a good understanding of who we think we are. But what happens when we are under pressure? Who are we really? Under pressure, we all expose our core values and beliefs and they are the ones that drive our behavior. Individuals will build a greater level of self-awareness, by being put under pressure, giving them a better understanding of their impact on others – at work and at home.

Motivation is key – each of us are the only ones who can really motivate ourselves to change, so to help individuals identify their goals we have devised the ‘Thriving Leader’ model. Using its three dimensions they can produce Personal Action Plans for creating and sustaining a successful lifestyle:

  • Coping plans – being able to bounce back when ‘stuff happens’
  • Wellbeing plans – becoming healthier and fitter – exercise, sleep, healthy eating, mindfulness
  • Creating their own personal brand – how they communicate in person, by email, on the phone
  • Planning who to connect with and Influence

Tapping into the three dimensions (organizational, physiological and psychological) of a thriving leader is an innovation experience for individuals and gives them:

  • A clear view of their wellbeing and consequent ability to perform at the highest level both mentally and physically, particularly under pressure
  • An assessment of their personal resilience and ability to adapt, respond and thrive in the face of adversity, by applying a range of resources
  • An increased awareness and understanding of the role of sleep on their behavior and performance
  • In order to meet the expectation of their leaders to function consistently at their best in challenging and/or stressful situations

Developing measurable personal and organizational performance enables executives to: 

  • Have a greater understanding of how to apply appropriate systems and processes to manage high performing teams
  • Have greater self-awareness and insight into how behaviors impact upon others
  • Have a clear picture of team success and an initial plan for how to achieve continued success
  • Have an ability to coach teams for success
  • Understand what it means to be an authentic leader and role model within an organization
  • Have improved capability to be agile and flexible in response to change
  • Have developed rapport and appreciation of peers along with a process for sharing and advising on work-related issues

So much of life in business is focused on goals, objectives, tasks - all of which are measurable. What often gets forgotten is the ‘why’. The strongest leaders are usually doing something they love, in an environment they love and their passion is contagious within an organization. Psychometrics, wellbeing assessments and relationship awareness can all give us a good understanding of who we think we are. We aim to help leaders understand what happens when they are under pressure and equip them with the tools they need for long-term sustainable success. Individuals can be supported beyond the classroom through peer mentoring, virtual modules and one-to-one coaching in order to learn to create thriving environments as leaders for their teams.

To explore this intervention for your organization please contact our team: or 01442 841246