See Me at the Singapore HR Summit!


I am thrilled to announce that I have been accepted to deliver two presentations at the 2014 HR Summit in Singapore next April.

This is an honor as well as an opportunity to bring my ideas to a gathering of over 4000 HR executives, CHRO’s, directors, and managers coming from across Asia Pacific, from New Zealand to South Korea. Of course, they won’t all be attending my sessions (darn) but I do expect 200 to 500 attendees in each session.

The programs they have requested are:

  1. Dare to Be Their Best Boss Ever!
  2. Over to You, Employee: Getting Your Staff to Take Accountability for Their Performance, Satisfaction, and Development

I am buzzed about this event for many reasons. One in particular, however, is that it will push me out of my comfort zone. Leadership development work with managers involves behaviors that are culturally sensitive around the globe: assertive communication, relating to authority (e.g. “managing up”), individual accomplishment vs. group cohesion, personal accountability, etc.

The challenge I face in Singapore is to what extent will my North American based approaches fly in Asian cultures? We are fortunate that one of Fulcrum’s associates, Sonia Aranza, is an expert in cross-cultural relations. She will be coaching me on some of the nuances of translating my content and presentation style to a predominantly Asian audience.

The poet Rudyard Kipling wrote, “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” I’ll let you know.

Ian CookBest wishes,

Ian Cook

Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect What I’m Reading

Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect by Matthew D. Liberman

This book has been anticipated in the NeuroLeadership Community for some time now. Lieberman is a noted neuroscientist and professor at the University of California.

He builds on a decade of discoveries about how our brains respond to people in our environment. He challenges Abraham Maslow (of “needs hierarchy” fame), declaring that, in fact, the primary human need is connection, rather than food and safety. He explains how the pain of social rejection, shame, and exclusion from our groups registers in the same brain areas as does physical pain.

Then he shows how our brains have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to secure our place in our social world, be it family, work department, or community group. Leaders would be well served to know something about how they and those they lead are continually striving–mostly subconsciously–to harmonize their connections with their boss, peers, and customers.

Be cautioned, however, that, like last month’s book, Social is not a light read.