Carole Gaskell on The Institute of Leadership and Management
Carole Gaskell is CEO of Full Potential Group working in the fields of leadership and people development as a keynote speaker, leadership facilitator and coach to senior business leaders and their teams.
Carole is passionate about the neuroscience of learning and how it can develop potential and motivation. She works with companies to create business growth by unleashing the talent within their organisation.
What does ‘leading differently’ mean to you?
I founded Full Potential Group 20 years ago to help people realise more of their potential. So leading differently is about finding new and different ways of fulfilling more of the potential that we have innately within ourselves. I’m very interested in neuroscience, and neuroscience proves that our potential is unlimited.
There is quite a paradox around leading differently: it’s important to balance being the same and being different. What I mean by that is, to be a great leader you need to be consistent and true to your inner core – true to the essence of who you really are – be even more honest with yourself, even more true to your values, strengths and motivators and what fundamentally drives you.
But at the same time, balance that with forging forward with new things that can actually give you an edge or allow more of your potential to come out, continually evolve and adapt to the environment.
Leading differently is also about looking at what’s next, and that is, for me, full brain leadership: leading with the head brain but also the heart brain and our gut brain. It’s about integrating the head, heart and the gut.
quite fascinated by quantum physics and the unconscious mind and how people can be even more authentic by working more energetically with their leadership vibration. So, for me, it’s about combining who you’re supposed to be as a person, but taking advantage of the new things we’re aware of. So how we can harness more of our brain power, but also how we use quantum physics and the unconscious mind, and our heart and our gut to help us lead in a more authentic and more meaningful way.
So what is different about your leadership style?
I ask for 360 degree feedback from clients that I work with. I’m always about being my personal best but taking on feedback from other people and constantly understanding how I can develop more of my potential. The feedback I often get is: “Carole you’re about igniting potential”, or “What’s unique about you is you’re a firecracker!”
But I’m actually quite pragmatic and down to earth so I blend that business pragmatism with the more innovative side of myself that likes exploring the unconscious mind, quantum physics and neuroscience. So my leadership style is very eclectic.
What has been your greatest learning experience that has helped you develop your leadership style?
My biggest learning journey is undoubtedly when I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. I’m one of those people who has done self development for 30 years and teaching a lot of it, so I thought: “What have I done wrong?”
Looking back on it now, it was a great gift and a great turning point for me because I thought: “I can’t die yet. I haven’t fulfilled all of my potential. I can’t go, I haven’t finished!” It was a good wake-up call because it really made me question what I am here for and how I can have even more impact in terms of developing other people.
Going through chemo actually destroys your brain cells and, at the time, I was developing the concept of full brain leadership – integrating the head, heart and gut – but I was quite challenged because my own brain was being compromised by chemo. What it allowed me to do was really access my heart and my gut. I found that going through the whole cancer experience I became a lot more intuitive and I came out of it thinking that I can’t afford to waste my life, every moment is precious, and I want to do, and teach people, the things that are going to make a difference. It made me want to stop wasting time round the edges, but to speak my truth quicker and act on purpose, and it’s given me more inner drive to bring some of the new concepts to people that I genuinely think will make a difference.
In the past I might not have mentioned something because I thought people weren’t ready for it, whereas now, I know time might be too short, so I just need to share it. So I am a firecracker, trying to drive things, but in a meaningful way because you never know what’s round the corner. So it’s given me an even greater sense of purpose and even greater need to do something that has an impact on lots of people.
What can people expect to learn from your session?
I’m really excited about helping people understand a little bit more about what neuro-agility means, because it’s quite a new phrase in the field of leading with the brain and neuroscience.
I’d like people to walk away having a much greater idea about how they can be much more neuro-agile and how they can help other people unleash their neuro-agility.
So I’m going to explain seven different aspects of people’s own unique neurological design and also talk about six different drivers that can have a fundamental impact on our brain’s performance, and which one or two of these drivers they could up the ante on – that’s really going to boost their performance and make a difference to them.
Once you start understanding that, you can go away and help other people. It’s a double-pronged attack from me – one is to actually help the people in the room, for them to get an understanding of it, so they can then start to have conversations with other people that will in turn help them.
Looking to the future – how do you think leadership is changing?
Change is ever constant and we’re hearing a lot about AI and the impact it will have on the world.
I think that if we embrace AI, the impact for leadership is that we’ve got to become even more human. It’s about how we make the most of AI but how we really embrace our humanness at a profoundly different level than we currently are.
A lot of work has been done on helping people understand their emotional intelligence, but I think we now need to up the ante on that, integrating the head, heart and gut – understanding what makes us unique as human beings.
If we can fire up our brain power and use that more, but also embrace our humanness and understand our drivers, understand our ‘less conscious’, there’s so much more accessible to us as human beings that can add a big difference to leadership in the future.
On a more pragmatic level, the World Economic Forum talked about leadership skills that are going to be needed from 2020 and beyond. Five of those key skills are actually brain power skills, so in terms of looking to the future, they’re saying the number one skill is going to be complex problem solving, the second one, critical thinking and the third one, creativity.
Those top three skills are all skills that, by firing up your brain power, boosting your neuro-agility, but also getting more in touch with your motivational drivers and using the full brain not just the head brain, can make a radical difference.
So the future is about being ever more human and embracing what we’ve got naturally – and using all of it. Read the article on The Institute of Leadership and Management