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Archive for the ‘Big Apple Experiment’ Category

Quantum Physics explains disengagement

I felt extremely honoured last week when Matthew Bent, Managing Director of Bents  – one of the UK’s Top 5 Garden Centres  –  acknowledged our very own Big Apple Experiment as the inspiration behind the launch of The Great Plant Experiment.

The Cheshire based garden & home centre has set up an experiment that aims to subject two sets of plants to very different emotions. Half the plants will be ‘loved’ with kind words and happy thoughts, whilst the remaining plants will be subjected to ‘hateful’ conditions and harsh words, whilst all other conditions such as watering and fertilization will be exactly the same.

Matthew Bent says that he had the idea for The Great Plant Experiment after attending a Chief Executives Group Masterclass that I was running on Charisma. During the Masterclass I was using the ‘One bad apple spoils the barrel‘ idiom in relation to employee engagement – citing research by AON Hewitt that showed that it takes 4 fully engaged employees to counteract the negative impact of one disengaged and disconnected colleague. I explained that The Big Apple Experiment was created to demonstrate how our negative emotions can accelerate the rate of decay in an apple, and Matthew was pretty astonished by the results!

For the last few years that we have been running The Big Apple Experiment I am regularly asked how it works. Whilst I obviously have my own theory, I generally do my best not to get drawn into any attempt at a scientific explanation – I am not a scientist. On the odd occasion when I have made the mistake of trying to explain how – for over 75% of the people that try the experiment – their thoughts and emotions create a visible difference in the rate of decay of an apple, I have to admit that it even sounded a bit like pseudo-science to me! The great news however, is that all of this may soon be changing!

I am currently reading a fascinating new book, written by a real scientist, which appears to offer an explanation as to how The Big Apple Experiment works. The Honeymoon Effect – The Science of creating heaven on earth – by cellular biologist Bruce Lipton PhD explains the influence of quantum physics, biochemistry and psychology in creating and sustaining loving relationships. Bruce Lipton is a cellular biologist who taught at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine, and later performed pioneering studies at Stanford University.  He is now an internationally recognised leader in bridging science and spirit, and a leading voice in new biology.

In his book, Bruce Lipton explains that what quantum physics teaches us is that everything we thought was physical is not physical. Instead everything in this Universe is made out of immaterial energy, and everything radiates energy. It is a given fact of science that every atom and every molecule both radiates and absorbs light( energy), and because all organisms are made out of atoms and molecules, you and I and every living thing ( including apples), are radiating and absorbing energy (vibrations =‘vibes’).

To explain the difference between ‘good vibes’, and ‘bad vibes’, he describes the action of dropping two rocks of the same size, from the same height, into a pond. At the point that the ripples made by each rock converge, the power of the ‘entangled’ energy waves is amplified, and the height of the now combined waves is greater that the heights of the individual ripples that gave rise to them. This phenomenon, explaining the science behind ‘good vibes’ is known as constructive interference. Lipton then goes on to explain that if the rocks are dropped out of sync, they will create ripples /energy waves that are not in harmony. This energy will not amplify the power of the out-of-phase-waves. It will in fact dissipate it. This phenomenon of cancelling energy is called destructive interference, and it describes the energetic effect of ‘bad vibes’.

I believe this little bit of science goes some way to explaining why it takes 4 fully engaged employees to counteract the destructive interference of one disengaged colleague. I believe that it may well explains why ‘one bad apple spoils the barrel’ and why, when focusing hate, anger, frustration, fear and the energy of destructive interference on one half of an apple, it will decay far more rapidly than the half that is subjected to the constructive interference called love.

When we ‘entangle’ with someone else’s energy, we want the interference to be constructive (good vibes) not destructive (bad vibes). We want the interaction to increase our energy, as well as theirs, not deplete it. I believe that this is why living, and working, in harmony is, scientifically proven’ to be so much better for us all. When we access our natural state of charisma we enable our energy to constructively interfere with others. That’s why charismatic people have such a positive impact on our energy levels.

There was an interesting article in The Mail this week -‘Why health warnings could be bad for your health’ – which started with line ‘It seems you really can worry yourself sick’. The Mail cites recent research at Kings College London who asked almost 150 participants to watch programmes about technology. Half viewed a BBC documentary highlighting, in no uncertain terms, the potential health risks of wifi signals and mobile phones, whilst the other half watched on the security of internet and mobile phone data. Both groups were then told that they were being exposed to wifi signals, which in reality they were not. Nevertheless some still developed symptoms of electromagnetic sensitivity, including agitation and anxiety, loss of concentration and tingling in their hands and feet. A number of them even felt so ill that they dropped out of the study entirely, rather than be exposed to more ‘radiation’.

Analysis revealed the symptoms were most severe among those who had been made anxious by the documentary that warned of the health risks of wireless signals. The Mail article goes on to talk about the well documented research into the beneficial health benefits of the placebo effect, and the opposite damaging impact of ‘nocebo effect’, whereby a harmless substance can create harmful effects. Documented examples include clinical trials for new drugs, in which up to a quarter of patients given dummy versions consistently report side effects associated with those warned about for patients taking the real thing. In tests on blood pressure lowering Beta Blockers, tiredness and loss of libido were just as commonly reported in participants who were given the dummy drugs as those who were given the real thing.

There is now a wealth of evidence supporting the belief that the brain does not know the difference between imagining something and actually doing it. Research shows positive visualisation, or Mental Imagery, is successful in improving performance, health and wellbeing. In his book ‘It’s the thought that counts’ pharmaceutical scientist Dr David Hamilton describes how our thoughts and feelings, ideas and beliefs, and hopes and dreams alter the condition of our bodies, and the circumstances of our lives. Dr Hamilton draws upon the latest scientific discoveries showing how molecules known as neuropeptides link our thoughts and emotions to every part of our bodies, and explains why placebos heal people in medical trials. If a person believes they are receiving real medicine – or even if they simply believe in the doctor who administers it, they will usually get better.

Several years ago I developed ‘The Big Apple Experiment’ as a simple and effective way for people to have a compelling personal experience of the impact that our emotions, thoughts and intentions can have on the rate of decay of an apple. All you need to do to carry out this simple experiment in your own home is to cut an apple in half, put one half in a sealed jar labelled ‘Love’, and the other half in a Jar labelled ‘Hate’. For the next week or two, regularly pick up the hate jar, and download all of your negative emotions into that apple. Focus all of your anger, frustration, worries and fears into that Hate Apple, and really feel it. At other times, and just as regularly, pick up the Love Apple Jar and say loving, supportive, positive, encouraging things to this apple. Involve the family, or if you’re doing this experiment at work, get the whole office involved!

The feedback we receive suggests that approximately 75 – 80% of people who carry out The Big Apple Experiment report a significant difference in the rate of decay in their Love and Hate Apples. Over the last few years individuals from hundreds of organisations that we have worked with have carried out these experiments and the vast majority will have ended up asking themselves the question;

If our negative words, thoughts and emotions can create this level of damage in an apple, what damage are we doing to ourselves, and to those people that we care about most?

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen.
Keep in the sunlight.”

Benjamin Franklin

The clocks have gone forward and Spring is on it’s way. I’m not having to get up and come home in the dark, and this has had a definite positive effect on my mood. In fact, when I think about it, I am absolutely sure that the clocks going forward have had a positive impact on the mood of pretty well everybody that I have come into contact with this week! So for those of you that I haven’t caught up with yet, and have not yet been infected by my seasonal high spirits, I thought I’d share the secret of the clocks going forward, and my 4 tips on how to make very sure that you get as much joy ( and charisma) out of this event as I have!

1. Choose a ‘Growth Mindset’
At a cellular level we have just two operating mechanisms; we survive, or we grow. A cell can only be in one mechanism at a time. Therefore, if it is in survival mode it is not growing. In a growth mindset (one without fear) we stimulate all manner of life-enhancing hormones that naturally repair and energise our cells, promoting growth, health and happiness. When we feel fear, anxiety, or threatened however, our bodies stimulate Cortisol, a stress hormone that effectively causes us to close down. It takes a lot of energy to maintain a survival operating mechanism, and long term survival will ultimately kill the cell. The message is ‘fake it til you make it’. No matter how unsuccessful or uncharismatic you might be feeling right now, if you begin to act as if (you are successful /charismatic/ safe etc) your brain will begin to trick your body in to believing that everything is happening just the way that it’s supposed to – and pretty soon you will start to attract all sorts of evidence into your life to support that new belief!

2. Watch your ‘Filters’
According to Milhaly Csikszentmihalyi, (how hard did your conscious mind have to work to try to work out that name – or did it just give up?) Professor at the Druker School of Management in California, every moment our unconscious mind absorbs over two million ‘bits’ of information through our senses. Interestingly Professor George Miller, of Harvard Business School states that consciously we can typically only process around seven ‘chunks’ of this stream of information at any given moment in time. This means we naturally delete, distort and generalise huge volumes of information as it filters from our unconscious mind into our conscious awareness. In fact everything is going on out there in The Universe – all the great stuff and all of the bad stuff. Your view of the world is based purely on your internal representations that are entirely under your control! If you believe that the world is a horrible, unforgiving, difficult place to be, your filters, which are controlled by your ego (which just loves to prove you right), will select only evidence to support this view, and will delete, distort and generalise any glimpse of joy and abundance heading in your direction well away from your conscience awareness. The secret is to watch your filters. When you change your Internal Representations, you change your world. Start looking our for evidence that you are charismatic…. And pretty soon you’ll realise that you really are!

3. Listen to your Emotional Guidance System
By switching off our connection to our emotions we effectively cut-off valuable feedback that indicates whether we are living our life in alignment with our true authentic self. All emotions could be categorised into 1) those emotions that feel good (these have love at their core) and 2) those emotions that feel bad (these have fear at their core). Therefore our emotions are like an inner compass that direct and guide our decisions, actions and behaviours. From an energetic perspective, negative emotions drain our energy whilst positive emotions stimulate our energy. Tip number three? If it feels good, do it! Emotions are our most reliable indicator of how things are going on in our lives. Emotions help keep us on the right track, and negative emotions that are stored in the body can cause a depletion of energy levels leading to illness, disease and emotional withdrawal. We can all be charismatic when we are loving life and having fun…. So if it feels good – do it!

4. Determining Your Broadcasting Frequency
Our thoughts determine our emotional response and our emotional response is the criteria from which our brain categorises what’s important from what’s not important. For example, if you feel anger regularly then your brain will be attuned to capturing and storing information relating to and reinforcing anger. New discoveries in quantum physics are indicating that everything is connected by a vast quantum energy field and can be influenced by thought. These laws from quantum mechanics also points to strong evidence that the observer has an effect on reality. Every thought creates an energetic impulse and there is evidence that our thoughts have the capacity to change physical matter. The Law of Attraction is the name given to the belief that ‘like attracts like’ and that by focusing on either positive or negative thoughts, you can bring about positive or negative results. This theory is demonstrated by The Big Apple Experiment that shows your affect upon the rate of decay of an apple. So how does this relate to charisma? Like attracts like. If you start finding other people gloriously charismatic a very strange thing happens…. They will start to find you charismatic too.

I’m guessing that the more scientific and logical amongst you will have pretty well dismissed my brilliant advice well before Tip No.2 – and that in itself is really great evidence of how effective your filters are! For the doubters then, I have three final questions for you!

• What if everything that I’ve written above was completely true?
• What harm would be done by adopting these new beliefs?
• Is it okay with you that I get so much more joy out of the clocks going forward than you do?

“Who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakes”
Carl Jung

A few weeks ago I was invited to speak to a Chief Executives Group in Yorkshire. The organiser went to some lengths to ensure that I understood that this group was made up of very senior, logical, industrialists and engineers. He explained that their feedback was renowned, amongst previous speakers, to be direct and blunt, and that they were likely to be ‘challenging’! It was with some trepidation then that I approached the part of my keynote where I was to talk about The Big Apple Experiment. I had devised this experiment several years ago to give people an undeniable personal experience of the way that our words, thoughts and emotions will affect our physical world (in this case the rate of decay of an Apple). At the break one of the more distinguished gentlemen within the group approached me. He went on to tell me that my Big Apple Experiment was really nothing new, and that it had reminded him of concepts and ideas that he had first read about a as a younger man in a book, written by Napoleon Hill, that had changed his life.

Napoleon Hill is widely considered to be one of the great writers on success. His most famous work, Think and Grow Rich (1937), is to this day one of the best selling books of all time. In Think and Grow Rich, Hill talked about ‘the secret of achievement’ which is widely considered to be the inspiration behind ‘The Secret’, Rhonda Byrne’s best selling book on The Law of Attraction‘. Hill expanded upon the idea that our personal success is centred upon our absolute positive belief in our ‘Definite Major Purpose’, and identified negative emotions and thoughts such as fear and selfishness, to be the source of failure for unsuccessful people.

Hill’s work examined the power of personal beliefs, and the role they play in personal success. In researching his 1928 work The Law of Success he interviewed over 500 of the most successful people in the United States, including Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, motion picture camera and movie projector, Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, and Dr.Elmer Gates who was renowned for his expertize in the use and manipulation of sound waves and electricity.

It was working with these esteemed scientists that Hill observed that every human brain is both a broadcasting and receiving station for the vibrations of thought. Hill explained that in a fashion similar to that employed by the radio broadcasting principle, the human brain is capable of picking up vibrations of thought that are being released by other brains.(nb latest research now strongly suggests that it is our hearts, not our brains that transmit and receive thought vibrations)

Along with Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham-Bell and Elmer Gates, Hill developed a fascinating theory to explain intuition, reasoning that our hunches, gut feelings, instincts and first impressions are all ideas that come from our subconscious mind which appear in our ‘creative imagination’. This subconscious information comes from several sources:
• Everything that we’ve ever learned through our five senses, which stays in our subconscious as unfiltered data.
• Information that your conscious mind has forgotten or had set aside as not applicable at the time.
• From ideas that you have intentionally burned into your subconscious through self -suggestion.
• From bits of information that have come to you through ‘Infinite Intelligence’ from outside sources.

Infinite Intelligence

Back in 1937, Napoleon Hill reasoned that like the radio waves that are part of the electromagnetic spectrum, thought waves are part of the Infinite Intelligence that is also around us and within us at all times. If another thinker’s idea is sending pulses of energy at the same frequency that your mind is attuned to, it receives that idea from Infinite Intelligence. When your physical brain intercepts these waves, the information the waves are carrying becomes a part of the store of ideas and thoughts in your subconscious mind. At the subconscious level, all the bits and pieces of forgotten ideas and information are constantly interconnecting to create ideas that weren’t there before. Whether you call it a gut feeling, or an instinct, Hill said that the reason you don’t know ‘where on Earth that idea came from’, is very simply because it doesn’t come from your experience. It’s not your idea. It is a random thought wave rippling through Infinite Intelligence, which happened to be of the right frequency to become part of your subconscious. In other words, you channelled it!

In terms of ‘Definitive Major Purpose’ and success, Hill explained that a more specialised kind of creative idea is produced when you programme, or burn an aim or purpose into your subconscious, as it influences the bits of information that are related to your aim or purpose, bringing them together into new ideas that specifically support your desire. Or, to bring it bang up to date with The Secret and The Law of Attraction: ‘Thoughts become things – so choose them wisely!’

So, round about 75 years ago 4 of the most brilliant minds of the Western World got together and devised a theory about the secret of success, thought waves, and ‘infinite intelligence’. It occurred to me that if these esteemed gentlemen were somehow able to meet up again today, they might be a little surprised by the progress that their respective inventions have undergone over the last 7 decades. I have no doubt that Thomas Edison would be hugely impressed with Life of Pi in 3D, (but perhaps less so with Energy Saving Light Bulbs?). On the week that Blackberry launched the Z10 I am sure that Alexander Graham Bell would be utterly amazed with the multi-billion dollar industry now devoted to finding faster, cleverer and cooler ways to re-create his most famous invention. Above all however, with all of the progress that humankind has made in speeding up the way that we are now able to communicate consciously, I think that they would be shaking their heads in collective disbelief that next to nothing has been done to explore the incredible wisdom within Napoleon Hill’s work.

The Secret of Achievement is still, much as it was 75 years ago, a secret known only to those who recognise that our intuition is really just our authentic, charismatic self, telling us something important. When you pay attention to your intuition, it is you trusting yourself, …… and who knows you better than you do?

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
Napoleon Hill

John Tickner making sense of a spiritual approach to charisma.

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning author and spokesperson on the science of spirituality and after the success of The Field and The Intention Experiment has just published her new book The Bond. The Western mind really needs proof that spiritual beliefs are not just woo-woo stuff, and scientific evidence is now building a bridge between both worlds.
My own techniques for developing an individual’s charisma are often described as cutting-edge, spiritual, and at the frontiers of leadership development. Some organisations feeling reluctant offering my methods to logical, left-brained individuals for fear that they may not appeal to these personality types whom require facts, theories and scientific proof.
I set out to find an individual who was really closed to anything other than hard scientific facts and challenge them to participate in my open programme at The Globe Theatre,that develops charismatic potential. John Tickner, ex military pilot and aircraft engineer and an aviation consultant, used to run his own business that provided air support to National utilities companies.
John recalls “I’m one of the most cynical people I know and prior to attending Nikki’s programme there was a deep disinterest in anything vaguely woo-woo and a belief that what Nikki claimed, just couldn’t happen. I agreed to suspend my disbelief and the whole experience was ‘brain changing’. I’m convinced that our unconscious is a tangible force that exists like electricity and I’m now curious to find out more. I was a little taken aback by The Big Apple Experiment, by the speed of change when I directed negative thoughts at the apple. The visible rate of decay of the apple happened in my hand!” The pendulum work showed me that there is a lot more we need to learn about our whole energy system. In my humble opinion, the dowsing rod is just a medium for our internal powers. I think we can transmit and boost energy that makes the signal (our communication and impact) more powerful. I now realise that Reiki is just harnessing this power – I’ve witnessed this firsthand.”
John’s experience along with the changes I personally observed in him over these 2-days were highlighted to me this weekend when I received a specially composed Rap – about his 2-day experience. Just for fun, I could not resist sharing it with you all. When you read it, you need to imagine a big beefy engineer with a saucepan and wooden spoon delivering this with as much attitude and conviction as Jay Z…….. Enjoy!

So we went up to London
To visit the Globe
To open up our eyes
And our frontal lobe

Our beliefs are not valid
Our lives are crass
We must learn to fall
On our Charismatic Ass

So the Lady and her team
Hour after hour
Changed our lives
With their Charismatic Power

Pendulum swing
Engage my mind
Relieve my brain
From its daily grind

Energy, frequency
Acceptance, belief
Open up my mind
To obtain relief

Help me form my friendships
Decisions to make
Arrange my thoughts
The journey to take

So here we go
Ready to chance
Acceptance of magic
Or the necromance

How little do we know
How quickly do we falter
When we need to make a change
Upon life’s alter

So we balance our chakras
Balance on the ball
Whisper in each other’s ears
“You can change it all”

So we feel the energy
Like electricity
Flow from Nikki Owen
‘Authenticity’

London 2012 Paralympic Closing Ceremony

As we start our run up to this weeks An Audience with Charisma on Thursday and Friday at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, we can feel that the energy is electric, there is a buzz in the air that cannot be beaten, not even the buzz of two weeks ago as we closed the 2012 Olympic games. This is the closing ceremony to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, it’s emotional, it’s exciting and it is bar far one of the proudest moments to watch and be part of that we have in recent history.

There has been much talk about the Paralympians and the caliber of athlete that we have seen in the past two weeks. Short to tall, missing limbs, walking and rolling each and every one has proved what it takes to truly succeed. opinions and attitude towards disabled people have taken a huge step forward showing nations that being Dis-abled is much more about ability than dis-ability.

It is truly amazing to hear the stories of those that have travelled long emotional journeys to get to the place where they are competing. It is these stories that show us just how much human nature can take us on to do great things. It can also highlight that human nature can lead us down a path of possible defeat. Our Paralympians show us exactly what is needed and how strong we can be when faced with adversity. We all have barriers that can hold us back, it is the way that we deal with them and move forward that counts.

listening to each and every Paralympian, and Olympians for that matter, talk about the driving force that feel deep within to move forward and succeed can only be a lesson to everyone. In sports this driving force, this pure ambition to succeed is called being in”The Zone”, the place they go to as they prepare and make their aim on winning gold. In business we call this engagement. Leaders engaging with their team, businesses engaging with the workforce and everyone engaging internally and externally to build a business that can only be successful.

It is this strong driving force, the passion of a business that shines through for everyone to see and makes people want to do business with you. The Charisma of an organisation doesn’t just lead to success it is success. Research shows that organisations with over 74% engagement have double digit growth in place. Those that are below 63% engagement have stopped growing and may even be in a protection mindset. This can lead to dis-engagement, absenteeism and loosing the all important talent of the organisation.

One of the main reasons why London won the 2012 Olympic bid was the legacy plans it made to take the Olympic games and sports past these four weeks and into the lives of everyone for a long time to come. The excitement and buzz of the games can be felt across the nation and the world. The buzz that beats at the heart of every organisation is the same. The question that remains is this; what legacy will is there in the organisation you work within? Will it be one of Charisma, engagement and the thrill of success or will it be protection and dis-engagement.

An emotional Andy Murray shows his authentic Charisma

The Charisma team have had a fully charged week, each of us delivering outstanding openings as we ”up our game” in preparation for the start of our corporate in house programs. All showcasing truly Charismatic presentations in our own authentic style creating pure magic.

There was magic happening on at Wimbledon this weekend too as Roger Federer and Andy Murray challenged each other in the 2012 Grand Slam. Murray was hoping to become the first british man to win the title since fred Perry in 1936, sadly this wasn’t his day and Federer made History equalling the seven Wimbledon titles of Pete Sampras.

Murray took to centre court with the hopes of a nation on his shoulders. A nation that were also split. You didn’t have to go for during the run up to the Wimbledon to read about the general feeling of Murray. Everyone had such hope for him to win, yet there was a line down the middle, half the nation standing behind in and believing he could do it and another crowd wondering who he was. Reports that he was miserable and never showed his emotions. I read one update from twitter wondering if Andy would “crack a smile” if he was to win, and others asking him to “up his game” just for the public. I too have to say that although I love the game and wanted so much to see Andy take the trophy home I also find myself wondering if he would ever do this given a lack of….. star quality….

Something happened at the end of game that changed my view of Andy Murray forever. He took to the court to receive his second place trophy and began to give a thank you speech. In this one moment Andy showed a side to the nation that we had not seen before. Unable to speak due to the emotion building up within him, right here in this moment we saw the authentic Andy Murray. It was in Andy’s vulnerability that we saw a glimpse of the driving force he holds deep within him, his passion fueled, broken voice looked out at a crowd and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, or the rest of the country. Andy spoke from his heart, his point of power, with grace thanking his opponent and congratulating him on his win. It was at this moment that Andy won the hearts and minds of each and every person. There were two champions on the court on Sunday and Andy was most certainly one of them.

Having a passionate driving force that comes from deep within ones self is a must have for any successful sports person. Sports is often related to business and it is also true of any great leader to have such a passion for what it is that they are doing. Sometimes, dropping our guard for a moment and showing our vulnerable side will ignite the passion in each of our followers and let them truly see the driving force within. By doing so we deliver a compelling vision that sets us apart from the rest. In sports we refer to this as “Being in the Zone” and in business Engagement. Dis-engaged organisations create a choking effect that no matter how hard you try high performance will not be achieved.

Try an experiment to see the effects that Dis-Engagement can have on your organisation. The Big Apple Experiment created by Nikki Owen in 2009, involves cutting an apple into 2 halves, direct positive thoughts, beliefs and emotions towards one half and negative thoughts, beliefs and emotions to the other. Over 70 percent of people taking part in the experiment will create a visible and significant change in the rate of decay between their 2 halves within 14 days. If an individual can affect the rate of decay of an apple, what impact are they having on themselves at work, their department and ultimately their organisation?

By creating an environment where everyone is fully engaged with the business goals, knows the direction and has a passion to deliver will create an energy in the workplace not to be reckoned with.

Andy Murray can walk away with his head held high and look forward to his next match, knowing that the hearts and minds of the nation sit firmly with him. In just a few weeks Andy will be back to take gold home from the Olympics, I for one cannot wait to see how the energy on court that day will most certainly be electric.

Disengagement is dramatically highlighted with The Big Apple Experiment created by Nikki Owen in 2009. This involves cutting an apple into 2 halves, and directing positive thoughts, beliefs and emotions towards one half and negative thoughts, beliefs and emotions towards the other half. Over 70 percent of people taking part in the experiment will create a visible and significant change in the rate of decay between their 2 apple halves within 14 days. If an individual can affect the rate of decay of an apple, what impact are they having on themselves at work, their department and ultimately their organisation?

A protection mindset builds resistance
In a tough economy as employees are being tasked to achieve more with fewer resources, they unwittingly perpetuate a climate of fear and uncertainty. Where jobs are at risk and organisations introduce change initiatives to streamline processes and improve performance, the demands and pressures can feel like a burden of anxiety. Based on Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs, when employees believe their job security is being threatened a natural instinct for survival causes them to withdraw into a ‘protectionist’ mindset.

Numerous studies have proven that companies with highly engaged employees are more profitable than companies with low engagement. Gallup’s research with 17 million employees spanning 30 years authoritatively confirms that employee engagement is a leading indicator of financial performance. Yet disengaged employees are making it tougher for organisations wanting to create a high performing workforce.

Disengagement – The Rotten Apple Syndrome™
Disengaged employees erode the bottom line. Gallup estimates in the US workforce this costs companies $300 billion a year in lost productivity alone. Gallup’s engagement ratio formula shows that world-class organisations have 10 engaged employees to every 1 actively disengaged employee. However, in the UK, an average organisation has only 2 engaged employees for every 1 actively disengaged employee.The Towers Watson’s report compounds the problems of disengagement by highlighting that engaged employees take an average of 2.69 days off sick each year compared to 6.19 days taken by disengaged employees.

Disengagement is dramatically highlighted with The Big Apple Experiment created by Nikki Owen in 2009. This involves cutting an apple into 2 halves, and directing positive thoughts, beliefs and emotions towards one half and negative thoughts, beliefs and emotions towards the other half. Over 70 percent of people taking part in the experiment will create a visible and significant change in the rate of decay between their 2 apple halves within 14 days. If an individual can affect the rate of decay of an apple, what impact are they having on themselves at work, their department and ultimately their organisation?

A protection mindset builds resistance
In a tough economy as employees are being tasked to achieve more with fewer resources, they unwittingly perpetuate a climate of fear and uncertainty. Where jobs are at risk and organisations introduce change initiatives to streamline processes and improve performance, the demands and pressures can feel like a burden of anxiety. Based on Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs, when employees believe their job security is being threatened a natural instinct for survival causes them to withdraw into a ‘protectionist’ mindset.

Consequently employees erect an invisible barrier around themselves and ‘disengage’ from their job role. Even with a competent leadership team, a solid market-driven strategy and robust processes, the individual will be unable to utilise these resources whilst there is a wall of resistance in the way. Even with a personalised development plan, traditional models of training are failing to penetrate resistance from employees.

Charisma activates accelerated growth
Charisma is a natural state that anyone can experience. Charisma enables people to optimise their thinking, their behaviour and their performance. Charisma is an authentic power that connects the heart and mind to remove resistance because the individual is operating in a growth mindset. In the world of sport, this charismatic state is often referred to as ‘the zone’. In business, this charismatic state it is called engagement.

1. Commit to running The Big Apple Experiment within your company. This provides you with a unique and memorable way to highlight the importance of your employee’s attitude. People are often stunned that they have affected the rate of decay of an apple and this then opens their mind to the importance of being positive. For more information about doing your own experiment visit The Big Apple Experiment on Facebook.

2. Recognise that your emotional state at the beginning of the day will affect everyone you come into contact with, even those people you speak to by phone. The best way to optimise your energy and emotional outlook is to take up meditation. Meditation, which is an ancient practice and part of Eastern spiritual philosophy, involves sitting, usually in silence, and focusing on one thing, such as your breathing. According to Mark Williams, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford, brain scans have proved that meditation breaks the loop of feelings that trigger self-defeating thoughts and depression. A positive self-image energises you and others. A negative self-image drains you and others.

3. Operate in the NOW and be really ‘present’ with people. According to Nancy Kline, author of The Thinking Organisation “the quality of our listening, determines how intelligently the person responds to you’. Charismatic people are able to connect deeply with others in just a few seconds and are genuinely interested in what the other person is saying. Imagine that everyone you meet has an interesting insight for you to learn. When you look at them really see them and focus your concentration on them.

4. Speak from your heart. The world of business has drummed into us that we need to assert ourselves, think logically and trust only the facts and the evidence presented to us. The ability to inspire and ignite interest requires high levels of energy. People who are in touch with their emotions generate a strong electro-magnetic force field around them that is unconsciously ‘felt’ by others. People who disassociate from their emotions also disconnect interest. When you listen to your Emotional Guidance System and speak from your heart you become authentic and real.

5. Generate balanced energy for communication flow. At the tiniest, subatomic level, in the Quantum Field we are all pulsating atoms of energy, constantly interacting with the energy fields of those around us. In 1997, Cranfield University produced a thought-provoking report proving the impact of energy on performance and contribution. People with low energy are tired, depressed, stressed, angry or ill. In contrast, people with high energy levels are positive, creative, confident, healthy and in-balance. People with high energy are more attractive than people with low energy. Energy is addictive. We naturally crave it to make us feel better and unconsciously seek to steal it from others in 4 main ways:

• Intimidation – people like to hold the balance of power because the hold the balance of energy.
• Interrogation – when people fire many questions it is a form of energetic attack that will drain the energy of the person they are speaking with.
• Aloof – when people disassociate they erect an invisible wall around themselves that stops the flow of their energy towards others.
• Poor Me – being a victim will often trigger the concern of others causing energy to flow one-way towards the victim.

Balance your conversation so that your energies flow between you and the other person. If you start to feel drained, take control of the conversation until your energy builds again.

6. Identify the influences within your own business that are likely to create resistance in your workforce. For example:

• Have you recently downsized, cut operating costs and/or out-sourced services?
• Have you introduced and implemented significant changes in the last 12 months?
• Have sales revenues dropped recently?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions then it is likely your employees are feeling scared and insecure. As a Charismatic Leader your role is to create a working environment where people feel safe. This reduces their resistance and enables them to optimise their performance.

7. Identify 3 issues you are experiencing within your business right now. For each one ask yourself the following questions:
• If this issue was a metaphor, what would it represent?
• How does this metaphor relate to me personally?
• What other areas or occasions in my life have I experienced this metaphor?
• What’s the emotional reaction this metaphor creates within me?
• What’s really the issue here?

Charismatic Leaders accept 100% responsibility for everything that happens in their life. Because we cannot consciously know reality (2 million bits of information every second) the only reality that is true to us is the one we create inside our own heads. If you change your inner reality this naturally changes your external reality. This way of looking at things can be summarised as Perception is Projection. What you perceive you will project onto others.

According to data from the NHS Information Centre, the use of antidepressants and sleeping pills has jumped 20% in just three years. Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of the health charity Mind, cited the tough economic times may have contributed to more people experiencing depression. This has enormous implications on the potential (or not) for profitability and growth during these tough trading times. It is now an accepted fact that the morale of a workforce can be correlated and linked to levels of stress and consequently absenteeism.
During adverse times the role of the leadership team will determine whether the business or organisation adopts a fighting spirit or whether employees sink into a quagmire of negativity and fear.
Studies show that leaders who demonstrate high levels of charisma are seven times more likely to create a motivated and engaged workforce when compared to leaders who are equally competent yet lack than presence and impact.
Many organisations experience the impact of a depressed workforce yet fail to realise that depression means a massive drop in overall energy and low energy immediately creates apathy, tiredness, stress and illness. I call this The Rotten Apple Syndrome because the moment you allow negativity to breed, even in just one person you’ll notice that it spreads like a contagious disease infecting everyone.
The good news is that organisations, businesses and individuals can adopt easy steps that instantly boost energy, morale, confidence and motivation. By changing workforce attitudes you will leverage the organisation’s potential for growth and success.
Happy New Year knowing that it is when we are experiencing the toughest moments in our life we are being handed a wonderful opportunity to grow and develop.