The Colour Works likes to see itself at the forefront of thinking around workplace behaviours and relationships and so we were delighted to be invited to present at the Sundial Group’s inaugural Learning & Development Thought Leaders’ Conference held at Highgate House, a beautiful specialist meeting venue in the heart of the Midlands.

The evening before was brilliantly hosted by the Sundial Group with food and refreshments in plentiful supply – a brave offering given the ‘social approach’ of us like-minded speakers and the following days’ expectations – and the combination of a swift walk around the grounds and a hearty breakfast (sort of) calmed the nerves come the morning…

If you didn’t know, a conference room filled with around 80 senior learning and development specialists can be known as a tricky crowd to keep engaged! We were understandably nervous, but the master of ceremonies and our day’s chair, the wonderfully inspiring David Hyner, not only expertly kept us on track but challenged the audience’s way of thinking which set the scene for our speakers to start.

The conference’s principal theme was talent management and equipping future leaders with the requisite skills to succeed.  Subsequent speakers included Glenn Mead, Director of Corporate Programmes at Chimp Management and Doug Chapman, Head of Management & Leadership Capability at Thales Learning & Development, but up first was our very own Giles Miskin, MD of TCW. Daunting though going first is, Giles engaged the audience in considering the meaning of resilience — what upsets us and why, who irritates you (from loved ones and family members to managers and colleagues) and the impact it can have on our ability to manage relationships and our own behaviour.

Next up was our Development Director, James Hampton, who took the stage and brought to life a brief history of the binary survival function (fight, flight and freeze) and the impact our emotions have on our everyday performance. Delving deeper into the physiology of resilience, this led on to a live demonstration looking at how quickly our physiology reacts to demands and stress. Our volunteer, Phil, was connected to a Heart Rate Variability (HRV) monitor which allowed us to explore in real-time what goes on when the body is under stress.

We moved Phil from a stressful state of frustration (low HRV) into a more balanced state of coherence through focusing first on our breathing and then our thought management (high HRV). This quick and impactful demonstration was a complete success. Whilst showing how quickly our physiology can override our rational brain, leaving us stranded, out of control and unable to rationalise the most simple of tasks, it highlighted the need and value for professionals to first manage their own ability to perform before managing others.

As Giles took the stage back, he linked the live demonstration and frustrations to team behaviours and personality through the Discovery colour model. Using the colour energies brings an accessible and immediate awareness to the differences in personality that exist and a non-confrontational language to use when the pressure gets turned up.

The conference was an outstanding success and The Colour Works are proud to have played its part in making it so.

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