It’s more than shared targets, it’s shared moments and authentic recognition.

Five things high-performing teams do differently:

1️⃣ 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻: They talk—a lot. Replacing texts with conversations, ensuring that nuances don’t get lost in digital translation. 66% more phone calls than average teams.

2️⃣ 𝗠𝗲𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗣𝘂𝗿𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗲: Every meeting has a mission. They’re 39% more likely to prep beforehand and 55% more likely to have a clear agenda. Efficiency isn’t an afterthought. It is their baseline.

3️⃣ 𝗕𝗲𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗱 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗸 𝗕𝗼𝗻𝗱𝘀: These teams know that bonding over non-work topics is 25% more likely to cement relationships that go beyond the office walls. Coffee, anyone?

4️⃣ 𝗖𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗔𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻: They’re not shy with ‘thank you’s’. With 72% more appreciation received from colleagues and a whopping 79% more from managers, gratitude is their currency.

𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝗻𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 5️⃣ : Vulnerability is not a liability but a strength. It’s all about being genuinely you. Authenticity isn’t just encouraged, it’s expected.

𝗟𝗲𝘁’𝘀 𝗽𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝘀𝗸: Does your team’s culture allow for a quick call to clear the air? Do meetings leave room for personal connection? Is saying “thank you” as habitual as morning coffee? Are members encouraged to be themselves, truly?

In a world where jobs can become obsolete overnight, standing still is no longer an option.

Continuous career growth is the new constant, separating those who thrive from those who get left behind.

Discover Mindbeat Business Development Executive, Vincent Brown’s 11 ways to stay ahead.

Artificial Intelligence’s influence on digital coaching is inevitable. At Mindbeat, we’re taking the lead by developing AI-powered coaching that will support our global network. Mike Fletcher explains. 

Our global Mindbeat network of expert coaches will soon receive a new addition to their ranks. 

Although not human, automated digital coaches can work alongside experienced coaching practitioners to offer a different perspective on when and how professional development coaching is carried out.

Recent research shows that AI-powered coaches are just as effective as human coaches if there are clearly defined goals and explicit measures of success.

Just imagine an AI-powered coach that’s always ready to offer spur-of-the-moment advice. Traditional coaching can then follow up and provide feedback on any given scenario.

Information gathering is another of the many ways AI-based coaching can work with humans. A single session with an aspiring leader may not be sufficient to gather enough information to formulate leadership pathways, which take into account the person’s unique set of challenges and goals. The AI can interpret huge swathes of data for behavioural trends and other insights. The human coach can then analyse the results to create more personalised strategies. 

An AI coach can also help streamline onboarding programmes. It can take new hires through company policies and procedures and answer any questions. 

It can also facilitate training tailored to the individual or take users through formatted programmes relating to D&I, employee wellbeing, health and safety or other knowledge-based learning.

Seven benefits of AI-powered coaching

1. Personalised strategies

Not everyone’s professional development is the same. Even if workplace challenges appear to look the same, the context will be different and therefore, so too will the pathway. 

Also, people develop at different speeds and through various means. Some thrive when closely monitored by their Mindbeat coach while some prefer the space to work through solutions themselves. 

These personalised circumstances are recognised by the AI, allowing the individual to ask questions and to develop at their own pace. 

2. Continuous development 

Short-term coaching programmes allow employees to develop longer-term relationships with their line managers and put what they’ve learned into action quicker within the workplace. 

Having an AI coach supporting short, structured development can help the transition from confiding in a coach to being open and honest with a line manager and integrating leadership models into teams. 

3. Undivided attention

AI coaching can attend to multiple employees from the same organisation simultaneously and provide undivided attention and strategies tailored to the individual. 

With each interaction, the AI processes new insights and keeps a personalised data record of trends and behavioural patterns. It can also automate tasks, deploy quickly and operate cost-effectively.

4. Available 24/7

With AI, you can access answers to professional development questions or personalised coaching strategies anywhere, anytime and on any device. No more having to juggle diaries to find a slot you and your coach can do. 

5. Accessibility 

Persons with disabilities can benefit hugely from AI-powered professional development coaching. The AI can evaluate workplace challenges and tailor responses according to an employee’s individual needs. 

Accessible tools such as speech-to-text, screen readers and text-only can further remove some of the barriers that people face when having one-to-one sessions. 

6. Complete neutrality 

AI coaching can be a comfort for anyone faced with a sensitive workplace issue. 

Complete neutrality is assured in its responses and the employee can relax knowing that they have as much time as they need to work through different scenarios and respond to the AI’s unbiased questioning. 

7. Increased engagement 

AI-powered coaching empowers the user to take control of their learning and development. This, along with the interactive and conversational nature of AI, helps to enhance user engagement.

Embrace the future of AI

A majority of humans will always choose genuine face-to-face connections, empathy and emotional intelligence over datasets, algorithms and a chatbot-like interface. Despite this, AI’s ability to democratise coaching, making it possible for anyone, anywhere to achieve professional or personal results, means that machine learning’s influence on coaching is inevitable. 

As a result, human coaches will need to experiment with automated AI support to supplement and improve their offer. Ultimately, it will provide an enriched professional development experience and greater value for workplace coaching investment. 

If you’d like to speak to Mindbeat about its development of AI-based coaching, drop us a line at [email protected] 


Six tips for giving effective feedback

20 February 2024

A key leadership skill is the ability to deliver both positive and constructive feedback. We asked our global community of Mindbeat coaches for their advice on avoiding common mistakes when giving feedback during performance reviews. 

Performance reviews are vital for helping employees maintain focus while evaluating factors such as overall workload, motivation, communication skills and team contributions. 

How often appraisals take place will vary depending on company culture or the potential impact (good or bad) someone’s day-to-day role can have on a company’s profitability. 

It may be enough to conduct a formal yearly evaluation with more frequent, informal reviews like a quarterly check-in to let staff know how they’re doing. If someone has set targets though, more regular appraisals may be required to keep them on track or to discuss ways to improve. 

No matter how regularly you carry out employee reviews, as a leader, your ability to communicate feedback, deliver criticism or praise, and rate performance is an important skill. 

And who better to advise on giving effective feedback than our global community of coaches? We asked them how to avoid the most common mistakes leaders make when giving feedback during performance reviews. This is what they had to say:

1. Inform, don’t judge

If the recipient becomes defensive or argumentative during a performance review, your feedback may be too judgemental or authoritative. You can’t make someone like or agree with what you’re saying but you can increase the chances that your feedback will be well received rather than rejected. 

Avoid apportioning blame. Instead, inform the receiver about the impact their actions are having on colleagues or team performance. This will empower them to make changes on their own and increase the chances that they’ll accept your appraisal. 

2. Don’t be vague

Steer clear of generalisations, cliches and exaggerations like ‘always’ and ‘never’ (they’ll always bring up that one time in response). 

The best way to encourage someone to carry on producing great performances is to analyse their actions, which led to effectiveness or success, and then communicate them clearly so that they can continue to repeat these productive behavioural patterns. 

3. Stick to what you know

Performance coaches are often told how an appraisal became heated when a third party’s opinion was relayed as fact by someone’s line manager. 

Don’t bring other people’s opinions into performance reviews. It confuses the recipient, puts them on the defensive, and leaves them wondering why their colleagues are talking about them behind their backs. 

4. Be mindful of tone

Performance reviews are no place for inappropriate humour, sarcasm, arrogance or domineering language. 

Telling someone their job is in jeopardy doesn’t reinforce positive actions or illustrate bad ones – it only creates animosity. Keep the tone formal, friendly and to the point. 

5. Ask the right questions

Never assume you know what’s going on in somebody’s life outside of work. Instead of delivering feedback straight away, take the time to ask questions for a better understanding of someone’s home life, stress and anxiety levels. 

When you’re made aware of extenuating circumstances, you may decide to adjust your appraisal. Good leadership means being able to adapt to the unexpected. 

6. Read the room

Some people will understand your message straight away and wish to discuss a course of action. Others will need more time to absorb it. They may wish to go away and discuss possible solutions with their performance coach. 

Appraisals should always be a two-way conversation so listen to what the recipient has to say as well as understand how they say it. You can learn a lot about how to motivate or improve someone’s performance by gauging their reactions and what’s important to them. 

If you’d like our expert coaches to provide your management teams with the tools they need to become more successful leaders, request a free demo of Mindbeat today. 


Sustainable changemakers 

5 February 2024

Mindbeat looks at a new breed of sustainable leaders and examines what it takes to explore innovative ways to integrate environmental and societal considerations into long-term business strategies. 

In a turbulent, uncertain world, businesses are looking for new types of leaders – those who can collaborate to shape company culture, think creatively and develop long-term solutions for environmental, societal and economic challenges. 

These are the sustainable changemakers. They embrace the evolving complexity of the world around them, which makes them more adaptable. Plus, they’re long-term thinkers who see people and the environment as integral to business success. 

As environmental catastrophes, warring factions and political instability continue to upset and disrupt the world’s supply networks, businesses need sustainable changemakers, committed to fostering change. 

In one recent study, published in partnership with the United Nations, the attributes that make leaders effective at driving sustainability outcomes were examined. It determined the following four leadership styles:

1. Multi-level systems thinking

Multi-level systems thinking is the ability to observe and focus on the bigger environmental issue while recognising how sustainability fits within what your organisation already does well. 

You’re able to change the perspective between conflicting groups by developing strategies that inspire all stakeholders and genuinely promote sustainable solutions for the long term.

2. Stakeholder inclusion

Sustainable leadership requires advanced skills in active listening, storytelling, creating a shared vision, conflict management, and the capacity to motivate and convince other people.

By demonstrating high levels of empathy and authenticity, you can help shape and influence different perspectives for more informed decision-making. 

3. Long-term activation

Leaders who can achieve buy-in from across the organisation can set audacious goals, operationalised through interim targets. You’ll have a strong sense of purpose, paired with a long-term orientation and an inherent ambition to achieve the sustainability bottom line. 

You’ll be comfortable working with long-term complexities that involve factors such as stakeholder needs, politics, competing interests, and natural systems.

Communication and transparency are key to building trust and credible long-term activation plans. Let employees, customers and other stakeholders know what the strategy is and why it’s essential.

4. Disruptive innovation

By daring to take action and challenge traditional approaches to technology and business strategy, you’ll forge better partnerships and create solutions fit for a greener future. 

While difficult to measure, some of the core qualities that distinguish sustainable changemakers are their ability to set bold, science-based targets and come up with plans to radically transform products or services that aren’t contributing to a positive climate or societal benefit.

Coaching can help sustainable changemakers to:

Set goals. Ensure your business keeps track of and keeps improving its sustainable development goals. These goals should be clear, specific, measurable, and achievable. Coaches can help you to implement and monitor the effectiveness of sustainable practices as part of an overall organisational strategy. 

Inspire teams. Develop as an inspirational thought leader by acting responsibly and sustainably. Show clear ways of measuring impact and set examples for others to follow. When those in leadership roles discuss climate change seriously, employees can feel inspired to take action too.

Create an inclusive workplace. By fostering an organisational culture that prioritises the well-being of its employees, sustainable changemakers create space for open dialogue, where employees feel empowered to discuss and suggest the effectiveness of sustainable practices. 

Teamwork is vital to developing a more sustainable future. Coaching will provide the tools and techniques required to bring everyone along on your sustainability journey. 

How is your organisation empowering people to become sustainable changemakers? To discuss how Mindbeat coaches can help to develop your leaders for whatever the future holds, contact us today. 

Mindbeat is privileged to offer a global network of expert coaches. In the third of a new series of interviews to introduce you to our much-loved coaching personalities, Mike Fletcher discusses neuroscience, books and cycling accidents with Dr Colleen Lightbody, who lives in Johannesburg. 

Had I been playing the board game Cluedo (or Clue as it’s known in North America), you’d be forgiven for thinking that I’d requested to meet Dr. Lightbody in the library (with or without the candlestick) for our Zoom interview. 

When the South African coach and trainer who specialises in neuroscience and brain-based learning appeared on my screen from Johannesburg, she was surrounded by shelf upon shelf of books.

“It’s a bit of a messy library isn’t it but often they’re the best, don’t you think? It shows the books aren’t just for display and each has been well-read,” she says with a smile. 

Dr Colleen Lightbody has conducted over 15,000 hours of online training and coaching against the backdrop of her beloved books. Her interest in neuroscience originally stemmed from Dr David Rock, founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of titles including Your Brain at Work (a copy of which I spied on her bookshelf). 

Rock’s work on cognitive science to improve leadership inspired Dr Lightbody to gain a Master’s, a Postgraduate Diploma, plus a PhD in different areas of brain-based learning.

“I’m not a neuroscientist but I am an ardent psychology student with a deep interest in how the brain functions,” she says with pride. “As a result, I’ve developed a coaching ability to incorporate the neuroscience behind any area of professional development in a very accessible and non-academic way. 

“So whether it’s self-motivation, conflict resolution, wellness, or whatever the subject may be, I find that providing a context of neuroscientific research gives greater credibility to the importance of developing these so-called ‘soft skills’.”  

Dr Lightbody’s TEDx talk on Mastery through Mindfulness is a must-watch and has been viewed almost 50,000 times. It also provides a deeper insight into the Mindbeat coach. 

We learn for example that in 2016, during a cycle race, Colleen crashed into the wreckage of another cyclist, sending her over the handlebars and face-first onto the road. 

Doctors had to rebuild her wrist and parts of her face using titanium plates. But during her time in the hospital, she fell in love with a man who had remained by her bedside throughout. 

“I had to quite literally be stopped in my tracks to open myself up to the opportunity of falling in love and finding joy,” she says of the experience. “It’s why I tell people today of the importance of always being intentionally present in their lives through mindfulness.”

Dr Lightbody’s particular brand of coaching helps people, often in senior leadership positions, who know they’re struggling – whether it’s with anxiety, imposter syndrome, insomnia, self-doubt or something else. 

“When you reach the top of your game and you’re constantly having to prove yourself time and again, it’s often not sustainable,” she says. “So I help these individuals be more open, honest and vulnerable enough to admit there’s an underlying process about not feeling okay. When they begin to open up, trust the relationship, and then start to trust the process, it can be mind-blowing because they can finally understand the conditioning and unconscious processing. 

“It’s only then that we look at how to rewire their brains through neuroplasticity. It’s not easy but it’s profoundly possible to rewire someone’s negative beliefs and behaviours so that they can move forward in leadership with the ability to trust themselves, before trusting the people around them.

“To change that hard-wired, rigid, inflexible way of thinking, it takes a few key things,” she continues. “Firstly, it takes discomfort. Often people are in burnout or they’ve had a crisis or trauma, or they’ve been overlooked for a promotion. Whatever it is, it has to start with enough discomfort to make them re-evaluate their lives and seek real change. 

“Then it takes focus. There are lots of techniques to drive focus and to help people pay attention to new behaviours. Finally, it’s all about repetition, maintaining motivation and making sure there’s a reward for these new behaviours.”

I wonder out loud if more people in business struggle today due to a prolonged hangover from the pandemic when there was so much pressure to be agile, and look after employees, plus the very survival of the business would often be at stake. 

Colleen concurs, adding that due to the ongoing uncertainty that remains in the world today, business leaders have had to remain in a hyper-vigilant state, which frequently results in exhaustion. 

“From wars to the cost of living squeeze, and from political uncertainty to what is happening in people’s communities, I find that people have stopped focusing on performance and goals. Instead, more and more people are just focused on coping and the day-to-day.

“For brain-based coaching to bring about sustainable change, we must do things differently, and continually. It’s hard and it takes a lot of effort and focus. But a coach is your accountability partner. We take you through the process step by step and gradually, small incremental changes start to occur. I see myself as a resource. I’m the person that can help you to manage your mind or get you to think differently.”

With that, I’m reminded that if we were playing Cluedo and I had just interviewed Dr Lightbody in the library, she would need to be placed with a possible murder weapon (I couldn’t see any lead piping during our video call, or a candlestick for that matter). 

Mind control would have to be her weapon of choice. But the fact that she only ever uses the workings of the human brain for good means that she could never be the villain of this story. 


Meet a Mindbeat coach: Anita Sauvage

22 December 2023

Mindbeat is privileged to offer a global network of expert coaches. In the second of a new series of interviews to introduce you to our much-loved coaching personalities, Mike Fletcher discusses mental fitness, emotional intelligence and men in kilts with Anita Sauvage, who lives in Bordeaux. 

It’s only when Mindbeat coach Anita Sauvage describes the notion of ‘the saboteurs’ as the ‘wee voices in your head that feed self-doubt and anxiety’ that I notice the Scottish influence in her otherwise elegant and distinctive French accent. 

We’d been discussing Shirzad Chamine, author of the New York Times best-seller, Positive Intelligence (otherwise known as PQ). Shirzad had opened the door to Anita specialising in mental fitness and positive intelligence coaching by inviting her to become one of the first 500 professionals to take his ‘Mental Fitness Programme for Coaches’ course in 2019. 

“I didn’t waiver and it was one of the best choices I ever made in terms of development,” she says. “His research into mental self-sabotage involved 500,000 participants from 50 countries. It gave me the tools and insight to deal with the subsequent lockdowns and improve my mental fitness so that I could emerge from the pandemic a stronger person.”

Anita became a Mindbeat coach in May 2021. She trains clients on how to recognise and intercept saboteurs and how to focus on mental fitness and improving positive emotional intelligence.

“I’ve been fascinated by emotional intelligence for over 20 years as it’s not part of our DNA, it’s something you have to learn,” she says. “My mother was extremely liberal and empathetic. If we didn’t want to do something or not go to school, that was our choice but she taught us to recognise and understand the consequences of our actions, which helps you to develop deeper emotional intelligence.”

Shirzad’s coaching method calls it ‘Strengthening the sage’ – keeping in touch with our true self, where a calm mind and positive emotions take the lead. The sage is strengthened by tapping into our powers of empathy, exploration, innovation, navigation and activation. 

Anita explains: “The first step is to notice the chemical reaction that occurs when we’re pushed into survival mode by heightened emotions such as stress and anxiety. You can’t control the chemical reaction but you can control your response. You need to pause, observe and reframe without listening to that wee voice sabotaging your thoughts. 

“By redirecting our attention to physical sensations, we can quiet the saboteurs and shift our focus to the right-sided part of the brain associated with positive emotions, serenity and clear-headed focus. Something as simple as stroking your hand, wiggling your toes, staring at an object’s detail, or closing your eyes and focusing on listening to a sound furthest away can reset the neural pathways and declutter your thoughts. Sensory actions induce calm and help us to strengthen emotional intelligence, allowing us to take back control. 

“This might appear simplistic, but a massive amount of research backs it,” she continues. “Each time you shift your attention for about 10 seconds, you have performed a ‘PQ rep,’ just like you’d do in the gym but strengthening the neural pathways of your ‘PQ brain’. With meditation, you need a quiet space and no interruptions. But, this can be practised without anyone else knowing. You could be sitting in a meeting or at your desk. These ‘muscles’ build up fast.”

Anita believes that professional transformation requires 20% insight – which we can get from reading a book, attending a workshop or a coaching session – and 80% mental muscle building.

She says: “The value of mental fitness is that it addresses the root cause of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. It creates a stronger level of self-awareness and empathy – the top two factors that need development to improve emotional intelligence in my view. But it also automatically boosts your self-regulation, your relationship management and your social awareness.

“It helps us to build sustainable new habits that have a lasting impact on our successes and happiness.”

Anita’s successes include beating cancer and reframing her outlook on the possibility that it could return one day in the future. By staying positive, she feels healthier. 

As for her day-to-day happiness? Well, that comes in the form of a certain Scottish gentleman she met when he came to France on a rugby tour. 

“He was wearing a kilt and I just couldn’t resist,” she laughs. 

With 2023 drawing to a close, Mindbeat’s head of client and product development, Jessica Bellwood sources six techniques to improve mental fitness in 2024 from our network of coaches

For many, 2023 has been a challenging, uncertain year. Team leaders have had to manage employees worried about, amongst other things, the cost of living crisis and rising interest rates.

Looking after your talent has never been more important. But as anyone who has ever travelled by plane knows, in an emergency you must fit your oxygen mask before helping others to fit theirs. 

For improved performance, this means looking after your own mental and physical wellbeing. Only then can you support others and consistently respond to challenges, in the face of ever-increasing pressure and rapid change. 

Often, people only focus on the physical side – building in time for the gym or to go running. Mental fitness is equally important.

In practice, mental fitness means strengthening the part of the brain used in decision-making and social behaviour. Leaders should look for improvements in areas such as focus, time management, plus positive and critical-thinking skills.

In 2001, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz coined the term ‘corporate athlete’ in an article for the Harvard Business Review. They asserted that an ‘Ideal Performance State’ only occurs when physical, emotional and mental capacities work harmoniously together. 

As many of us vow to return to exercise with the dawning of a new year, we should consider the brain a muscle that also requires regular workouts. It will help you to build capacity for key leadership traits such as endurance, flexibility, self-control and focus.

So what can you do to get mentally fit for 2024?

We asked Mindbeat’s network of coaches for six techniques to improve mental fitness.

1. Recognise what drives you to behave in habitual reactive ways. 

In periods of stress, our heart rate, respiration rate and blood pressure increase. At the same time, our intelligence dulls. We are easily distracted and our thoughts are muddled, which can lead to irrational and impulsive choices. This shows up when leaders get defensive or react in the heat of the moment. To overcome this, train yourself to pause, identify your mood state and choose to act differently. 

2. Improve focus by not task-switching

Focus is simply, the amount of energy concentrated on a specific task or goal. When that concentration is interrupted, the energy dissipates. Research indicates that it may take over 20 minutes to regain focus on what we were previously working on. With each interruption, leaders have less time to complete the task, resulting in heightened feelings of time pressure and stress. 

So try to limit distractions, the ability for people to interrupt you, and avoid ‘task-switching’. 

It takes longer and uses up more energy to complete different tasks if you are constantly switching between different types of activities and mental states. 

3. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is the ability to bring non-judgmental awareness to your thoughts and emotions, exercise attention and focus to overcome distractions, and bring an open, curious mindset to every situation.

A leader who can identify their behaviour and broaden their lens will be a more effective leader who can partner with others and create deeper connections. 

4. Train your attention with meditation

Meditation, typically viewed as a spiritual practice, can serve as a highly effective means of training attention and promoting mental energy recovery. Practised regularly, it quietens the mind, brings your emotions back into check and rejuvenates your thought processes. 

Meditation in the workplace can be something as simple as sitting quietly and breathing deeply, counting each exhalation and starting over when you reach ten. 

5. Boost emotional wellbeing with visualisation 

Visualisation is proven to produce positive energy and heightened performances amongst athletes and can do the same for workplace capabilities.

Take the time to contemplate what you want from a meeting or team review. Then visualise yourself achieving the outcome. 

By exercising your mental muscles, you’re increasing cognitive strength, endurance and flexibility. As a result, you’ll decrease the likelihood of being distracted by negative thoughts under pressure and feel more relaxed and confident. 

6. Build-in recovery time

A good work-life balance is vital for improving mental fitness. Despite their article for Harvard Business Review being more than 20 years old, Loehr and Schwartz’s opinions on how to become a corporate athlete still ring true today – namely that the real enemy of high performance isn’t stress. Rather, the problem is the absence of disciplined, intermittent recovery. 

Chronic stress without recovery depletes energy reserves, leads to burnout and breakdown, and ultimately undermines performance.

So make time for loved ones and laughter, set parameters such as no working on the weekend or no work discussions after dinner, plan that dream holiday, and resolve to take on the new year a more balanced, energised leader. 

Speak to Mindbeat about how our network of expert coaches can help your teams improve mental fitness to increase performance and work-life balance. 


Adapting to the unstoppable march of AI

20 November 2023

How will leaders adapt to workplace cultures ruled by AI? Mindbeat’s Head of Client and Product Development, Jessica Bellwood offers five adaptation strategies for leaders to thrive in an AI-empowered world. 

During an interview at the closing session of the UK’s AI Safety Summit this month, Elon Musk described a world in which AI would be able to do everything and could cover every job.

Many professions have taken umbrage at Musk’s suggestion that all workers can one day be replaced by robots. However, the role that we as humans play, the way that we connect with technology, and the value that we bring will change so we need to be on the front foot.

As humankind continues to evolve AI’s exponentially increasing power, workplace productivity will naturally accelerate. Leaders therefore need to focus on how to adapt to this transformational change while developing their team’s softer, more human skills in readiness for a brave new fully-automated world. 

Here are Mindbeat’s five leadership adaptation strategies for an AI-empowered world

1. Think future first

What can be automated will be automated in an AI-empowered workplace. So leaders need to embrace new skills, expertise and judgement in areas such as data tracking, simulation, virtual modelling, programmatic and other fields where AI will reign supreme.

Technology will close the data-insight gap and improve decision-making capabilities, especially in time-critical, high-pressure situations. However, the resulting deluge of data will only turn up the volume and intensify the pressure to make the right choices. This will require you to retain your focus and surround yourself with trusted ‘human’ experts.

2. Assess current workplace skills and the shift needed

Hard skills can make you and your teams good at one job, but soft skills can help you all excel at many jobs.

Professional development in an AI-dominated world will require an enhanced ability to capitalise on the serendipity of human interaction that machines cannot emulate. So recruit people with strong social skills, encourage in-person interactions with clients and colleagues, and find ways to build your brand in the real ‘in-person’ world.

3. Don’t let your teams become predictable

Remember that Generative AI (ChatGBT and other AI-powered language models) responds with crowd-sourced wisdom and predictive answers. Its workplace adoption is, therefore, more likely to homogenize and standardise, rather than individualise your team’s output.

Written and visual content (marketing, advertising, digital etc) still needs to stand out and cut through in a noisy environment where everyone is in danger of sounding the same.

So, encourage creative individualism and nurture human values, tone of voice and original thought. When everyone else is turning to AI-driven solutions, creative, human uniqueness is what will set you apart from the competition. 

4. Equip your people for the future

Standard Chartered’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Tanuj Kapilashrami told the One Young World summit in October that it had analysed those ‘sunset’ jobs that will disappear over the next three to five years and those ‘sunrise’ jobs, which are likely to replace them.

The findings spelt alarming news for female professional development since more women currently work in ‘sunset’ roles and fewer women work in STEM, data science and technology.

AI therefore has the potential to undo all the hard work done to ensure positive gender balance across the workplace. To avoid this, focus on reskilling and forging new professional development pathways. Encourage a diverse workforce to develop new workplace skills as well as adapt those skills they may already possess from side hustles and outside interests.

As Kapilashrami says: “In an AI-powered world, skills will become the currency of work. As leaders and organisations, we stopped being the custodians of jobs a long time ago. We’re now the custodians of skills.”

5. Build a culture open to experimentation and personal growth

Leaders who regularly stray outside their comfort zones and refuse to shy away from bold and disruptive thinking are better prepared for adaptation or pivoting to new business models.

Encourage your teams to view challenges from new perspectives, be more agile and experiment with AI tools to assess potential and competitive advantages. This may require some unlearning as new ways of working come to the fore, so ensure staff are open to progressive ideas and not tied to ‘how we’ve always done things’.

Look for alternative ways to develop your personal growth as well. Our digital coaches encourage leaders to maintain outside interests, speak at conferences, mentor emerging talent and engage in other activities that will elevate their humanity in an increasingly automated world. 

Be prepared

Elon Musk’s futuristic view of where the workplace is heading was certainly short-sighted but it did serve as a timely reminder to leaders that as the influence of AI increases, human values and the importance of diverse skills are vital tools for professional growth. 


The beating heart of Mindbeat

10 November 2023

Did you know that in 2021, only 2% of all awarded capital in the UK went to female-founded businesses? Mindbeat’s CEO and Co-founder, Elisa Krantz was part of that 2%. She discusses her journey of global resilience and hard-fought entrepreneurialism with Mike Fletcher. 

Mindbeat’s Elisa Krantz (or Ellie as she’s happy to be called) undoubtedly has the entrepreneurial family gene. 

Her late Swedish grandmother was a pioneer for women succeeding in business, overcoming the male-dominated worlds of venture capitalism and golf to build what became one of the largest golf courses in the Nordics at the time. 

Her Maltese family meanwhile built a property and cross-industry franchise organisation in Malta. Much of her teenage years on the Mediterranean island were spent listening to stories around the dinner table of her family’s businesses, which introduced luxury car marques such as BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Audi to the people of Malta; plus beverages including Coca-Cola, Schweppes and several well-known beer brands. 

Perhaps though, what sets Ellie apart from other successful female entrepreneurs is how the blend of different nationalities in her life, (she moved from living on the Swiss-Italian border to Malta at age 10, has a Swedish father, Maltese mother and an Australian husband), informs her identity as a global citizen and ensures she never lets borders get in the way of new opportunities. 

For instance, the idea of Mindbeat first came to her as a 29-year-old, sent to India by YSC, a CEO advisory and leadership consultancy she’d worked for during spells in London and Hong Kong. 

“It was my first leadership and P&L role and although I had people who supported me in-house, there was no structured mentoring or outside guidance in place,” Ellie recalls. “I had to learn through intuition and by leaning into my relational values. I just thought, wouldn’t it be great if I had an external coach or mentor whom I could talk to about issues I can’t speak to my colleagues about, and who knows how to navigate the cultural nuances of starting a new business in India?”

Much of Ellie’s experience at the time was in leadership consultancy, working with CEOs and senior leadership teams to provide coaching, develop more effective workflows and advise on cultural change. 

“I noticed that, while the work we did at the top-end of organisations would be impactful and effective, when you took a pulse-check with people over time, four to five layers down into the company not much ever changed,” Ellie admits. “The ‘trickle-down’ approach simply doesn’t work in isolation. To truly make change happen and to make it stick, it needs to be driven from the inside out so that it permeates the wider workplace ecosystem. This is where coaching and technology, which are strongly aligned to the needs, cultural imperatives and language of an organisation have such a transformational role to play.”

The Mindbeat seed germinated for ten years until Ellie began working with her co-founders, Joanne Payne and (for the initial 18 months) Mike Stivala, who would help her by recruiting a network of brilliant coaches and by building the technology.

Their first client was a high-profile retailer who needed digital coaching and development for store managers and district managers. 

“The speed at which we built the initial platform and recruited our first 60 coaches was like jumping out of a plane and building the parachute on the way down,” she exclaims. “For the first time, managers had coaches working shoulder-to-shoulder with them to implement learnings into day-to-day business practices and to hold them accountable for driving cultural change.

Ellie and her start-up team had raised initial funding with anchor investor Go Ventures, which specialised in supporting and accelerating technology start-ups in Malta. 

Following her return to London, Ellie faced her toughest challenge yet – raising more start-up funding within the UK’s male-dominated VC markets to realise her Mindbeat dream of further expanding the business. 

She explains: “In 2021, only 2% of all awarded capital went to female-founded businesses so it was, and still is, incredibly tough for women launching a business and seeking VC funding here in the UK.

“I experienced a powerful dynamic at play in the UK’s fund-raising world – predominantly male networks that can be hard to break into, coupled with unconscious female gender traits when pitching, such as being overly cautious, risk-averse and not over-inflating your figures.  

“If you’re not aware of this, as a female entrepreneur you expose yourself to a form of gender bias. On the one hand, you run the risk of being seen as ‘not being ambitious enough’ while on the other hand, investors tend to halve your projections or valuation, partly as a negotiation tactic and partly because they assume the majority of people who pitch inflate the potential.”

“It’s a cultural dynamic that needs to change,” Ellie continues. “I’d like to see the UK Government do more to bridge the gender divide and find new ways to encourage female entrepreneurs into business without them having to be untrue to themselves or the value they place on their business idea.” 

Since then, Mindbeat’s digital coaching offer has had a hugely positive impact on the measurability of organisational change.

It has led more companies to understand the commonality between stronger leaders, thriving teams and better business. Supporting business transformation and supporting individuals earlier in their careers can now go hand-in-hand.

Looking back, Ellie says it was her Swedish grandmother’s achievement of turning the property she’d inherited into a renowned golf course that had always made her feel that anything was possible.

As for the future? Ellie smiles: “I always say, we’re not in the business of coaching, we’re in the business of change and growth. Our technology and content will keep evolving and with our fantastic team of people and the best coaches from across the world, we’ll grow a company that makes a real difference.”