Anthony Attan

Recent Posts

Developing Leadership Agility

Posted by Anthony Attan

Sep 30, 2015 10:29:00 PM

“Probably the most important competency for leaders to have in today’s rapidly changing world.”  What could be so powerful and important to leadership that would compel Marshall Goldsmith to make this statement?  Agility.

Leadership agility is more than just the latest buzzword in the leadership literature.  In fact, Forbes has described it as “the ingredient that will define the next generation of leaders”.   With the increasing complexity that leaders face in today’s business landscape, there is good reason why the experts are flying the agility flag. Today’s leaders must continue to rely on collaboration, connection and influence to gain business results. This requires nimbleness, as leaders make adjustments depending on whom they are interacting with and for what reason.  This adjustment, or perhaps more accurately described as alignment, is the essence of leadership agility.

Although many leaders are quick to agree that this is an important, if not necessary, competency to be successful, they often struggle in how to bring about this quality.  When I ask participants in my workshops what qualities leaders MUST have to be successful, they all tend to arrive at a similar list; passion, ambition, innovation, creativity, vision, commitment, accountability, empathy, communication etc.  I ask which of these characteristics leaders can do without, and participants always answer correctly; none of them! 

Great leaders ARE all of these things but they certainly can’t be all of these at once.  This is the heart of agility.  Great leaders know when to be what, and how to get there.  At this point, those that know FEBI well have likely noticed that what we are referring to is Whole Leadership, a concept Ginny Whitelaw developed to describe a leadership approach that utilizes all four of the fundamental energy patterns of personality.  These energy patterns, which are measured by a coaching instrument called FEBI, correspond with the four main categories of leadership success. Great leaders must be passionate, focused and courageous as described by the Driver pattern.  They must be honest, committed, and responsible as described by the Organizer pattern.  They also must communicate effectively, connect, and have empathy as described by the Collaborator pattern.  And finally, great leaders must be innovative, inspirational and have vision as described by the Visionary pattern.

A leader becomes an agile leader when they become skillful at the ability to recognize which pattern a particular situation calls for and effectively makes the shift to move into that pattern. In essence, this means shifting ones internal state to match what they want to create in the external world around them. This has been a primary focus of my own work developing leaders at all levels of the organization and why we developed the Targeting Your Leadership Energy course.  To become an agile leader, they must first gain self-awareness of how these patterns show-up with-in themselves.  I spoke much more on this topic in my Choice Magazine article on Coaching with Instruments: Taking the Guess Work out of Coaching.  Armed with this self-awareness, leaders are empowered to make a choice to shift from a preferred, and thus more utilized, pattern to one that is better aligned with the outcomes they are trying to bring about.  The more they practice this, especially with less preferred patterns, the more agile they become. 

In my own coaching I’ve found the FEBI to be the most useful framework to developing leadership agility.  In other words, agile leadership is whole leadership and the FEBI is a powerful tool to get you there.


Topics: FEBI, leadership development, whole leadership, Leadership Agility

Wellness Retreat with FEBI

Posted by Anthony Attan

Jan 5, 2015 8:40:00 PM

Antimo Cimino is a FEBI-Certified Coach who has combined his passion for movement and wellness with experiential travel.  We've invited Antimo to share with the FEBI community what this retreat is all about and how FEBI fits in:


Wellness Retreat with FEBI:

By: Antimo Cimino

Screen_Shot_2015-01-05_at_8.25.39_PM-1I believe that by applying FEBI to a wellness retreat as a core framework, and by allowing people to unplug from their daily routine and demanding jobs, balanced health, wellness, peace and inner joy can be achieved much more successfully.

Many dream of a fantastic vacation and getaway to a new place, discovering a new culture and enjoying contact with locals. So why not combining pleasure and relaxation with learning and self-awareness? Applying the FEBI as a framework to a wellness retreat, understanding the principles of FEBI, and receiving one-o-one coaching will help participants understand how to take full advantage of the four energy types to become fully engaged in every aspect of life (Personal & Professional).

Each pattern will be explored in more depth daily as we engage in movement and wellness activities that exemplify them. The embodiment of the patterns will allow you to not only construe it but to embrace it, sense it, and feel it. The natural environment that will surround you in Dominica, will be not only complimentary but conducive to focusing on your inner self.

From going on a hike, to a yoga class in the middle of the rain forest, to an organic raw food cooking class, FEBI principles and types will be in action, allowing you to express your preferred pattern or challenging you to use your least preferred or expressed pattern as well as supporting the individual goals you set for yourself.

Enjoy, have fun, relax and learn with FEBI in Dominica and come back rejuvenated, motivated and inspired to live a happy, healthy, engaged and well-balanced life!

Click HERE to learn more and register for the retreat, which will be held November 4th through November 12th, 2015.


Are you a coach interested in using FEBI in your own practice?  Click HERE to learn more about FEBI Certification.


Personality Most Important to Hiring Managers: Developing Today's Leader

Posted by Anthony Attan

Aug 13, 2014 10:12:17 PM

4patterngraphic-new3The most recent issue of Training and Development Magazine (T+D, July, 2104) noted new research findings that 78% of managers surveyed indicated that personality is the most important attribute in a job candidate.  This study is a part of a larger conversation that personality is increasingly more important than hard skills as one moves up in the organizational ranks. In addition to typically sought after characteristics such as conscientiousness and analytic skills, the study found that the most desirable traits were creativity, drive and flexibility. In other words, in today’s business landscape, in order to be successful as we assume leadership roles, we must ensure we take a whole leader approach.


A whole leader is someone who has developed the ability to be agile in ALL these areas, rather than only be effective in one or two. In my own work with leaders it became clear early on that although technical skills are certainly necessary at the beginning of ones carrier, and that they can do well with only one of these characteristics noted above, this will not take them to the next level of leadership.  As leaders, it is no longer ok to only be analytic, as we also need to be creative and have the courage to make tough decisions.  It is no longer ok to be only laser focused on one thing, as we must also see the big picture and navigate competing priorities.  Whole leaders know how to use their strengths AND know when something else is needed.  Recognizing that AND often means a paradox. Whole leaders know how to strike the right balance between leveraging strengths while not becoming a victim of them. 


In addition to my work with leaders, I teach talent development practitioners how to develop their clients to be whole leaders by use of an instrument called FEBI.  The FEBI is a personality assessment specifically designed for leadership development that measures precisely the personality characteristics the study above noted as what hiring managers are now looking for when evaluating if a candidate will be successful in their work.  Since we know from personality theory that we have a tendency to prefer one or two of these characteristics, or energy patterns of personality as FEBI terms them, talent development practitioners can help leaders:


  • Be self-aware to understand their own preferences and how it impacts how they interpret and interact with their environment.
  • Align their work with what they are natural great at, growing and embracing their strength.
  • Become agile in all patterns but developing their whole self so that they can summon a different energy pattern when their strength isn’t appropriate for a particular leadership task.


The way we bring about this self-awareness is through validated psychometrics such as FEBI.  The four patterns FEBI measures have been found to be essential for leadership success:


  • Driver – laser focused, drives for results, challenges barriers, stretches for goals, loves to win, gets to the point, fast and direct, and independent. 
  • Organizer - does the right thing, moves step by step, proper, likes order, plans and lists, neat and tidy, stable and reliable. 
  • Collaborator - engages people, has fun, rolls with the punches, sees both sides, works around obstacles, plays in the give and take, builds teams and networks. 
  • Visionary - goes with the flow, lets go, thinks in leaps, sees the big picture, seeks harmony, thinks strategically, future-oriented.


Our research has found that although we tend to favor one or two of these patterns, which we call Home Patterns, the most successful leaders are those that can easily access all four and are able to use the right pattern at the right time.  These whole leaders are able to thrive with their strengths, while not getting stuck in them.  They are able to recognize what the situation demands, what pattern is best aligned with that demand and effectively enter into that pattern to approach the situation with the right energy. Whole leaders know their strengths but have also developed a full tool box so that when their home pattern isn’t best, they can flip into what pattern is.

Want to learn more about how FEBI can be used in your own talent development efforts?  Join us on September 7th for the free webinar, Energize Yourself, Energize Your Business with FEBI 

 Register for Webinar


Topics: FEBI, FEBI Certified Coach, leadership, leadership development

Change Requires Management, Transition Requires Leadership

Posted by Anthony Attan

Apr 7, 2014 8:55:40 PM

cK-to-supermanChange - happening faster all the time - still calls out for management and all the planning, delegating, budgeting and deciding that implies. But transition requires leadership. Change is what happens to organizational process, transition is what happens to the people involved in that process.

There are a few good models to understand the transition side of change. William Bridges' model, for example, identifies three ‘zones’ people go through when transitioning.The first is called the “Ending Zone” which occurs when we must let go of the old way. Bridges describes how we almost need to go through stages of grieving to effectively navigate this zone. Once we accept that the old way is over, we enter the “Neutral Zone” when the old way is gone, but the new way has not yet begun. This zone can be particularly disorienting as it is full of ambiguity and lack of clarity. The final zone in the Bridges' model is the “New Beginning Zone” in which we fully embrace the change and are engaged in the new way. He notes that different people move at different rates through these zones. These individual differences are part of our personality, and self awareness can make the difference between a new beginning or getting stuck in the neutral zone.The FEBI is a powerful framework to create this awareness. Each of the four FEBI patterns has a characteristic way of moving through the Neutral Zone toward New Beginnings:

  • Driver: The Driver grows impatient in the Neutral Zone and does not do well with ambiguity. Drivers need to remind themselves that change is a process and takes time. They will benefit from stepping back, embracing the change, and envisioning the benefits once the change is fully realized.
  • Organizer: The Organizer can be a worrier about change, relying as it does on on consistency and predictability. Organizers will do best to anticipate different scenarios so they feel prepared for anything. Since predictability is often lacking during a change process, Organizers will benefit from activities that loosen, stretch, expand and renew them during this time.
  • Collaborator: The Collaborator is nimble enough to navigate process changes, but may get caught up in the drama or concern for people during this time. Collaborators may gossip and potential elicit unwarranted fears among colleagues. Collaborators do well to keep those initial conversations between their supervisors and themselves. They can serve an important role getting people on board with the change once they're engaged themselves.
  • Visionary: The Visionary is perhaps the most at ease with transition among the patterns. Visionaries can run into trouble, however, when new processes must be followed in order for the change to be successful. Visionaries can navigate the neutral zone by continuing to keep the bigger picture in mind. They should remind themselves of the importance of this change and what is possible once the change has been fully realized.

Bridges' model is a great framework for those in the organization who are handed a change and must comply with it. However what if you are the leader in charge of this change? We can turn to change expert, John Kotter and see how, in leading others through change, the FEBI patterns provide useful agility through the stages of the process. Our own research has found that that leaders who can effectively align their inner state with the needs of the situation act in the most effective way. Below you can see how the energy patterns of FEBI map to the steps in Kotter’s model:


Here we see that mapping these steps to the patterns gives clarity as to which pattern to use, when. It's easiest to move into these energy patterns at the right time once you understand their signature in you. Perhaps you have some sense already as to what your favorite pattern is and which patterns are less preferred. To remove the guess work, you can take the FEBI, a validated assessment that measures these patterns. Just as GoogleMaps or GPS are useless in giving directions without first knowing where you are, the FEBI provides this initial understanding of our own starting point, and how we can move into any pattern as we need it.

Are you a coach or development practitioner and want to use FEBI to help your clients manage change and lead transition? Become FEBI-Certified. The next FEBI Certification begins May 4th. Seats are limited so register today.Click HERE to learn more. You can also download a whitepaper on coaching with the energy patterns using the link below.

Click me


Topics: FEBI, FEBI Certified Coach, change management, transition

Organizer and Visionary: What is possible when these seemingly opposing forces come together?

Posted by Anthony Attan

Jan 12, 2014 3:04:40 PM

One needs control, the other thrives in chaos. One is meticulously calculating, the other willing to change as fast as the wind shifts. These two patterns truly are paradoxical forces but what becomes possible when we learn to manage this paradox? When we learn to use both of the powerful energy patterns of FEBI?

First, a bit of background. What we are describing here are two of the four energy patterns of personality measured by the FEBI personality assessment. Although all patterns serve an important purpose in just about any situation, most of us have a strong preference for one of these four, which we call our home pattern. As a coach that works with leaders around these patterns, I also often see that two patterns can merge together to form a personality style for that individual. More times than not, we see pairings of Driver with Organizer or pairing of Collaborator with Visionary. These pairings do make intuitive sense given the nature of the patterns, Driver/Organizer being patterns of what is rewarded in many companies such as meeting goals, following through on commitments and pushing for greater success. Collaborator/Visionary are patterns of creativity and art such as seen in these street art pictures. These, however, are far from the only styles that can exist and some pretty interesting things happen when some of the more opposing patterns pair together. Extraversion, for example, appears to be a combination of Driver and Collaborator. The Driver side of extraversion is the side the steps up in leadership situations, taking charge when the task calls for it. The Collaborator side of extraversion, on the other hand, is all about being the life of the party and connecting with people. Two very different expressions of the widely known extraversion trait but when combined creates a charismatic, engaging leader that gets things done!

Another interesting pairing is the Organizer and Visionary energy patterns. The Organizer energy pattern is defined by its systematic approach to problem solving, its attention to details and its overall demeanor of conscientiousness. High Organizers tend to thrive in situations that have, well, order! They like to know what is coming, they create plans and they stick with them. An Organizer has a place for everything and everything is in its place. This is very different from the Visionary energy pattern which instead thrives in chaos. This pattern has an ability to sense the flow of shifting winds and the agility to move with it. Visionary is about innovation, freedom and big picture thinking, a far cry from the structure of the Organizer.

From that description it sure seems like these two forces are destined to compete but what happens when they come together? Well, this…

snow-art8     snow-art10

What you are looking at is snow art by Simon Beck. These are massive pictures created by pressing snow that take Simon endless hours and require him to walks miles for every piece. To create these truly sensational works of art, two energy patterns are required. First, you need a vision. Remember the scale of these art pieces, a big canvas indeed. Simon has to envision what he wants to create with the space he has and make it work to scale. This of course requires Simon to summon the creative and big picture energy of the Visionary. Vision will only give you an idea, however, so another energy pattern is needed to ensure the vision is realized. Execution requires a very meticulous process of ensuring every step is in the exact right spot to create that bigger picture. As these pictures below show, the Organizer can be of great help when creating these massive art pieces one step at a time.

snow-art3   snow-art

We can find a rhythm of using both these patterns, you have the vision to create great things and the discipline to execute that vision. This can certainly be tricky since they really are paradoxical forces, however, as Ginny Whitelaw describes in The Zen Leader that being able to manage this paradox is imperative to leadership success:

“Paradox takes us into the realm of not knowing, of not solving a problem once and for all, but rather managing an ongoing dynamic two (or more) “right” answers, neither of which is sufficient by itself. To embrace and work with paradox, we have to suspend our mind’s pull to nail down an answer. We have to accept the more complex dynamism of And, while relinquishing our grasp on the simple stasis of Or.”

Simon found a way to manage the paradox and rather than just envisioning the snow art or methodically walking in the snow he created this art by effectively managing the And. To learn more about how to do this, I recommend reading the chapter of The Zen Leader “From Or to And” dedicated to this topic. Want to learn what your energy pattern style is? Take the FEBI report for yourself.



Topics: zen leader, paradox, FEBI, Visionary, Organizer

Tales of Bad Bosses and why they don't need to be

Posted by Anthony Attan

Dec 17, 2013 12:43:00 PM

Question: What is the #1 reason people quit their job? /br Answer: Their boss


4patterngraphic-new3This is probably not surprising to you, as almost all of us have encountered the dreaded bad boss. The micro-managing boss. The only-care-about-the-bottom-line boss. The disorganized-and-has-no-clue boss. Or the can’t-make-tough-decisions-and-just-wants-to-be-friends boss. Sound familiar? Even this post was inspired by the experience of a friend who recently asked her boss for bereavement days off to attend an out of state funeral of a close relative.  The bosses response, “Can’t you just Skype in?” SKYPE IN!!! I just about fell out of my chair when I heard that one. And I’m sure you have your own horror stories of bosses who seem to want to sabotage the productivity and well-being of their employees.

So why is it that some bosses are great and others are so bad? One big reason is an empathy deficit that seems to get worse the higher up you go in an organization. In Robb Smith’s TED talk he notes how CEOs have the lowest emotional intelligence in the entire workforce. Empathy, what Dianne Stober calls, “one of the most basic capacities required for understanding one another,” is often lacking in leaders. Oh yeah, and it matters to business success! Forbes notes that “the reality is that for business leaders to experience success, they need to not just see or hear the activity around them, but also relate to the people they serve.” We already know how important engagement is, and you can imagine how much engagement falls off around a lack of empathy.  Just think of the shift in engagement when being told to Skype in to a funeral!

With empathy so important, how does one develop this quality that seems elusive to so many leaders? In Ginny Whitelaw’s latest book, The Zen Leader, she describes how to boast empathy in her chapter on the flip From Controlling to Connecting. She describes how the energy patterns of FEBI can be a power tool to help summon real empathy that fully allows you to ‘become the other person.’

“In a pattern sense, we can make this flip by starting in a quiet, listening, Organizer place, and then relax completely. We invite a kind of permeability into the boundary of our self-in-our-skin and sense another’s rhythm. We can listen for their breathing, their pulse, sense their entire being all at once, and we enter Collaborator’s empathetic engagement. If the talkative Collaborator is Home for you, your challenge might be to access the quiet listening of the Organizer as a starting place. If you normally live at the Driver’s speed, you may find it hard to slow down enough to sense depth, rather than racing over the surface. If you normally live with the Visionary’s expansiveness, you may need enough centeredness to connect without losing yourself. Whatever your challenge, you now know how to access the energy pattern that can support you in building a practice of connecting with empathy.”

There are two important points that Dr. Whitelaw makes here. First, we see that the energy patterns can be a great supporter of our effort to summon empathy. If we need help seeing someone else’s vision, we can enter the Visionary energy pattern, which feels comfortable suspending prior beliefs and is open to new possibilities. If we need to better understand someone’s passion and enthusiasm we can enter Driver and use its intensity to better feel into their sharply-focused excitement. As we’ve seen with applications such as virtual leadership and creating a climate of engagement, each pattern has value when it comes to engaging in empathy.

The second point here is that it isn’t enough to just know about the patterns in general, rather we must understand how these patterns show up within ourselves. Our ‘personality’ is our individualized preferences for each of these patterns. Often times, one or two of these patterns are much more preferred, and thus utilized, over the others. When one of these patterns is used at the exclusion of the others, this can result in a gaping hole in leadership abilities.  For example, that micro-managing boss may be over using his or her Organizer pattern while not using enough of the Visionary's willingness to let things play out.  The bottom-line-above-all-else boss may be over using his or her Driver pattern, while not using enough of the Collaborator's concern for the impact on other people.

Before we are able to truly understand where someone else is coming from, we must first have a deep understanding of our own lens, which we use to interpret the world around us. This self-awareness provides us with an opportunity to see any distortions this lens creates.  With a deeper understanding of ourselves, we can begin to understand others from a much more authentic place. This skill is how we close the empathy gap, which is simply imperative for leadership success. In the words of Dr. Whitelaw, “Become the other, and it opens up a world of understanding, in which communication becomes naturally influential, and influence becomes just another authentic dialogue.”


To learn more about the energy patterns within you, take the mini-FEBI for yourself.

Take Mini-FEBI for free




Topics: zen leader, the zen leader, FEBI, energy patterns, Ginny Whitelaw, empathy

A Lesson in Teamwork from...Metallica!?!

Posted by Anthony Attan

Oct 4, 2013 9:48:49 AM


When you think of harmonious teamwork, perhaps Metallica is not the first thing that comes to mind. Their documentary, “Some Kind of Monster”, was certainly full of explosive arguments between band members; however, I found myself gaining insight about teamwork from this unusual source.

One of my favorite things about the Internet these days is the seemingly endless supply of Podcasts. I love tuning in and feeling like a fly on the wall. What is great about this uninterrupted and conversational format is that guests can really dig into how they got to where they are: the struggles, the success, and the lessons learned. What continues to strike me is that so many of those whom I respect the most, who have seen much success in their own careers, have had to overcome great struggles. Often times these are tales of people on the brink of quitting altogether, and we hear about the sheer determination to push through, against all odds, and eventually succeed. These are affirming stories to hear, as many of us can relate to those times of seemingly impossible struggle (check out my last post on Motivation for ways to kick it into gear).

This afternoon, I was listening to one of my favorite Podcasts, The Nerdist hosted by Chris Hardwick. His guests were Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield of the band Metallica. Having been a Metallica fan my entire life, I was pretty excited to hear what these two had to say. After a few tales of life in the biggest metal band of all time, the host asked them how they managed to stay together as a band for so long. If you're not familiar with Metallica, they have gone through some changes in personnel, but the main three members have been together since 1983. Their newest member joined the band in 2003. Here is what lead singer, James Hetfield, had to say about the band:

“It’s like any relationship, it’s as simple as that. Like being married, it’s not easy, it’s hard. You can easily start bickering and point out all the negative aspects of somebody and how it bugs you…bands do that, but there is an imbalance [when there are only] egomaniacs with an insecurity complex.”

James goes on to say, “If you don’t focus on the good stuff and care for that, all the negativity comes in. Kirk is really good…about the positiveness of it all. I can find the negative in pretty much anything and try to fix it or make it better or something, you know, the perfectionist in me. Lars is the brain, I mean he can analyze and he can figure anything out. And Robert is the loose cool guy but he’s the warrior, he the ‘LET’S #$@%-ING DO IT, STEP UP’. Each one of us has an important role in this band and we can’t forget that. All of us need to realize that and together we’re one MEGA-PERSON!”

What really stood out for me in this comment is how self and other-aware they are, and how important that is. James and his bandmates have made this a priority, putting much energy toward this effort. We got to see a glimpse of this during the therapy sessions shown in the documentary I mentioned above, as bandmembers saw how their own personality and issues of ego would get in the way of what was best for the band and for the music, and how understanding where others are coming from can be so important for the cohesiveness of a team. This is a key learning to the development of any team and order matters. The starting point is ourselves, so we must start with a deeper understanding of our own filters, drivers, fears and needs. This can be done several ways, taking a personality assessment such as FEBI, for example, can be a powerful tool to gain this self-awareness.

With a better understanding of ourselves, we can then begin to understand the personalities of others. I've seen the power of this in my own research, for example, in my dissertation study exploring the impact of personality-based coaching on virtual team effectiveness. Even a single session of FEBI coaching allowed individuals to gain insights about their own filters and begin to recognize the filters of their fellow teammates, resulting in greater team effectiveness. Recognizing how personality shows up in us and in others gives us an opportunity to change our behavior when we see that we are making false assumptions, derailing others, or engaging in bad habits.

The last part of James' quote gets to the even greater reward of team synergy made possible through understanding and appreciating the team as a whole. As James said, what makes them work well is that they know and respect that each member has a unique and important role to play that contributes to the team, or band, as a whole. And that the untitledappreciation of each other is the glue that really holds it all together.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about the balance that you have in the band with the cards you’ve been dealt” Kirk added in discussing how important recognizing and managing differing personalities is to the success of the band. For James, whose life has certainly had its hardships, including struggling with addiction, that bond with his fellow bandmates went far beyond music, “These guys help me stay balanced.”

Perhaps you aren’t looking to be the next band with a hit album, but chances are you work on a team in some part of your life and there is a great lesson to be learned from this metal icon. So I challenge you to find the value within all of your teammates, ask yourself how you can support their efforts and gain a deeper understanding of yourself and how your own personality impacts how you behave on the team. With a good deal of understanding and appreciation, your team may be able to cohere into a highly effective team, or in the words of James Hetfield, one MEGA-PERSON!

Take Mini-FEBI for free


Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, energy patterns, team development, teamwork, teams

Motivating the Whole You

Posted by Anthony Attan

Sep 19, 2013 9:17:08 AM

MotivatedDogMotivation can be an elusive thing, especially when we need it the most. Too many factors can attack our motivation, the biggest two being distractions and emotions. In today’s world of ‘shiny things’, we have constant distractions from our smartphone alerts to that new app we just downloaded, or the ever-addicting world of social media. For a quick way to get motivated in spite of all the noise around us, check out my earlier post on how the Driver energy can help overcome distractions.

The emotional factor that zaps motivation runs much deeper and thus requires a deeper approach to overcome. Our emotions play a major role in our day-to-day, or sometimes minute-to-minute, motivation. This can have huge implications on how engaged we are in our work, in our ability to problem solve, to think creatively, to collaborate, or to just get stuff done.

The irony I must share is that I intended myself to write this post days ago. I had the title and concept ready to go and then received bad news which greatly impacted my emotional state and zapped my motivation. I even said to my wife yesterday, “I have no motivation to write this blog post about motivation.” Oh irony, how I loathe you! “Well, you have a great opportunity to try your motivation activity and see how it works.” She promptly responded, and perhaps the only reason you are reading this post at all is a result of me taking her advice.

The problem with most attempts to get motivated when dealing with this emotional factor is that they are partial approaches, motivating perhaps only one or two aspects of ourselves. Nothing is more de-motivating than a failed attempt at getting motivated! Imagine instead an approach that motivated our whole selves.  Research on personality has shown that there are four fundamental needs/drives that have to be met for us to be fully motivated. We saw how these needs showed up in creating a climate of engagement in a previous post. These needs directly correspond with the four energy patterns as measured by the FEBI, so we can use this frame to help us get fully motivated.

Here is how…

Real motivation starts with connecting more deeply with the thing you are getting motivated to do. What larger picture is this activity a part of, what is the purpose of your work? If there is no purpose, then perhaps your lack of motivation is telling you a deeper truth. The energy pattern that can support this first step is the Visionary, so enter this pattern first to start with motivation as big as the Visionary energy. Once you are connected to purpose, it’s time to hone in on what to do so bring up your inner Driver to gain clarity and focus about what needs to get done. Knowing what to do is good for short term motivation, but if you want lasting motivation you will want to make sure to track your progress. The Organizer pattern can help with this by setting benchmarks, tracking progress, and recognizing success. Now you’re ready, and hopefully motivated, to get to work. Here is where the last piece of the puzzle comes into play. When performing, find ways to bring in the Collaborator energy pattern. The rhythm, engagement, sociability and sheer joy of this pattern can make whatever you're doing feel less like work and more like play.


Having just used this formula, I can tell you that taking the extra effort to become wholly motivated can make a huge difference. So next time you are struggling to get motivated, don’t settle for a half measure, motivate your whole self.

Topics: energy patterns, Motivation

Wrestling with the Demons of Woo

Posted by Anthony Attan

Aug 28, 2013 1:30:15 PM

I wanted to share an article that FEBI-Certified Coach Amanda Blake recently wrote.  I loved this article so much I wanted to share it with our entire FEBI community!  Amanda is a very talented coach and an expert in the science of somatics.  If you're interested in this topic I strongly recommend you join the the call she is hosting September 10th on The Science of Personal Change.  I know I'll be on the call.  And for those of you new to FEBI, you can now take the full FEBI with online video debrief.  Enjoy Amanda's article on how to deal with the demons of woo...


Wrestling with the Demons of Woo by Amanda Blakeamanda_blake_picture-resized-600

This week, I had a meeting with a prospective client who was curious about doing some coaching with me, but also a bit hesitant. "I have to be honest, I'm just really not that comfortable with all that new-agey stuff," she said skeptically. All the way across the country on the other end of the phone line, I could almost hear her eyebrows go screeching up towards her hairline.

I totally get it. I'm a big lover of the far-out and the unexplained mysteries of life. But I also have a huge, cringing allergy to the ungrounded and hyperbolic claims that are so frequently made in the realm of personal growth.

As we would have said back in the 80's, gag me with a spoon.

But here's what I loved about our conversation. When I told her that learning to experience her body differently could help her make a good decision about her next move in her career, she asked "do you have research that supports that?" And, in fact, I did.

I told her about the somatic marker hypothesis, and explained that the parts of our brain that are involved in decision making also happen to be the same parts of our brain that are involved in parsing sensation. In other words, how we make decisions is heavily impacted by our ability to feel our own preferences. People who have lesions in thSomaticMarkerHypothesise relevant parts of the brain (the VMPFC, ACC, and OFC, for you neuroscience nerds out there) find themselves unable to make good decisions, and sometimes, any decisions at all.

I can't tell you what a delight and a relief it was for me to be able to answer her question and point her to specific resources where she could verify it for herself. Even just a few short years ago, a question like hers would leave me flustered as I struggled to explain why embodied learning is so powerfully transformative. I remember leaving many such conversations with a frustrating sense of inadequacy and a deflated sense of confidence.

Hopefully it's not that way for you! I tend to make things harder than they need to be. :-) But there are lots of reasons why you, too, might want to be able to offer a rigorous, grounded, and credible response to this kind of genuine desire to understand. If so, then here are a few things you can do.

Start Here: Choose some result that you consistently produce for people in your work. It may be reduced stress, or an ability to negotiate more effectively, or… you name it. For instance in the example I've been talking about, it's helping someone find a meaningful direction for their life and work.

Read Up: Do some research. Who are the scientists, authors, and teachers who are working in the realm you've chosen? A google scholar search always turns up interesting results.

Write The Story: Look for how the research conclusions map to the work you do. Do you see any connections between what's coming out of the lab and the results you produce? It can be a bit of effort to make those connections, but it's worth it for moments like the one I had this week.

Test It Out: Try explaining the connections you see to trusted friends and colleagues. When you've got the kinks worked out, start trying it out on clients.

If you want a bit of a shortcut, you can also join my free call on September 10th, The Science of Personal Change. We're going to be talking about the scientific basis for embodied learning and I can't wait to share it with you.

I don't know if this particular client will decide to join me or not. But whether she does or she doesn't, I was left with the impression that I introduced her to some new ways of seeing herself and her opportunities that she didn't have before. Even if we never speak again, that's an impact I can feel good about.


Topics: decision making, FEBI, FEBI Certified Coach, embodied learning, coaching

How to create a climate of engagement

Posted by Anthony Attan

Jul 24, 2013 4:08:00 PM

When they did their research around the Power of Full Engagement, Loehr and Schwartz found that most people reported they are partly or largely disengaged at work. Gallup estimates a cost to US businesses in excess of $300 billion due to employee disengagement. Companies often rely on employee engagement surveys to guide their development efforts, but those efforts often miss important areas or don’t go far enough.

With so much at stake, how can you ensure that you are creating a climate of engagement for your employees?  We gain some insight from Daniel Pink’s whiteboard animation video on Drive, where we learn that the 3 factors that lead to higher performance and personal satisfaction are autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  In other words, people want to have some control over their job, be great at the work they do, and know that their work matters.  The Harvard Business Review further synthesized the research and discovered that in order to create a climate of engagement, 4 basic needs must be met:

  • The need to acquire
  • The need to bond
  • The need to comprehend
  • The need to defend

We also tackled this topic in the chapter E is for Engagement, in The ABCs of Energy-Based Leadership.  As illustrated in this book, the energy patterns are a great frame for synthesizingABCs of Energy-Based Leadership all of this research, and building a climate of engagement.  If you read my recent post on video game design, this list may look familiar, as these same factors of human personality are also key to designing products that appeal to the human psyche. Likewise for designing climate, the energy patterns of FEBI can help you ensure that your climate is meeting needs that are basic to human personality.  Does your climate meet the Driver’s need to acquire, with enough challenging goals to push people forward?  Does your climate meet the Organizer’s need to defend as it seeks safety, stability and consistency within its environment?  (Taken together, the Driver/Organizer patterns also relate to Pink’s needs for autonomy and mastery) Does your climate meet the Collaborator’s need to bond, connecting with others and building relationships?  Does your climate meet the Visionary’s need to comprehend, connecting with the purpose and seeking understanding?  In order to create a climate of engagement, ALL these needs must be met.  Nohria et al. found in their research that a low showing in any one of these 4 dimensions resulted in a significant decline in engagement. 

To help you discover if your climate is currently meeting the needs required for engagement, download the engagement worksheet.  You can also learn about other applications of the energy patterns with The ABCs of Energy-Based Leadership.


Want to learn more about the energy patterns of FEBI?  Join us on August 1st @ 10am Eastern US time for the free webinar Energize Yourself, Energize Your Business with FEBI.


Topics: FEBI, energy patterns, engagement, climate

Welcome to the FEBI Learning Lounge

The official FEBI blog

The FEBI Learning Lounge is the official blog of FEBI Assessment.  In this blog we discuss all things related to the energy patterns of FEBI, digging more into each of the patterns of personality and discussing various applications that can benefit from a pattern perspective.

Also visit the Zen Leader Blog



Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts