S01Ep5 – Understanding the Complex System that is ‘the boardroom’

Paul Smith

Episode 5 has been one of the most fun and we could have easily (and did) talk for hours. Anna Byrne specialises in solving complex people problems and shaping mindset decisions and behaviours. She is a Partner at NeuroPower Group and is a strategic advisor to boards and CEOs. Anna is another early starter having began her board career at the age of 17 when she joined the United Nations Youth Association.

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Anna has always been fascinated by how humans operate, and she brings a combination of neuroscience and behavioural economics to understand the deeper experiences that shape how we see the world.

Anna published a book called ‘Behavioural Economics for Business’ in 2016, and is currently working on another book about the future of the boardroom from societal, technological and more human angles. She is co-authoring the book with our very own Paul Smith. To be launched in 2018 so watch this space.

In the conversation, we discuss:

  • The characteristics of ‘complex systems’
  • Behavioural economics and Cognitive biases
  • Experimenting within a board career
  • The different filters through which we all see the world
  • How board members can get to know each other better
  • Ways to increase your ability to perform
  • And much more!

Actions you can take:

  1. Focus on the experiences (either planned and structured or completely spontaneous) and look for something to take away. “It’s through experience that you gain perspective and grow”. What can you take to shape your view of the world? Your understanding of how the world works? The process of being human? How to grow as a result?
  2. Be mindful of that fact that the world is a ‘complex system’ – when you introduce an input into a system, the entire system changes and reshapes because of it. Life is not a linear plan – in any moment, an input one way or the other will fundamentally change the system and has ripple effects that you can’t predict the outcome. You never know how a conversation you have or someone you’re introduced to could be the catalyst for a new inflection point that sends you in a different direction.
  3. Take an interest in what makes other people tick, especially your fellow board directors and the management team. Always dig a little deeper – differences in opinion may simpler be different ways of communicating and expressing, but sitting underneath is a deeper commonality – everybody has a reason.

Find Anna:
NeuroPower Group
‘Behavioural Economics for Business’ book