The thoughts of Professor Damian Hughes - award winning author, performance psychologist and master associate at Archipelo - Archipelo
February 18th 2019 | Welcome, growing your people, building your business

The thoughts of Professor Damian Hughes
– award winning author, performance psychologist and master associate at Archipelo

The thoughts of Professor Damian Hughes
– award winning author, performance psychologist and master associate at Archipelo

Welcome to 2017, the Mad Men method


When we start a new year, we often reflect on ways which we can use to improve our lives. Wouldn’t it be great, however, if we could do this kind of reflection more regularly than just once a year?

I call this approach: the Mad Men Method.

Let me explain, the television programme Mad Men, follows the characters of the New York advertising industry in the 1960s. It offers the opportunity to look back to the early sixties and see societal habits that seem, in retrospect, comically short-sighted — habits like sexism, the way they ate, smoked, drank, drove (usually at the same time).

This got me thinking: what we are doing today that our grandkids will see as ridiculous 50 years from now?

Here’s my best answer: Brainology.

I think our grandkids will look back and say, Back in 2017, when leaders wanted their people to learn how to change, they didn’t bother teaching them the most important part — how the learning machine actually works. What were those people thinking?

This is the equivalent of trying to train athletes without informing them that muscles exist or like teaching nutrition without mentioning vegetables or vitamins. We rush to get the latest Smartphone but fail to understand how own internal circuitry is built to operate.

Here’s a suggestion: start to teach yourself brain education. Why not devote a chunk of time, especially before making a change, to understanding how the brain grows when it learns.

Even small exposures can have a big impact. Stanford’s Carol Dweck did an experiment where she divided 700 low-achieving children into two groups. Both were given an eight-week workshop on study skills, and one group received a 50-minute session that described how the brain grows when it’s challenged. (The other group’s session learned about generic science.) In a few months, the group that had learned about the brain had improved their grades and study habits to the point that teachers, without knowing, could accurately identify which student had been in which group.

It’s not rocket science. In fact, it’s easy, because it pays massive dividends. Plus, it gives our grandkids one less thing to laugh at us about.


Professor Damian Hughes

Damian Hughes is a best-selling author on the Psychology of Change, he has published 11 books – including Liquid Thinking, Liquid Leadership & most recently The Five STEPS to a Winning Mindset. He has a successful track record delivering programmes across FTSE organisations & start-ups across multiple sectors. Additionally he has played a key role in the success of sporting institutions such as GB Basketball, Warrington Wolves, West Bromwich Albion & Manchester Utd. His key focus is enabling and inspiring people in the face of the demands of change through delivering keynote speeches & bespoke team workshops or organisational development programmes.

For more information on how your organisation can benefit from Damian’s expertise, please contact us.


* Image by Raphael Koh