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Six Steps to Building Ambition for Your Organisation

Mark Carney’s eloquent speech to future leaders at Regent’s University London on 19 February 2018 held important messages for all leaders in a disruptive world.

The four “essential and universal” Leadership attributes he identifies are:

  • Ambition

  • Purpose

  • Clarity

  • Humility

Over the next four weeks Companies in Motion will publish notes to each, explaining the underlying bio-chemistry of each attribute and how to develop each area – using Physical Intelligence to get in the driving seat of their mental, emotional and physical state. With this knowledge, leaders can more skillfully build and demonstrate these four essential traits even whilst at the sharp end of leading their organisations. These messages aren’t just for leaders. All members of the organisation can apply them, supporting leaders as they work strengthen the organisation.

Attribute 1- Six Steps to Ambition

Most of us have dreams and goals for our future. In order to achieve them, we need ambition. Ambition for any organisation, whether well established or brand new, is a physical, mental and emotional state of ‘expansion.’ At an organisation-wide level, ambition refers to a desire to achieve organisational goals and live your purpose or mission, generally with the recognition that doing so will require dedication and hard work. For the organisation to be successful in that ambition, you, as individuals within the organisation, need to believe in your organisation’s unique ability in its area of specialty and you need to spread that message broadly internally or externally (depending upon your role), whilst generating and maintaining momentum as you move forward, like a huge ship moving through water.

The bio-chemistry of achieving this state of expansion requires a particular cocktail of chemicals in the brain and the body – two of the most critical chemicals are testosterone and serotonin.

Testosterone for both men and women is critical for risk-tolerance and confidence. When we have healthy testosterone levels we remain robust in the face of setbacks; we have sustained energy to spread the word, communicating with power and emphasis; and we set and stay the course with purpose and drive. Here are three key tips to generate the right level of testosterone in your organization:

  • Posture: Expansive, well-grounded posture creates and communicates confidence. Make a point to sit and stand tall, with shoulders open and feet rooted. Ambitious thoughts come with expansive posture.

  • Perspective: Use your eyes and senses to accurately view the territory and check your direction – make a point of repeatedly stepping back from detail, taking a breath, opening your eyes, and monitoring your senses for risks. Then, adjust your direction as needed.

  • Realistic Goals: Set challenges that can be won. Testosterone boosts when an organisation achieves.

Serotonin enables belief, optimism, balance and well-being and makes us more resilient to stress. Here are three tips to ensure your organisation has enough serotonin:

  • Positivity and Appreciation: A positive environment where people feel appreciated can have a remarkable effect on ambition. In all communication, use positive language about learning, growing and developing. Publicly celebrate successes and share your appreciation of achievements. Prime everyone around you to believe in themselves and their potential, as well as the organisation’s.

  • Rest: Sleep (between 7-9 hours) has a significant influence on serotonin levels, as well as our resilience and endurance. Create a culture that allows for and encourages adequate sleep.

  • Risk Mitigation: Anticipate and prepare for possible threats – thinking through various potential risks and challenges and putting contingency plans in place. That level of thoughtful preparation boosts serotonin (feelings of well-being) and enables you and your organisation to take your knocks and still bounce back.

We’ll be back next week with insight into Purpose. In the meantime, for more information on the role of Physical Intelligence in effective leadership, please contact us through

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