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James Garrett    

Neuroscience Expert & CEO of Brain by Design

James Garrett is a renowned international speaker, brain science curator, and neuroscience entrepreneur.

He's spoken on stages ranging from Harvard to TEDx and his work has been featured by The New York Times, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review. He helps companies become more productive and innovative, bringing the latest neuroscience into their culture, workflows, team dynamics, and well-being initiatives. Past clients include Hilton Hotels, Ernst & Young, Intermountain Healthcare, YoungLiving, Deseret Book, Zonos, Vested Summit, and Powerful-U.

Garrett is a recipient of the prestigious Draper Richards Kaplan Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship and built one of the only brain-based positive psychology curricula in the Middle East and trained thousands of Arab youth in partnership with Queen Rania of Jordan.

He spent years doing research at Columbia, Tufts, and the Yale Emotional Intelligence Center and his research has been published in top scientific journals. A rare combination of speaker, scientist, and entrepreneur, James brings brain science to life through a fun, engaging style that always leaves the audience wanting more.

Speech Topics

The Power of Positive Emotions: Why Feeling Good Helps Us Do Good Work

When it comes to the serious work of getting stuff done, positive emotions pack a surprising punch. Recent brain science has shown that if we focus on boosting our daily intake of positive emotions, we'll build the inner resources to not only be more resilient in the face of stress, but we'll also deepen the creative and productive capacity of our teams. Positive emotions also recharge us and help us avoid burnout and overwhelm.

Creating a strategy to infuse more positive emotion into the workday isn't just good for our health, it's good for the health of the business. Come learn what you can do to more intentionally use positive emotions to refuel your tanks, build more resilient teams, and kickstart your creativity.

Psychological Safety: The Secret Sauce of Thriving Teams

The biggest impediment to a thriving team is fear: fear of giving feedback, fear of sharing half-baked ideas, fear of voicing concerns about a marketing plan, fear of openly sharing mistakes, and fear of asking good but difficult questions. Google, in a multi-year multi-million dollar study, discovered that of the many factors that make up a thriving team there was one that stood out above all others: psychological safety. If teams at Google had it, they thrived. If they didn’t they floundered. Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson defines psychological safety as an environment where people feel able and willing to speak up. It’s the core skill set behind constructive candor and a high-performance culture. And the good news is that it’s trainable:

In this training, you'll learn:

  • Why Wells Fargo’s “Going for Gr8” campaign failed and Pixar’s “Brain Trusts” thrived
  • Why defensiveness is a sure sign of an absence of psychological safety
  • How to inspire your people to become “intrapreneurs” – innovators from the inside
  • Why psychological safety is not nicey-nice culture or sugar coating
  • How psychological safety encourages taking ownership of your actions
  • How to flip from personal conflict (you against me) to task conflict (us against a problem)
  • How leaders of small teams are the lynchpins in creating psychological safety
  • How to stop tip-toeing around each other and create a feedback-rich culture that isn’t afraid to learn quickly and adapt
  • How to create psychological safety in each and every meeting across the company.
  • Psychological safety is the secret sauce that the best companies in the world are investing in. At a time when innovation is the lifeblood of your competitive advantage, you simply can’t afford to have your people staying quiet and playing it safe.

Funcomfortable: Why Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone Is The Key to Growth

The one thing that holds all great teams back is avoiding discomfort. Whether it’s avoiding feedback, procrastinating, or not having the hard conversations. Avoiding discomfort turns great teams into mediocre ones.

Embracing discomfort is the key to growth and the good news is that it’s trainable. In the same way that getting to the gym makes us stronger, getting to the emotional discomfort gym turns good employees into leaders.

How do you get your team to embrace discomfort? By making difficult things fun to do. When your brain starts linking positive emotions with difficult things, it starts doing those things naturally. So feedback becomes a game, tackling problems becomes exciting, and everyone starts playing to win. Once your team makes a habit of embracing discomfort, excuses will stop, ownership will begin, and as your people grow, the profits will follow.

In this training, your team will learn:

  • Why brains naturally avoid discomfort
  • How to do the hard thing even when their brain’s telling them to do the opposite
  • How to use fun as a tool to make hard things more enjoyable by:
  • Fun-Fusing (pairing difficult things with fun things)
  • Fun-Framing (reframing threats to challenges and gamifying difficult tasks)
  • Fun-Filling (using daily deposits of fun to build stress resilience later on)
  • Everything you want for your company lies on the other side of discomfort. If you’re serious about developing your people, getting out of your comfort zone is where it starts.

Power of Pause: The New Science of Self Care, Brain Breaks, and Avoiding Burnout

With our work demands getting faster and faster, and the pressure to balance home and work continually rising, brain science has now shown that the key to our most productive, creative, and happiest selves isn't working harder, it's working smarter. In this presentation, you'll discover:

  • The power of pause--and why scheduling micro-breaks charges your mental battery and how it helps avoid burnout
  • How taking care of yourself and building ""stress resilience"" can increase both you and your team’s productivity and happiness
  • Why your team feels highly distractible at 3pm and how to help them double their productivity in the afternoon
  • Why multitasking is costing you and the clients you work with time and money -- and how to achieve focus in a hyper-distracted world
  • What is the best way to structure your workday to manage stress and stay calm through even the toughest projects
  • How the science behind innovation—and how understanding your own brain's "deep problem solving" network—can be the key that unlocks your world-changing ideas.
  • Why the best managers keep their mental battery charged and how they tap into states of flow and peak performance
  • How successful leaders manage their ""stress debt"" by making micro-investments in their wellness throughout the day.
  • The most productive people in the world not only manage their time – they manage their energy. Learning how to recharge and invest in the resilience of our teams is the key to boosting productivity, building better morale, and unlocking your team’s creativity.

Mini Habits: A Small Tool for Big Success

Habits happen - whether by default or by design. Habits are our brain's go-to tool to tackle almost any goal or task, which is why getting your employees in the driver’s seat of their habit-making machinery can be a total game changer.

You’ll walk away with everything you need to know to start making measurable change in your team culture and their collective work habits. This talk is 100% evidence-based and drawn from the most cutting-edge research in the fields of behavioral psychology and neuroscience. But it’s also practical, applicable, and joyously empowering.

In this eye-opening presentation, your team will discover:

  • How building group habits facilitates better workflow and increased productivity
  • How to use proven methods like ""habit stacking"" and ""habit tracking"" to make or break any habit
  • Why using implementation intentions will increase follow-through from 33% to 75%
  • Why motivation often follows action, rather than preceding it
  • How to avoid the trap of “over-relying” on willpower
  • How making your habits “stupid small” can be the game-changer you and your team have been looking for.
  • Why Jerry Seinfeld's simple habit-tracking trick is based on the most cutting-edge science (and how you can follow his foolproof system)
  • How to use the most powerful (and simple) tools ever discovered for achieving your organization’s goals, overcoming obstacles, and flexibly sticking to your plan in the face of stress and unpredictability.
  • Whether you are looking to grow your company, become more productive, or simply trying to build more well-being into your culture, habits are the most powerful vehicle to get you there and one of the best investments you can make.

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