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Peak Achievement Training of the Top Executives of a Fortune 500 Company: Improvements in an EEG Measure of Concentration. Col. (Ret.) Louis Csoka , Ph.D. Maximum Performance Group Jonathan D. Cowan, Ph.D. Peak Achievement Training. Background
Col. (Ret.) Louis Csoka, Ph.D.
Maximum Performance Group
Jonathan D. Cowan, Ph.D.
Peak Achievement Training
A Fortune 500 company has created a Peak Performance Center as part of their leadership development program. It was patterned after the program at the Center for Enhanced Performance at the United States Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. ‘s largest performance enhancement center, which was started by one of the authors (LC) in 1989.
The top 23 executives ata large corporation participated in a 20 session program, which included training on the FreezeFramer; respiration, EMG, and skin conductance preceding EEG training to enhance concentration, performed on the Peak Achievement Trainer. The executives participated in five hour-long sessions of Peak Achievement Training, consisting of individual coaching based on (with elaboration) the Peak Achievement Trainer's workbook, including about 35 minutes of practice on the InAll wideband suppression protocol per session. In the first and the last session, they were tested by measuring how long they could hold their InAll levels below 30 microvolts.
During the pre-test, the first trial averaged 19 seconds, ranging from 10 to 40. The first trial in the post test was more than twice as long, 44 seconds, with the range running from 25 to 65 seconds. The average duration of the best trial per session almost doubled from 65 seconds at the pre-test to 128 seconds at post test. The ranges were 18 to 180 and 48 to 220, respectively. This is clear evidence of very rapid learning.
This is clear evidence of very rapid learning. Response to te program was overwhelmingly positive, with notable improvements in their ability to attend in crucial meetings, engage in critical performance appraisals with employees, and deliver exceptional presentations. These executives have returned voluntarily for many additional sessions, primarily using the Peak Achievement Trainer's ConAlert protocol, and the program is being expanded to 39 more executives. They are writing an article for Harvard Business Review.
The systematic application of performance enhancement skills has long been accepted and successfully applied in the world of sport. Its application in other arenas is yet to be fully realized. This brief overview reports on the successful development of a Peak Performance Center in a Corporate setting created to provide education and training in peak performance skills to business executives. The systematic and progressive approach to their training and development was based on a program developed at the US Military Academy at West Point in 1989 by this author. 23 executives participated in the first phase of the program including the CEO and his Executive Management Team and selected high potential executives key to the business’ success. The 20 one-hour sessions provided a basic understanding of the principles behind peak performance and the acquisition of five fundamental skills: positive/effective thinking, goal setting, stress management, attention control and visualization. Pre- and post-training assessments on the skills was accomplished through self-assessment and monitoring of various biofeedback and neurofeedback modalities. A post-training summative evaluation and testimonials by participants and by their managers and direct reports on observed behavior and performance change were obtained as measures of success. In addition, actual business results are also being tracked for improvement. These are lagging indicators and will be available at the end of the Company’s fiscal year. The data indicate significant impact on the behavior and performance of participants.
SessionsTraining Progression for Each Module
Length of Uninterrupted Concentration
N = 23
N = 23
N = 23
“The module on attention control was a major breakthrough for me. The distinction between focus and concentration really clicked. I have learned a great deal about myself from these exercises and believe there is much for me to mine in this area. I have begun to be much more self-aware of how I am ‘paying attention’, in both group meetings and in one-on-one interactions. I have learned how to voluntarily change my field of focus to increase awareness of many things going on around me in a large meeting, for example.”
“This was my second most significant area of positive personal impact. Enhanced concentration skills developed in the Center seemed to really pay off in the number of individual, intense meetings held over the last few months. I have sensed a greater effort on my part, especially in listening. Just heightened awareness of the need alone has brought greater personal satisfaction”
“This is an area in which I had a strong need for improvement. I have been able to focus my attention in meetings much better, resulting in less repetition of topics covered. I can shift from one topic to another related topic more easily.”
“I have really become aware of where my focus and attention need to be in any given situation.”
“During ‘dry’ (but important) presentations, I can now concentrate much better.”
“I have learned the waste of trying to multi-task. I just don’t do it anymore.”
“Understanding the difference between focus and concentration was eye opening. I have been very aware of attending to one thing at a time and completely immersing myself.”
“I have focused on improving this in the [ ] project and in dealing with individual relationship building.”
“Training attention control begins the entire process of developing peak performance, in the military and elsewhere. The Peak Achievement Trainer provides an excellent tool for developing enhanced skills in focus and concentration. We have been working with business executives at a Fortune 500 company on their attention skills as part of a broader peak performance training program that is an integral component of their leadership development program...”
“We have been able to demonstrate measurable improvements in their ability to attend in crucial meetings, engage in critical performance appraisals with employees, and deliver exceptional presentations. The Peak Achievement Trainer provides the critical feedback during attention control training needed to develop this skill to a level equal to what elite athletes have been able to achieve.”
Col. (RET.) Louis Csoka, Ph.D.