Cliché: Your experiences in the acting and modeling industries catalyzed your initial awareness of unprofessional behavior in the workplace. What was it about these moments that really stuck with you and led you to resolve to want to make a change?
Adaire Byerly: Through my years as a professional in the industry, I noticed psychological patterns & behaviors that were constantly projecting into business politics, negatively effecting the success in one’s career, or an entire brand. Working in a world full of creative geniuses, you will experience the want for expression and acceptance rather than structure. You find a lot of ego, selfishness, rebellious and stubborn behavior, push back, gossip and power dynamics that make it difficult for anyone to properly conduct business. The main issue I found through observation is many people only view these industries as a platform to showcase their talent, overlooking the fact that these industries are actual business that that effect our U.S. economy by billions of dollars. When we put that into perspective, we begin to understand why we should ensure our brands are operating as such.
Talk about your company, Entertainment Mindframe.
Entertainment Mindframe™ is a company developed to provide cognitive enhancement for professionals in the Entertainment industry by applying brain and behavioral sciences into the business side of fame. The industry branches include media, fashion, film, and sports.
I developed the company to tackle the common and intangible communication issues in the work environment that negatively affect business. My focus starts at the root. That means everything that goes on behind the camera, in the mind of professionals and in operations. I aim to identify, eliminate, rebuild neuropathways, and shift perspectives that project into a career & work environment by creating a tailored communication strategy. That includes trainings, cognitive consulting, seminars, rewriting policies or HR procedures or changing company culture. I focus mainly on communication through linguistics and perception. I also work with professional Psychologists and Neuroscientists to ensure the methods concur with the scientific community and provide long lasting results.
What are the basics that everyone needs to understand about workplace communication?
I often tell my clients that communication is a science as much as it is an art. It is not just made for you to express how you feel. The purpose of communication is to become fluent with another person by speaking at their comprehension rather than enforcing your own.
In business, we cannot just look at people as opportunity or money, we must recognize them first as humans. Communication is key. Without proper communication an understanding will never be reached. Many people view an understanding as “agreeing” however, you do not need to agree to reach an understanding, or to even communicate. I have a simple order of process that I show my clients to visually show them how their thoughts impact communication, which then impacts the company as a whole:
The individual (the mind) ➡️ The environment ➡️ Operations ➡️ The project/production ➡️ The final product
It all starts in our heads and trickles into everything we do. If we can solve it at the root, the rest of the process runs smoothly. What does that look like? It increases employee retention rates, lowers office tension allowing more efficient workspaces, even prevents legal repercussions by enforcing proper business code and education, and finally creativity and work production is greatly enhanced by finetuning this communication. All of this has ultimately resulted in an increase and expansion in business.
What are some common issues that arise and how can we make ourselves aware of them to better avoid those issues?
Beginner common issues include frustration, gossip, “I” thinking, lack of appreciation, lack of trust, lack of respect and exhausting your work ethic. These all result in larger issues such as resentment, bad business deals, loss of business deals, losing great talent or workers, creating a bad reputation associated with the brand and loss of clientele.
From a scientific perspective, one thing to note is, your thoughts and beliefs are not always right or true in the grand scheme of things. Our perception is a huge factor regarding the decisions we make. Understanding that everyone has their own perspective, (Which is their reality) will tell you that there are multiple realities in the same room. Does that mean someone is wrong? No, it means we are human and that is how we process information. Understanding human nature in business is a major way to not only prevent miscommunication but enhance the company as a whole.
Your practice is now working to help companies navigate both COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter. How is that restructuring going to impact the way that employees and companies themselves approach work and communication?
One major focus point of my assessments when I am working with clients is to make sure they adapt to the social changes that can affect business. Covid-19 and the social justice movements are the current changes that we have to alter in operations. We have to ensure that protocol and safety procedures are being followed for health reasons, as well as educating ourselves on social justice movements and how they influence the economy, as well as being sensitive to the visceral reaction and human nature aspect of workers and customers during these times.
You have a rich family history – your father’s ancestors were the first African-Americans to own over 4000 acres of land in East Texas following the end of slavery. What does it mean to you in this moment to be a Black woman, a Black mother, and a successful Black female entrepreneur?
Honestly, it is extremely powerful and motivating. The history I come from has always been a fire in my soul to push forward even when the odds are against me. When I am facing the unknown, the impossible, and even wanting to accomplish something that has never been done before… I look at my ancestors and I say if they can do it, I can. I have no excuses because it is in my blood to make things happen regardless of the circumstance.
How can non-Black entrepreneurs and consumers better support Black-owned businesses and Black entrepreneurs?
I would say to first educate yourself on local and even major black owned businesses that you are interested in. For consumers, the best way is to purchase their products and spread the word. For Entrepreneurs, if you find a black owned start-up, you can either promote or offer a solution as a third-party resource for the brand. For instance, if there is a black owned business that is in line with a mission you believe in and is having trouble getting off the ground, invest in it or provide resources to help that business flourish. Offering educational resources, lawyers, advisors, potential business clients or even seminars or promotional deals to help expand their exposure and success.
You’re a licensed Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Neuroplasticity. Break that down for us. Why are you so fascinated with the brain and what do you think a greater understanding of how it works can inform in terms of how we understand ourselves and each other?
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a psychological approach to quickly find solutions in communicating and perceiving the world around you. Neuroplasticity is the ability for the neurons in the brain to change and how information travels through the nervous system. I also have studies in Cognitive Behavioral techniques which is a short-term psychotherapeutic technique that changes toxic thinking patterns. Scientifically, it changes the neural circuits related to negative emotion in the nervous system.
I am in love with the brain because it is the root to everything that we do. It is the most complicated computer on the planet and we still do not fully understand it. After studying neuroscience, it is fascinating how our thoughts, belief systems, decision making, and behavior all start from tiny cells in our brain. And it is all happening on a subconscious level, meaning we do not even know it is happening! Being able to see that, to me, is phenomenal.
I believe educating ourselves on our own brains is a recipe for a potential superhuman mentality and life. I am sure you have heard this before, “The mind is a powerful thing”, that is said because so much of what we need to enhance, lies between our ears. It can be the make or break of your life.
Why do you believe it’s so crucial to advocate for a greater focus on mental stability of professionals?
This ties in with the understanding of power that the mind has on our lifestyles. If our mind is not right, we cannot do right. It always starts from the inside. The product of work, personal life, relationships, finances and even grounding all starts from within, mainly tied to belief systems that we have. I often find professionals getting lost in their work/brand resulting in an identity crisis OR they become a part of business so heavily that they treat themselves as robots, which then neglects major needs that any human requires to function. Don’t get me wrong, you can still hustle, commit and work your tale off to get the results you need. Sacrifices do have to be made when you are pursuing a career but if you are doing it to the level of needing to see a therapist or take medication just to function, that may be a good indicator that you need to re-evaluate your habits and mental state.
What advice do you have for professionals out there who may feel that their company does not provide adequate mental health resources?
The good thing about this is, if you see your company is lacking, you can always change it. You don’t necessarily have to have mental health resources to create a better environment. You can very easily allow employees to do certain things, such as take multiple short breaks throughout the day, advise them to move around from their desk, allow employees to play music or dress more comfortably. Another way is to acknowledge that they are human. Ask them how they are doing, ask about things that interest them, and if you don’t know, get to know them. There are always fun team building exercises that you can implement.
If you are wanting to lean more on the side of resources, you can also inform your coworkers of certain apps that help regulate your mood such as Virtual Moodbox, Stop, Breathe and Think and Mood Coach. You can also provide them with emergency hotlines and/or websites that can assist them during their own time.
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Adaire Byerly Examines How Cognitive Science Can Reboot The Business of Fame. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Adaire Byerly.