Welcome to Sarah Mawhinney

DCP would like to welcome our newest member of staff, Sarah Mawhinney.

Sarah has joined us as an Organisational Psychology Intern.

She holds a BA in Psychology from University College Dublin and an MSc in Occupational Psychology from the University of Nottingham. During her Masters she completed her research dissertation on a “healthy workplaces project” with the World Health Organisation in Geneva.

Prior to joining DCP, Sarah worked in the financial services and recruitment sector with an Australian management consultancy firm.

She is certified by the British Psychological Society to administer and interpret psychometric assessments at level A and level B (NEO-PIR), and is a graduate member of the Psychological Society of Ireland.

Leveraging Career Assets – a Key to Success

By Andrew Harley

Most readers of this article may own a car and many will drive a car on a daily basis. We get in, start the car, drive off and arrive at our destination. Very few of us are aware or conscious of the complex mesh of knowledge, experience, judgement and co-ordination that are involved in what, for many of us, is a basic, routine daily task. There is a name for this – it is called “unconscious competence”. This term describes behaviour that is so deeply embedded in our routine that we do not know that we know how to do it!

Now driving is a fairly basic example. When we shift our attention to what happens in the workplace, the picture does not appear as clear. Although the underlying principles are the same, the most basic of jobs has an element of unconscious competence. The more senior the role, the more performance becomes a function not just of what is done but of the way in which it is done. High performers demonstrate exceptional levels of unconscious competence. While this is taken for granted when the economy and organisations are in a “steady state” it demands close attention in times of discontinuous change.

Traditional careers are a bit like driving a car. We join an organisation, progress at variable speed to our destination – retirement. Along the way, we acquire experience, knowledge, skills and some wisdom. If, however, we ask individuals about what they do, the chance is that they will answer in terms of their role or responsibility. Typically this will be “I’m Head of Logistics” or “I’m responsible for the Marketing Department”. These responses are spontaneous; they reveal how the individual sees him or herself. The label is the job title, an allusion to what they are there to do and why they are in the organisation. This response does not acknowledge of what they are capable or, critically, at what they are unconsciously competent.

Everyone makes their job their own. Subtly they shape it to fit their own skills and experience. The job itself is not subverted; rather it is adapted so that the individual finds the easiest way for him or herself to deliver the required results.

Essentially, each of us has a unique set of gifts that we learn to deploy in the context of the job that we do. The boundary between what we do and what the job is becomes hazy. For most, the shorthand of “I’m an accountant” substitutes for the acknowledgement of a genuine description of capability.

When the world changes, however, it is barely adequate to retain the label “Accountant” when the market is awash with hundreds of “Accountants” all looking for a job. Taking a less cataclysmic view, is it sufficient to expect an accountant to make the transition to Finance Director? Perhaps not! In both cases, decisions to appoint will be made not on the basis of a job title but on a judgement about how someone might do the job. The more senior the role, the greater the impact of “how things are done” not just “what is done”.

The individual’s capability, the “how” they do things, is the exercise of their knowledge, skills, experience and judgement. The job context has an influence but this is more about the impact of organisational climate and culture on the individual and the degree to which it fits with the individual’s preferred way of working.

As change quickens in pace and security of employment is in flux, the people best placed to grasp the opportunities will be those who know best their capabilities and can match their knowledge, skills, experience and judgement to new and different roles.

An interesting observation is that, when asked about what they have achieved most people struggle to identify anything significant. This is not because the achievement is absent but it is associated with “just doing my job”. Experience from working with a wide range of different individuals argues compellingly for a simple self-assessment process to begin to reveal the “career assets” – the transferable knowledge, skills, experience and judgement. In outline the process follows this kind of flow:

  • Think of targets, goals or objectives met;
  • Examine what you decided to do and how you did it;
  • Identify what would have happened had you not acted;
  • Analyse

o what you did,

o how you decided,

o how you got resources,

o who you had to persuade and how.

The results of your analysis should describe your career assets. This understanding of career assets allows the individual to make informed decisions about where and how to invest their effort in the future.

So far, this piece has focused on the individual and their fit to the organisation. The same applies to organisations and the extent to which they understand the human capital represented by the workforce.

In the same way that the individual is at the mercy of external factors, so is the organisation. An understanding of the capability of an organisation’s human capital can be a key strategic lever in meeting the challenge of a changing environment.


To learn more about our Career services, please contact the office: +353-1-6688891 or info@davittcorporatepartners.com

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to:

Develop Emotional Intelligence in Your Organisation

Win the War for Talent

Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values


Andrew Harley is a Senior Associate at DavittCorporatePartners – Corporate Psychologists


Tips for Sticking to Your New Year Resolution

Happy New Year to our clients and friends from all of us in DCP…

At this time of year our thoughts turn to what kind of improvements we can make to our lives in work and at home. Most of us will make New Year’s Resolutions this year and work hard at putting them into practice for a couple of weeks in January, but how many of us will manage to carry our good intentions through to the rest of the year?

The psychologist Richard Wiseman has found that over 50% of people who commit to making improvements in their lives are confident they will be successful, however, in reality he found that only 12% of people actually were.  So how can we improve our chances of sticking to our plans and reaching our goals for the year ahead?

In his book “59 Seconds” Wiseman offers these ten tips on how we can all be more successful in keeping our resolutions and reaching our goals in the New Year.

1) Make only one resolution, your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one aspect of your behaviour.

2) Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to think about your resolution and instead take some time out a few days before and reflect upon what you really want to achieve.

3) Avoid previous resolutions; deciding to re-visit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment.

4) Don’t run with the crowd and go with the usual resolutions.  Instead think about what you really want out of life.

5) Break your goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that are concrete, measurable, and time-based.

6) Tell your friends and family about your goals, thus increasing the fear of failure and eliciting support.

7) Regularly remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goals by creating a checklist of how life would be better once you obtain your aim.

8) Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a sub-goal, thus maintaining motivation and a sense of progress.

9) Make your plans and progress concrete by keeping a handwritten journal, completing a computer spreadsheet or covering a notice board with graphs or pictures.

10) Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time. Treat any failure as a temporary set-back rather than a reason to give up altogether.

Merry Christmas

Xmas pic

DCP would like to wish all our clients, colleagues and associates a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Our offices are closing on the 22nd December and re-opening on the 3rd January.

Biofeedback & Clinical Psychophysiology

Your body talks, do you listen?

What “biofeedback” is and why this not-so-new therapy could offer new treatment possibilities for many conditions

Biofeedback/clinical psychophysiology will help you:

  • reduce stress both at work and in your personal life,
  • manage chronic pain (migraine, back pain, shoulder pain, repetitive motion injuries or injuries incurred at work etc.)
  • ease or eliminate persistent problems such as panic/anxiety and depression.


Fig 2 A computer generated feedback screen linked to one of the physiological systems a person is interested in learning to control.


This approach appeals to many types of people including those of us in an industrial environment. Everyone has used a thermometer at some time. You take your temperature; if it’s normal, you just get on with life, but if it’s too high you may go running to your GP or looking for a cold compress. This is a basic form of “biofeedback” – you’ve used a device to measure your physiology and then changed your behaviour in order to induce your body to behave itself.  Biofeedback therapy is as simple as that; it’s about using a device to observe your body and responding to what it tells you.

Another biofeedback device you are familiar with is a mirror. You see your image and change the way you do something (even if it’s as simple as brushing your hair or fixing your shirt/blouse).  You change something because of what you became aware of. That’s why there are mirrors in gyms (not just for posing).  You can see yourself doing the exercise and alter the way you do the exercise if you need to.

Clinical psychophysiologists/ biofeedback therapists use a computer to measure and feedback physiological changes to a client. The difference between a biofeedback instrument and a mirror is that the biofeedback instrument feeds back information about processes that are usually below your awareness such as heart rate, the way you breathe, blood pressure, temperature, pupil size, the way we handle sugar, actually almost everything we do to live.  If we were sensitive to what our body is doing all the time, we’d go nuts. There’s just too much happening.  So, most of the time, in order to stay sane, we filter most of it out. The important thing is that if we become aware of what we are doing we can learn to change it.


Fig 1 A monitoring screen from a biofeedback device showing your electrical brain activity (EEG), muscle activity from your shoulders, pulse and your respiration rate.

Added to that, every emotion and thought is both psychological and physiological.  If we feel fear or anxiety lots of things happen in our body. For example, our heart rate increases, blood pressure goes up, pupils dilate, our mouth goes dry, digestion stops (butterflies in our tummy), breathing becomes more shallow, hands begin to sweat and go cold etc. It’s pretty much the same in lots of situations. When the boss shouts at us, we shout at people reporting to us, colleagues are annoyed at us or when a car comes barrelling down the road as we’re crossing we will react.  Sometimes it’s just a reaction we feel and keep to ourselves but it’s always there. These reactions can become an issue very quickly in both the workplace and in our personal lives.

If you want more information about biofeedback/clinical psychophysiology contact us here at DCP or call Daren Drysdale (our associate) at 086 872 7668.

Hogan Assessments with DCP

DCP are now offering the full range of Hogan assessments to our clients

DavittCorporatePartners – Organisational Psychologists and Experts in Hogan Assessment Systems

New Bespoke 360° Feedback Questionnaire launch

DCP are delighted to announce the successful launch of our new bespoke 360° Feedback Questionnaire.

360° Feedback – an overview

We are privileged to work with Board members and executive teams of some of the most successful and high performing organisations.  This unique access has allowed us to directly observe what highly effective leaders do.  This knowledge has now been crystallised into a model that defines the hallmarks of true leaders.

The model groups leadership behaviours into six clusters:

360 pic

Each cluster is built on the foundation of individual behaviours.

Much of our work consists of helping individuals develop to become more effective leaders.  We have a wealth of experience and knowledge that aids the individual in understanding the motivational and temperamental drivers that are at the root of their behaviour.

A recent initiative has see us develop a 360° feedback process to measure the leadership behaviours.

A key to unlocking individual potential is the capacity to hold up the mirror so that they can see themselves as others do.  Leadership is essentially about getting other people to do things.  The positive impact that the leader has on others is the benchmark of their effectiveness.

Our 360° process gives a precise comparison of what an individual thinks they are doing and what others actually see.  By this means development can be precisely focused to deliver quick positive impact on performance.


DavittCorporatePartners – Organisational Psychologists and Experts in 360° Feedback and Development


Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends, colleagues and clients from everyone at DavittCorporatePartners

Breakfast Briefing with Dr. Martyn Newman – a summary


Breakfast Briefing with Martyn Newman – a summary by David Keane

It was a crisp but thankfully dry Friday morning when approximately 60 senior executives gathered at the Hampton Hotel for an exclusive breakfast briefing with Dr. Martyn Newman.  DCP was delighted to welcome Martyn back to Ireland for what promised to be an engaging and inspiring talk on the challenges facing leaders today and, as usual, Martyn did not disappoint. Under the cloud of an ever deepening crisis in the Eurozone, Martyn explained how, we as leaders, can really make a difference in our respective work places in what remain challenging conditions.  Martyn’s talk focused on the importance of Emotional Capital in the workplace and how orgaisations that are rich in Emotional Capital thrive, even under the most difficult economic conditions. Here are the main points from Martyn’s talk:

Two decades of research have now shown us that good leaders do not use their authority to dominate followers and simply tell them what to do. Nor does being exceptionally charismatic make a person a good leader. Research published in a recent edition of The Scientific American Mind challenges this idea stating that leaders with charismatic personalities often manipulate others into conformity. Although coercion through using sticks or carrots may work in the short term, neither sticks nor carrots will drive sustainable change.

According to these reports, a new picture of leadership skills has emerged that better accounts for leadership performance.  In particular, this research points to three keys insights:

  • Leaders are most effective when they tap into the aspirations people hold in their hearts. In other words, when they understand what people want, they can help people make the link between their aspirations and what the business can achieve for them.
  • They recognise the fundamental need that people have to belong to a group, so they build shared identities for people at work.
  • They possess advanced skills in being able to engage with the real drivers of performance in people – emotions.

Great leaders have the skills to manage their emotions well and influence the emotions of other people toward positive outcomes. In other words, leaders must become masters of mood and lead organisations that excite, energise and enthuse their customers.

What specifically are these skills, can you really measure them, and more importantly how can people in business build them quickly and cost-effectively?

After analysing more than ten years of scientific data exploring the link between emotional intelligence and leadership, research psychologists at RocheMartin have identified ten skills that powerfully predict leadership effectiveness. These skills form the basis of an exciting new model of emotional intelligence and leadership – Emotional Capital. In addition, they can now be measured accurately in any business using a powerful new psychometric tool – the Emotional Capital Report (ECR).

Ten Dynamic Emotions that Drive Leadership Success

The most effective leaders score higher than the average on each of these ten particular scales of emotional intelligence. The highest scores were on:

Self-Reliance – the emotional power to accept responsibility, back personal judgements and be self-reliant in planning and making important decisions.

Self-Confidence – the ability to maintain self-respect and personal confidence.

Relationship Skills – the ability to build and manage relationships characterised by positive expectations.

In terms of leading a business, these three competencies enable a leader to model self-assured behaviour; communicate a clear view of the organisation’s vision and direction; inspire the confidence of others, and gain their support and commitment to building successful relationships – not only with employees and customers, but with everyone the business touches.

A second cluster of high scores that distinguish these leaders include:

Optimism – not just ‘the glass is half full’ kind, but optimism as a strategy – as a way of dealing with difficulties and sensing opportunities. Emotionally intelligent leaders look on the brighter side of life and sense opportunities even in the face of adversity. They are resilient, can see the big picture and where they are going, and are able to focus on the possibilities of what can be achieved.

Self-Knowing – emotionally intelligent leaders are aware of their emotional experience and have the capacity to recognise how their feelings and emotions impact on their personal opinions, attitudes and judgements. In other words, they remain open to discovering new things about themselves and are not afraid to modify their behaviour.

Self-Actualization – high scores on this skill suggest that these leaders know how to manage their reserves of emotional energy and have achieved an effective level of emotional balance. They appear to thrive in setting challenging personal and professional goals and their enthusiasm is likely contagious.

The final group of skills that differentiate effective leaders from the rest include:

Straightforwardness – this suggests the ability to express feelings, thoughts and beliefs openly in a straightforward way, while respecting the fact that others may hold a different opinion or expectation.

Adaptability – the ability to adapt thinking, feelings and actions in response to changing situations and be tolerant of others, and receptive to new ideas. In other words, they are champions of change.

Empathy – this is the skill that enables a person to grasp the emotional dimension of a business situation and create resonant connections with others. This is also the skill that makes talent dance in an organisation.

Self-Control – emotionally intelligent leaders have the ability to manage their emotions well and restrain their actions until they have time to think rationally. They are able to stay calm in stressful situations and maintain productivity without losing control. This skill is critical to building and maintaining a consistent leadership presence and for becoming a ‘trusted advisor’ to people.

Emotional Capital – An Important Addition to the Balance Sheet

These leadership skills add real commercial value to the balance sheet, and this value can be measured in any successful business as emotional capital using the Emotional Capital Report (ECR). If emotional capital is the creative energy that your people bring to work and the enthusiasm that customers have for your company and products, then emotional capitalists are leaders who manage their own emotional energy well and know how to inspire others to create products, solve problems and deliver superior service.


Dr. Newman’s excellent book “Emotional Capitalists – the New Leaders” is available to purchase from the RocheMartin website or from Amazon.

Inspiring Leaders – World Business Forum (Synopsis Part II)

Inspiring Leaders – World Business Forum in New York City 5th-6th October 2011

A Synopsis by Adrienne Davitt Part II_______________

Other contributors of ground breaking ideas on how to succeed at local, regional and global levels included:

Ben Zander – The Art of Possibility

Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra since 1979, Ben is more than just an acclaimed musician and director, he has the gift to inspire.  He believes that “we are about contribution. It’s not about impressing people. It’s not about getting the next job”. He also believes that art and music can be used to energise our interpersonal connections, add value to our new global society and lead to innovation and the successful adoption of new practices. By going beyond limitations, taking risks and embracing expectations, we can create new possibilities to transform people and business. He states emphatically that we are moving into a new world and the next 30 years are going to be possibly the most exciting yet.

Marina Gorbis – Toward a Human-Centred Future

Marina is at the forefront of researching and understanding the psychological and behavioural implications of the modern digital world on both an organisational and individual level. She is the Executive Director of the Institute for the Future and believes adamantly in a global perspective. Some areas she discussed were:

  • New rules for a new era: how to create, share, cooperate, grow in a world of options and constraints
  • Transformative technologies vs existing socio-economic models
  • Consumers and their recharged identity: networked, neuro-social and yet autonomous
  • Disrupting institutions: how technological innovation, extreme environment and rapid adaptation are shaping the new organisation

Patrick Lencioni – The Unwavering Truths at The Heart of Great Teams

Patrick is an expert on how to build winning teams. Concerned with developing “healthy” organisations, he uses past experience and the understanding of human psychology to help companies realise their potential. He believes that a great team is the ultimate competitive advantage because it produces a group whose best interest is that of the organisation. Both the operational and behavioural components of a business need to be considered in order to understand how to work together. He also emphasises the importance of trust, relevance and recognition creating commitment and organisational clarity. “Teamwork is a strategic choice”, he says.

Seth Godin – Are You Indispensable? Changing the Way Leaders Think

One of the most innovative thinkers in modern marketing, Seth staunchly that to succeed in a world overloaded with information and products, you must stand out. From business endeavours to book marketing, he practices the same strategies he preaches and has turned himself into his own most successful brand. His excitement rather than fear of the implications of the free, unlimited digital world has allowed him to use creativity to achieve success.

Seth rejects traditional marketing, choosing instead to invent his own strategies that give him an advantage in the digital age. The focus of his most recent, best-selling book is a linchpin: someone within an organisation that is indispensable  – that is too unique and valuable to be replaced. The only people who can become linchpins, who have any hope of changing things for the better, are those who have the capacity to do “emotional work” at a high level – to be true artists at whatever they set their mind to doing.

Claudio Fernandez-Araoz – Great People Decisions

Claudio is a top global expert on hiring and promotion decisions, repeatedly chosen by Business Week as one of the most influential search consultants in the world. After 25 years of executive search practice, Claudio is convinced that “nothing is more important for your success than making great people decisions” because everything we achieve as leaders will depend on the people we have chosen.

Great people decisions produce extraordinary job performance, great personal development and strong organisational morale. He states two key things: first, the most successful leaders are incredibly focused on people decisions. Second, most of us find these decisions brutally hard and are not good at them – even if we believe we are! Making great people decisions is not an intuition or gut feeling, it is a discipline that can and should be learned for our personal and professional success.