Learning Leaders…

Re-Think Your Thinking About Thinking

An Open Letter (and Invitation) to Learning Leaders
(and other Senior Leaders Concerned About The ROI of Leadership and Talent Development)

Dear Learning Leaders,

Thirteen years ago, my first wife passed away from cancer. Thanks to new diagnostic and treatment technologies, the form of cancer she had is much more curable today than it was then. I don’t blame her doctors for not saving her – they did the best they knew how with the technology they had at the time. Since then, medical science has made some breakthrough in their ability to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of cancer – not just the symptoms.

I believe mainstream learning and development, especially in the areas of soft skills and leadership development, is in a situation similar to where cancer treatment was 13 years ago – doing the best you can with the technology “best practices” you have. But it’s not been good enough.

The fact remains:

If you want to win a “seat at the table” you need to start producing better results.

What mainstream L&D needs is the critically important ability to identify, measure, and improve what really drives learning and performance:


Thinking is the New Frontier of Learning Leadership

Think about it:

  • Behavior, personality, and KPIs are all symptoms.
  • Knowledge, skills, and talents only add to people potential
  • Knowledge, skills, and talents DO NOT “automagically” translate into performance.
  • Telling / teach people what they should think and do doesn’t work very well.
  • “Treating” symptoms, won’t cure the “dis-ease” of under-performance.
  • Thinking is the catalyst that turns potential into performance.
  • If you want better performance, better leadership, and better learning, you need a way to elicit better thinking.

The question is: How?

L&D Needs a Breakthrough

A July, 2017 article on HR.com[i] citing recent studies by Bersin/Deloitte and PWC highlighting the general failure of both leaders and leadership development warned:

“Without a new approach to leadership development, we face a leadership shortage that will cripple business for years to come.”

A “new approach” based on old thinking is not going to be enough. What’s needed is a breakthrough:

“A dramatic shift in thinking that removes barriers,
reveals possibilities, and leads to unprecedented results.”

A breakthrough isn’t just a “new approach” – it’s a “dramatic shift in thinking.”

For a dramatic shift in thinking to be anything more than a nice theory, a breakthrough in science is often needed.

Medical science made some significant breakthroughs in their ability to diagnose and understand the underlying causes of certain cancers. This led to better treatments and even “cures” for cancers. Some of the newest and most effective treatments involve boosting the body’s natural immune system to fight off the cancer, restore health, and reduce the risk of reoccurrence.

Recently, my company, Axiogenics, LLC, has made two significant breakthroughs related to leadership and talent development. What makes these development’s true breakthroughs is that they:

  • Empower dramatic shifting in thinking
  • Remove major barriers to people’s performance
  • Reveal new possibilities for learning and leadership
  • Enable unprecedented result in a multitude of ways.

The two breakthrough developments are:

  1. The Axiogenics VQ Profile® Assessment – the world’s only scientifically-validated way to objectively diagnose thinking.
  2. Cognitive Self-Leadership – a teachable, game-changing master skill that dramatically improves individual and organizational performance and could fundamentally alter the paradigm of L&D.

Thinking is Now Measurable!

An Axiogenics VQ Profile® is an objective assessment of the nature and quality of a person’s thinking from each of 36 different ways of thinking or perspectives (“V” = value-judgment or value-cognition; “Q” = quality”).

In the framework of a VQ Profile, a person’s best ways of thinking are called Cognitive Assets. Less-than-best ways of thinking are called Cognitive Liabilities.

After diagnosing the thinking of over 10,000, people we’ve gained some crucial insights. 

  • We all have both Cognitive Assets and Cognitive Liabilities.
  • On average, people have 7.4 times more Cognitive Liabilities than Cognitive Assets.
  • Cognitive Liabilities tend to dominate people’s thinking and are at the root what is sometimes called “stinking thinking” – habitual, biased, often subconscious ways of thinking that undermine or even sabotage performance and quality of life.
  • Cognitive Liabilities are the underlying source of virtually all the thinking, habits, behaviors, and attitudes that create cultural toxicity, squelch growth and innovation, diminish agility and resilience, and undermine both individual and organizational underperformance.
  • The #1 cause of people’s under-performance is getting stuck, swayed, and sabotaged by the “stinking thinking” that arises from their Cognitive Liabilities.
  • Cognitive Liabilities are what get in the way of L&Ds ability to produce better results.


  • Everyone has the capacity and innate wisdom to think far better than they routinely do, or know they can, or even know how. All because:
    1. Very few people have the objectivity to self-identify and/or differentiate their own Cognitive Assets and Liabilities.
    2. No one has ever taught them.

The fastest, most cost-effective, and most sustainable way to improve performance is to boost people’s ability to think better: to make better use of all the knowledge, skills, and talents they already have – and then build from there.

Now, you can teach people to think better – and that ability will be a major boon for L&D.

Cognitive Self-Leadership

Cognitive Self-Leadership is:

“The purposeful practice of engaging one’s best ways of thinking in any and all circumstances that matter.”

Just as the body’s immune system can be leveraged to fight cancer and improve health, people can learn to leverage their Cognitive Assets to fight off “stinking thinking” and all the problems it causes.

“I think you’ve found the ‘Holy Grail’ of talent development.”
~ David Wragg, Sr. HR Exec.

Cognitive Self-Leadership is considered a “master skill” because some many other skills and competencies, performance improvements, and even quality of life are all enhanced by (if not dependent on) good/better/best thinking.

As every accountant and CFO knows, to increase value (net worth) you need to maximize assets while minimizing liabilities. Likewise, maximizing Cognitive Assets (best ways of thinking) while minimizing Cognitive Liabilities (less-than-best ways of thinking), naturally leads to greater value creation –  greater performance.

The methodology we’ve developed to quickly and cost-effective “teach” Cognitive Self-Leadership naturally activates the learner’s unique desires and motivations. The process is deeply embedded into daily work-life goals and activities and delivers immediate, meaningful, and gratifying results for both the individual and the organization.

By making better use of their Cognitive Assets, people automatically reduce the negative influence of their Cognitive Liabilities. As a result, they are able to think better, work smarter, learn faster, achieve more, stress less, lead wiser, and love deeper.  

Cognitive Self-Leadership literally (and measurably) improves how a person thinks and operates. The positive changes are lasting and don’t just impact that person, but can and do impact all the people around them; both at work and in their personal lives. When consistently practiced, those change can quickly become new habits that require far less effort and “practice.”

“Yeah, But…”

You might be wondering if Cognitive Self-Leadership is just another “fad” that will flare up and then fizzle out. Well, most “fads” are just old ideas repackaged and have no real basis in scientific advances. Cognitive Self-Leadership has that scientific basis and when you fully understand it, you’ll realize it’s no more a “fad” than personal computers and cell phones.

You may be interested to know that in 2010, when endorsing our book, Answering The Central Question, the late Stephen R. Covey (of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” fame) called our science (neuro-axiology: brain science + value science) “groundbreaking.”

The Bottom Line:

The bottom line is: you need a way to have a greater impact on the bottom line. You need away to more effectively develop and convert potential into performance. The old approach isn’t working because it doesn’t sufficiently shift and improve people’s thinking.

If you think a VQ Profile and Cognitive Self-Leadership are “like” anything you have seen before, think again! Let me demonstrate the difference.

An Invitation to Bold and Innovative Leaders

I invite you to learn more about why Cognitive Self-Leadership is a giant leap forward. You won’t find much about it in the mainstream press yet (as of 2017). But, you will find plenty of information on our website at www.axiogenics.com.

Experience it for yourself!

I want to give innovators, courageous thought leaders, and potential early adopters an opportunity to experience the VQ Profile and Cognitive Self-Leadership for themselves free of charge.

There is nothing like a real-life personal experience to overcome fear and skepticism.

We know not everyone has the courage to be an “early adopter,” but those who do will enjoy a considerable competitive edge. People who get trained and certified to facilitate, train, coach, and integrate Cognitive Self-Leadership will be among tomorrow’s L&D thought leaders.

If you are a learning leader, a C-suite leader, or in a position to influence such leaders, take this opportunity to find out if Cognitive Self-Leadership could be the “new approach” you and your organization needs.

Our introductory “First Steps Experience” will only take a little over an hour of your time: 15 minutes to take the VQ Profile Assessment and then 1-hour private coaching session. I promise you will come away from this experience with a new way of thinking and some powerful new personalized practices, based on your Cognitive Assets that you can put to immediate use in your own work/life.

Again, visit www.Axiogenics.com/cognitive-self-leadership to learn more and to request your personal introductory experience.

Wishing you All The Best (thinking),

Peter Demarest
President, Axiogenics, LLC



[i] According to a July, 2017 article on HR.com citing recent studies by Bersin/Deloitte and PWC regarding leaders and leadership development, “Without a new approach to leadership development, we face a leadership shortage that will cripple business for years to come.”

The studies show that only 14% of companies feel they are strong at succession planning / leadership development. Moreover, the article cautions, “Don’t Depend on Your Current Leaders” to help develop new leaders. Because, of today’s leaders:

  • 56% of current leaders fail to build talent for a competitive advantage.
  • 53% can’t inspire people to follow them.
  • 52% don’t drive change and innovation.
  • 50% lack vision and direction.
  • 40% don’t execute and achieve results through their people


[ii] Harvard Business Publishing conducted a survey last year of 700 individuals who were either L&D managers (44%) or line managers (56%). The results “Only 7 percent of [all] respondents characterized their programs as ‘Best in Class’. What defines Best in Class? A program that tightly aligns with strategy, enjoys executive support, has cultivated a strong talent pipeline, and demonstrates an impact on overall success.” Furthermore, “only 19 percent of business line managers believe [their company’s L&D] programs are relevant to the issues they face.”

The Central Question
of Life, Love, and Leadership:

“What choice can I make and action can I take, in this moment, to create the greatest net value?”

A simple question that’s transforming lives and organizations!

Our book…

~ Stephen R. Covey

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