Business Series Podcast Ep.21 – Achieving Excellent Results in Business with Ken Manning

In this episode, Ankush speaks with author and business consultant, Dr Ken Manning. Some of what they discuss include:

– Why don’t more businesses achieve excellent business results?

– Why is understanding the science of the mind key to excellence

– Why are psychological operating principles such a big deal

– A case study of a client Dr Manning worked with

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Full Transcript


Ankush [00:00:23] Welcome back to another episode of the Business Series Podcast. Today, I’m joined by Ken Manning Ph.D., who is the co-founder and president of Insight Principles, which is a consulting company bringing basic principles behind how the mind innately functions to global companies around the world. We’ve interviewed a couple of his colleagues already, Sandra Krot and Robin Charbitt and they all specialise in helping companies achieve excellent business results and healthy corporate cultures, which is very apt because today our podcast is all about achieving excellent results in business. Thank you for joining me, Ken.


Ken [00:01:06] Oh, you’re welcome. Nice to be here Ankush. Thanks for having me.


Ankush [00:01:09] It’s an absolute pleasure. And I’m very excited about this episode. I know you have a lot of experience working with organizations and really achieving some quite remarkable changes and turnarounds. And I thought maybe we could just jump into this straight away and kind of go on the opposite side and say, well, why don’t more people and businesses achieve excellent business results? You know, we’ve had years and years of management training and thinking and literature and everything else. So why isn’t this more commonplace?


Ken [00:01:48] Well, I always say to businesses, their businesses would do really well if it weren’t for the people. And you know, the joking aside, you know, people don’t know how to use their minds really well. And you have to use your mind to do everything that you do. And if you don’t know how it works and how to use it, well, your personal efforts will be variable. And if a group of people’s efforts are variable, often the collective will sink to some low average of effectiveness that produces mediocre results, whereas, you know, you have some teams that don’t really know how the mind works, but they’re in great spirits. They’re all wonderfully healthy people. They’re inspired. They’re excited about what they do. And they get great business results for a period of time. But then over the long run, things start to erode or they get bigger and the quality of the results starts to erode. And they’re really puzzled, why, because they think they have a great product. But what they don’t realise is that the quality of their human functioning and the way they use their mind and the way their people use their minds goes down over time. And they wonder why? They started a great business and all of a sudden it’s kind of feeling kind of flat or they’re in a big corporation and they had a great leader for a while, but now that person is gone and things are flat. So it’s because people don’t understand where their experiences are coming from, where their best qualities come from and how to keep that really fresh. Now, when you really understand how your mind works that’s what happens. You get to stay really fresh, keep clearing out whatever gets in the way and find yourself using your best intelligence. So I think that’s at the heart of the way I see it.


Ankush [00:03:50] So to summarise, what you’re saying is the reason why excellent business results are not more commonplace is that one of the most vital resources that companies, organizations, businesses have, the people, we’re often told people are the most valuable asset we have, what you’re saying is that asset is not functioning at the optimal level because people don’t understand how their mind works?


Ken [00:04:17] Right. And there’s not usually a science or a knowledge of how to keep that resource operating at its best. So there’s a lot of superstition, actually, about what helps people be at their best. But when you really understand how it works, it’s not superstition. It’s practical and logical.


Ankush [00:04:36] So my next question was going to be how do you achieve excellent business results or excellent results in business? I’m assuming you’re going to say you help people understand how the mind works. So what do we jump into that? What is it about the science of the mind that people don’t understand? Which, if they did, would fundamentally shift their bottom-line results?


Ken [00:05:01] There is new knowledge that’s come into the field of psychology and business leadership in the last twenty-five years based on the work of Sidney Banks, which I’m sure your listeners have heard of before. And this knowledge explains the basic principles or the basic functions operating in the human mind that are responsible for intelligence, clear perception, insight and wisdom. And those principles are sort of the firmware operating system, on top of which our thinking in our interactions with other people operate. A lot of the leadership training and human signs that people have been aware of are correlations and attempts to guess at what helps people be at their best. Like having a good purpose. Like having open, honest relationships with each other, like having inspiring leaders. I mean these are all good things to have. Or having personality assessments like the Myers Briggs or the Disk or Leadership Circle profile, these are all fabulous tools to understand where your strengths and weaknesses are, how to compensate for them and how to interact with each other based on these different styles. But underneath all of that is the basic operating system that people don’t really understand, and the essence of that basic operating system is that our whole experience of life is generated from the inside out, by the way that the basic principles of our mind operate, and within that set of basic operating principles is a brilliant living intelligence that is designed to generate insight, clarity and well-being, which then flows into good relationships and healthy business activities from the inside out. And when people come to understand how that actually works, a lot of the noise in business settles down and then a lot of the differences in style or strengths and weaknesses get handled in a very graceful and intelligent way within the company, naturally and effortlessly. Am I answering your question Ankush?


Ankush [00:07:48] You are, and you started to answer the next question that I had, which is could you explain a bit more about why this is a big deal? So a lot of my listeners might not know about these basic operating principles you’re talking about, so why is it a big deal that we are creating our experience from the inside out? What’s the implication of that?


Ken [00:08:11] In business one of the primary implications is that mental clarity is necessary to handle the complexity of doing business. You have your task at hand, you have people you have to interact with. You have the marketing, you have the economic forces, you have customers, you have leadership, you have layers of the organization. I mean, it’s just so much going on in business, if your head is not clear, it’s hard to keep all of that in perspective and do the right thing or to see intelligently what to be doing and to prioritise, etc.. Now, the thing that keeps people from having a clear mind is their own thinking. If it weren’t for people’s thinking they’d have a clear mind. Duh. It’s just common sense, right? Now, what is it that gets people’s minds full of thinking that is extraneous and unnecessary? Well, what fills people’s heads are a lot of reactions that they have to situations, to other people, to time, to the lack of time, to deadlines, to their to-do lists, to things that they don’t like about other people, to things they’d rather be doing, rather than being at work, etc., etc.. People’s heads are filled with all of these things and people believe that their head needs to be filled with all of those things to deal with the external environment that appears to be causing them to have all of these thoughts. But the true nature of the human mind is that there’s nothing outside of us that determines what happens inside of our thinking. It only looks like the outside world or other people or events or the past or the future can make us think certain ways or feel certain ones. When people start to understand how the mind works, they start to realise that their thinking is one hundred percent between them and them. We say this to our clients all the time. Your experience of life is between you and you, and that’s it. And if you understand how thought works and how the intelligence of the mind operates with thought, you stop blaming your people and circumstances for the quality of your thinking and for the amount of your own thinking. Then when you start to wake up to the nature of how the mind works, you start having a separateness, not a disconnection, but it changes, your relationship to what’s happening around you so you’re less reactive and it less appears that you’re at the mercy of things. Now, when you realise that, you start having a lot less thinking. And when you start thinking that’s not useful, it’s a lot easier to let go of it because you realise so-and-so who did X that you didn’t like didn’t make you have a reaction, you just did that yourself. Or you’re feeling stressed and anxious about deadlines because there’s so much to do and not enough time. You realise that all your stress and anxiety is just your own thinking clouding your mind. Whereas you’re there worrying about, you know, your family or something coming up and you see that it’s just being generated by your thinking. It’s a lot easier to let go of it if you really realise that it’s just thinking. So when people wake up to the nature of how the mind works, they stop blaming their thinking on the world and start managing it in a much healthier way on the inside. And then when people start to realise the deep intelligence operating within their mind, they start to realise that their mind is designed to have really intelligent clarity and insight all the time and when they start living with that understanding, it gives a great sense of ease, patience and faith in their own minds and in life that they will have the intelligence to respond moment to moment as things arise and when people start living in that feeling, they notice that life tends to work out really well if they have to work hard to get things done. They’ll have the energy and the insight to do it gracefully without the push and without stress. Then what happens is people start having a different life, finding themselves clear most of the time and being much more productive. Now, the reason that this is so different from other things is that a lot of other things point to these simple truths like you shouldn’t be a victim, you always have the power on the inside, when you’re inspired, you’ll be creative. And these are all true. But if you look at what the deeper understanding is behind most of those training, they’re all about how to better cope with the environment rather than to actually understand the brilliance of your system operating from the inside out, so that’s a primary difference.


Ankush [00:13:49] Do you have a case study where you have worked with an organization or a business, pointed them to how the employee’s minds work or the leadership how their minds work, which has led to a shift, really quite a tangible shift in their business results that you could speak about?


Ken [00:14:11] Yeah, sure. We had a company a large sixty-five billion-dollar company that had been operating for 100 years and they had a lot of Six Sigma training and a lot of lean manufacturing training and they had to take a billion dollars out of their operating budget. And with all of the lean and Six Sigma efforts, they couldn’t figure out how to get any more money out of what they’d been doing. They had plants all over the world, they had lots of capital issues, so the leader had heard about what we do and he brought us in to meet with his top twenty-two leaders from around the world, most of them managing different sites. And we explained to them that there is another way of looking at the human experience. Another way of understanding how the mind works and a different way of operating with each other that would enable them to find the path to that billion dollars. So we had them for four days and we showed them how the mind works from the inside out. And we show them how that frees up a great flow of insight. So they were quite cantankerous and a bit resistant and skeptical. And it was really fun, we love it when we work with skeptical people because we know that what we have to share with them is true and all they have to do is look. So we were able to show them how the mind works. And the skeptical people became really big fans and champions of what we were saying and helped lead the process. And after two days of helping them realise how their minds work in this deeper way, they organised themselves into groups to find the big areas where they might be able to find some savings, they whittled it down to five areas that looked promising, they then grouped the twenty-two people into five groups that logically went with those five different categories and spent a day and a half getting a remarkable set of insights that logically looked like they could probably save 2.4 billion dollars. Which they hadn’t seen before, they then triaged it down and set teams off to go and accomplish different things, and that year they actually made between seven to eight hundred million of savings out of that billion dollars of $2.4 billion of ideas that they had. And basically what they saw was, their minds were so filled with ideas about what they can’t do or why things won’t work or we have to always do things this way because we’ve been doing them for a hundred years and they realised that that was just all their thinking and they saw in a much deeper way how to clear their head. And really look fresh. You know what’s true now? Then what can we do about it? Really helped them get out of the box and it became a really fun, very enjoyable two days of getting insights in areas that really surprised them and it turned out a lot of the ideas were ideas that they had had before. But they didn’t see how to get out of their own way to just entertain those ideas. Was that a good example?


Ankush [00:18:17] It’s a great example. And the question that comes up for me, the question that our listeners might have is, is that kind of a, some people might be thinking to this, listening to this episode and thinking, sounds like you just had a strategy session with them. But what you’re pointing to is something deeper than that, which is to get the most out of this kind of idea session. And is that something that is sustainable? So you worked with these leaders for four days. Was that kind of like a one-off or we came up with a bunch of ideas because we used some strategies and techniques with them to see that it was just their thinking or has something fundamentally shifted for those leaders where they have ongoing more ability to access these ideas that they didn’t have before and have less busy minds?


Ken [00:19:11] Well, the leader was a big fan of what we did. So when he ran his meetings, he kept the knowledge alive, by the way he operated. And then we worked closely with all of the twenty-two people over the next six months to help them maintain what it is that they learned. And then we went with some of them into their teams to teach their teams. So some of the key teams that needed to do the work to make that money saved, we actually worked with their other teams to help their teams get out of their way, find their own insights in their areas and then implement them. So it was a year and a half process actually that we were involved with a lot of them, it wasn’t just four days. So we do a lot of follow up to keep the learning fresh and alive until it becomes more of a habit for them. When we go into companies, we commit to the result. We don’t commit to a training process.


Ankush [00:20:14] So it sounds like you’re saying you work with people until this becomes ingrained. And so the shift that you’re talking about is a sustainable shift.


Ken [00:20:24] As best we can. We commit to the result. I mean, we committed to, you know, helping this guy, Peter, get his billion dollars. Well, he was really happy with seven hundred thousand because he had pulled a billion dollars out of his hat, so, you know, when he was able to make the savings that he did, everybody was thrilled.


Ankush [00:20:45] So thank you for explaining. That was a great case study. I’m sure you have loads more with all the experience and work that you’ve done. Just to finish up today, what’s the one takeaway you want listeners to leave this episode with?


Ken [00:21:01] Well, if your listeners are new to this understanding, what I would say is there’s great news. We’ve made some new discoveries about how the mind works. And hopefully it’ll come to a theater near you sometime soon. For those of you that are somewhat familiar with this topic, what I’d say is keep looking deeper into this direction and the more you can realise the deep intelligence that’s operating from the inside out in your life, the easier and more successful, everything will become.


Ankush [00:21:39] Thank you for that, Ken and if someone’s listening to this and they’d like to get in touch with you. How might they do that?


Ken [00:21:47]  You can email me at, or my partner Robin at Or you can look at our Website, which is If you’re a coach or a consultant and you’re interested in learning more about this, we have another business, we have a training business called the Insight Principles Institute. And you can look that up at


Ankush [00:22:17] Thank you very much, Ken. Thank you for joining us. And I’ll include all those details in the show notes. And I’ll be back next time with another interviewee to talk about another topic relevant to business.


Ken [00:22:31] Thanks for having me Ankush, this was fun.


Ankush [00:22:35] Thanks for listening to the Business Series Podcast. If you want to hear more, you can click on the subscribe button below. You can share this with someone else who could benefit or you can like it and encourage others to listen. Also, it would be great if you left a comment below as I love hearing from listeners and I want to keep creating great content for you. Thanks for listening.