Bootcamp & Battle Scars – Stress less!

Frontier firms are early adopters of technology and innovation. This requires building organisational capability to prosper in an environment of constant change. In this episode we explore the human dimension of technology and change.

We’re talking stress, resilience and pressure with Dr Lehan Stemmet, who is passionate about how people deal with the challenges they face, the coping strategies they engage in and the neuroscience behind it. Lehan, Adrian and Greg explore adoption of technology, the impact it has on those using it and some of the cultural by-products that come as a result of the transition to a digitally integrated world.

Ultimately the use of technology should make life a little bit easier, help solve problems, make us more mobile, or able to do our work faster or more effectively and efficiently. However, more so than ever, technology and our interaction with it can seem interminable, and that pressure can come at a cost. 

From the individual’s perspective that price is burnout, and at an organizational level the costs are not just to the bottom line, they can manifest as lack of trust, shifts in culture and in productivity. Burnout can be difficult to identify, especially in individuals who are passionate about their work. Lehan’s telltale sign is rest, he asks, are they stopping to take breaks?

“People who work with technology are often very intelligent people, they work with their minds. And the reality is if we don’t rest, that mind cannot work. And if we’re constantly stressed, that definitely doesn’t work. And so, if you want to be effective in your job as somebody working in technology, it’s almost your job to make sure that you’ve got the mental capacity and the reserves in place to be as effective as you possibly can to solve those complicated problems through technology and with technology and for technology.”

Ideally it is up to the individual to work out how best they interact with technology and to set their boundaries around when to switch off. However, to have leadership and management show best practice examples or set expectations to switch off, can be invaluable. 

Lehan likens technology to a building tool “if I use any tool in the wrong way I could get an injury, right, I could use a hammer in the wrong way and hit myself on the thumb, and that’s pretty painful. And technology is no different, it’s just the difference is technology hurts us in here [points to head], rather than on our thumb, and I think it’s because it’s in our brain, and we spend so much time with it, thinking through it, checking on it, and not really resting our mind. I think that’s probably where some of the big problems are starting to emerge.”

“We’ve got to realize that the technology is there for us, we’re not here for it. If we change the equation in any way, then technology will always become a threat,” adds Lehan. However, if we get the balance right, and technology does free up time, or make parts of a job redundant then it opens up a plethora of opportunities. Utilising the time and people with the skills as best as possible, encouraging them to think creatively, to come up with new ideas, to be more innovative will ultimately result in a more agile and successful business. Furthermore, applying these resources not only for your own organisation but also in support of suppliers, clients, or the wider ecosystem will drive that success out, to the community and further afield. 

Dr Lehan wears a number of hats, currently he is President at Auckland Institute of Studies and is Director of his own company DWI Ltd (an acronym for “Deal With It” and Do What Inspires”) where he shares his experience in personal and organisational development leadership, resilience and neuroscience. If you would like to know more about topics Lehan touches on in this episode, he has abundance of resources, research, and content on his website and free iphone and android app. Or you can contact him through LinkedIn.

Bootcamp & Battle Scars - Stress Less is available on Spotify and YouTube. If you or your organization are keen to join the Bootcamp and Battle Scars conversation or you have a question for any of the team, drop us a line at and we'll be in touch!