How sensitive is your brain to change?

Posted on February 5, 2015. Filed under: Our Leaders Say | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

This week, Martin Turnbull, an independent learning and development consultant based in Brisbane and a graduate of neuresource group’s Diploma of the Neuroscience of Leadership, looks at how the human brain responds to change and why making a change can be so difficult.


 

image credit: RG Daniel

Image credit: RG Daniel

 

When it comes to organisational change, we like to think of change as beneficial. We strive to embrace the new way of doing business, and actively encourage colleagues and staff to do so as well. Unfortunately, many tend to reject change outright. In general, this happens because of the internal stress and anxiety triggered by uncertainty: we worry about how change might affect our comfortable, predictable world, and this makes us resistant.

Evidence from neuroscience and psychology studies reveals that our view of the world depends on a combination of the common way our brains have evolved and the growth of unique neural networks influenced by inherited traits, environmental factors, and our experiences. This unique combination gives rise to substantial behavioural differences — even among individuals from the same environment who experience the same events.

This insight is important for leaders who are embarking on organisational change. A key element in any organisational change process is communicating requirements to those who will be affected. Looking at this through a neuroscience lens, we see that, at the physical level, change messages are received by sensory inputs, passing through the central nervous system to the brain to be decoded and acted on. One of the first areas to receive sensory signals is the limbic system where the amygdala, reacting to emotional content of the decoded message, prepares our body to fight or flee by altering our biochemistry if the change is interpreted as threatening. Signals continue to spread neuron-to-neuron through the actions of hormones, bioelectric signals, and neurotransmitters to many brain areas, communicating and combining with physical and emotional responses that precede conscious thought.

This tidal wave of action passing through different parts of the brain eventually reaches the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) — the executive controller of our working memory — where it’s evaluated. Based on our internal traits and our stored memories, the PFC makes a judgement call, thus contributing to future thoughts and emotions as we transfer and project existing memories onto new thoughts to match our expectations, needs, and beliefs.

What we perceive as real includes not just a representation of the stimulus world but also that which our psyche adds to or subtracts from as it is translated into new actions and memories, all of which give rise to our unique reconstruction of the external world. However, by the time conscious thought and decision making are possible, our brain may have already settled on an initial course of action.

Unfortunately, in the case of change management strategies, this type of emotion-laden action may produce responses counter to the changes you’re hoping to enact.

Something else to consider is an individual’s innate ‘approach’ or ‘avoidance’ bias, which is due to differences within their septo-hippocampal system and PFC and may dramatically influence the acceptance of change plans. There have been numerous studies on these behaviours that attempt to explain and measure individual differences of approach or avoidance personality traits. Perhaps the most influential is a theory proposed by Jeffrey Gray describing behaviours that are thought to be governed by separate approach and avoidance systems within the brain. Gray’s theory (known as the revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (r-RST)  suggests that individual differences in innate approach-avoidance traits are affected by three systems:

  1.  The Behavioural Approach System (BAS) comprises personality traits of optimism, reward-orientation, and impulsiveness, consistent with extroversion
  2. The Behavioural Inhibition System (BIS) is responsible for the resolution of goal conflict through the assessment of uncertainty and risk using input from memory and the environment
  3. The Fight-Flight-Freeze System (FFFS) is responsible for mediating reactions to all aversive stimuli, including fear, to reduce the difference between threat and safety

If we view the relationship between innate approach-avoidance traits and an individual’s initial reaction to change, in terms of the r-RST, it’s possible an individual will react in one of four ways as depicted in Figure 1:

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Figure 1

A.  Those with ‘approach’ personality traits, who initially reject change, typically vocalise their dissent and openly criticise and undermine the change strategy. They do not see any reward in changing and will fight to retain the status quo. This type need convincing through messages framed with positive language to activate approach actions towards accepting change.

Your skills make you a valuable employee and a key player in the roll out of the new computer system. Your support will be essential in helping others to adapt and together we can be competitive and deliver better outcomes for our customers.

 

B.  Those with avoidance traits, who initially fear change, are likely to experience levels of anxiety due to internal conflict and uncertainty that inhibits movement towards change. By playing upon this group’s innate pessimistic outlook it’s possible to create motivating messages using avoidance framed language emphasising that not changing is clearly a greater threat than the change itself.

I know you are concerned about the forthcoming introduction of the new computer system and the extra work that will be initially required. However, we need you to start developing a personal change plan as soon as possible to ensure that the roll-out in your area goes smoothly. Failure to do this will mean we risk losing our competitive edge and let down our customers, which will certainly lead us to downsize

C.   Those with approach traits, who initially embrace change, actively seek and facilitate change and pose few, if any, problems for change managers. The more extroverted ones can be put to good use as ‘change evangelists’ to influence those who are undecided or not fully committed to accept change — the ‘fence sitters’ who are easier to move in the right direction than those who reject change outright.

D.  Those with avoidance traits, who recognise the need for change, tend to react easily to aversive stimuli thus recognising that stagnation is a greater threat than change. This type needs reassuring throughout the process that change is still the better option. One way of doing this is to celebrate any short term wins so as to make change goals appear closer and the threat of not changing to appear further away.

The Motivation-Trait Model uses our current understanding of r-RST approach-avoidance processes to understand why certain individuals either embrace or avoid change and encourage behaviours that recognise and react to threats in appropriate ways, rather than rejecting change, being too frightened to act, or not knowing what to do.

By knowing your team well and having a clear understanding of the underlying factors at play and how each innately responds to the idea of change, you are in a better position to manage an organisational change plan. And you are also more likely to succeed.

This article is based on the paper Turnbull, M. (2015). A Model of Motivation for Facilitating Sustainable Change. Neuroleadeship Journal Volume 5, (January 2015).

List of References


Martin Turnbull Martin Turnbull is an independent learning and development consultant based in Brisbane, Australia, with an interest in the practical application of outcomes from the fields of organisational development, positive psychology, and neuroscience. Martin holds a number of qualifications, including Master of Education (Leadership & Management), Bachelor of Arts in Adult Education, Diploma and Post-Graduate Certificate in Project Management, as well as other credentials within the Australian Qualifications Framework. Martin is a graduate of the first cohort of neuresource group’s Diploma of the Neuroscience of Leadership in 2012.

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How does your engagement measurement stack up?

Posted on November 28, 2014. Filed under: Human Capital, Linda Ray, Practical Strategies, Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

In this post, Linda Ray, co-founder and co-director of neuresource group,  shares our tools for building a high performing organisation with a sustainably engaged workforce.


According to Gallup’s 142 country study on the State of the Global workforce only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work http://www.gallup.com/poll/165269/worldwide-employees-engaged-work.aspx

Whilst Australia and New Zealand are above the world average at 24% measured as engaged, there is clearly room to improve given 60% are identified as not engaged and 16% as actively disengaged.

Engagement levels Gallup

We know that when people are not engaged they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort. Those actively disengaged negatively impact on co-workers through emotion contagion. Many organisations measure engagement via the once per year survey and then spend a couple of months analysing the data. Clearly we need to do something differently. The reality is we used to talk about morale but engagement comes largely from inside of us and is influenced by factors outside of work. Financial stress and increasing pressures to do more with less impact on engagement. We also know that leaders influence the engagement climate as do business practices.

There are recognised keys to operating as a high performing organisation with a sustainably engaged workforce. We did a lot of thinking about this and have been influenced significantly by insights from neuroscience, particularly the ideas that the key organising principle of the brain is to minimise threat and maximise reward and the notion that the brain is a social organ.

In our work with businesses we share Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle model and consistently find that, while organisations can talk about their ‘what’ and ‘how’, rarely have they clearly articulated their ‘why’.  Most organisations and businesses mistakenly believe their ‘why’ is captured by their mission statement. When your people buy the business ‘why’ and feel connected to it, they will be more motivated to put in discretionary effort. We do a lot of work with organisations to help them think through and articulate a shared ‘why’.  We use a simple model in our work called the STEAR model.

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In the STEAR model there are 5 key areas to pay attention to.

The first of these is to understand your strategy. Do you know your ‘why’ – why you do what you do – and are all the people in your organisation aligned to your’ why’? It is the purpose of the business and it is not about what you do but rather why you exist.

The second area is looking at the talent of your people. Have you got the right people doing the right things? We know when you can align people’s natural talents with things they like doing they will be more engaged. Do you have a development strategy for growing the capability of you staff?

Are your people consistently in a high state of engagement?  Do they love what they do?  Do you have practices that measure engagement regularly?

We are in a time of constant change. Times of change require us to demonstrate agility in order to prosper. How change agile are your people? What is your plan for managing change fatigue?

Finally we all need a clear roadmap. Do your people know what they have to do everyday to support your ‘why’? This links back to your purpose and your strategy. A leader/business owner needs to be mindful of all of these areas.

Focussing attention solely on the engagement, in isolation from the other key components that impact on engagement, is unlikely to change the levels of engagement.

In earlier blogs we have shared our 3 E’s model.  We are using our platform Neu360 which supports a business to do quick pulse surveys to check in with their people to determine engagement ‘hotspots’. This is much more effective than the once a year survey and may mean we can intervene in a much more timely manner to address any issues that may be resulting in low morale and low engagement. What are you doing in your business to support engagement? How are you STEARing your organisation and are you paying attention to all of the areas that support a high performing organisation?


 

 

Linda-Ray

Linda is the Managing Director of NeuroCapability and the co-founder/director of neuresource group. These organisations are playing key roles in developing a new generation of thinking leaders through delivery of the Diploma of Neuroscience of Leadership and other innovative programs informed by neuroscience. Linda is gaining recognition both in Australia and internationally as a thought leader in the neuroleadership field. She is actively contributing to the body of knowledge that supports the building of individual and organisational ‘neurocapability’.

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This is your brain on long meetings…

Posted on June 26, 2014. Filed under: Attention Matters, Linda Ray | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Linda Ray, the co-founder and co-director of neuresource group, coined the term “attentional intelligence” in 2012. In this post, she looks at the reasons long meetings get in the way of productivity and what can be done about it.

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On a good day, you wake up rested and raring to go. You make a mental list of things to do during your commute and, by the time you walk through the door of the office, you are clear about what needs to get accomplished and in what order.  There’s only one problem: the early morning meeting that usually runs overtime. Your mood deflates and your momentum screeches to a halt. Not only that, you may not regain momentum for some time after the meeting has ended – if you regain it all all.

Your brain on long meetings

The brain is easily exhausted. Our brains frequently shift its focus between external events and internal memories and interests. It’s designed this way in order to consolidate learning and long-term memory. However, every time you focus your attention you use a measurable amount of glucose and other metablic resources. This makes attention a limited resource.  Long meetings have the effect of exhausting cognitive reserves. Focus decreases as the meeting drags on. Unfortunately, the brain requires regular replenishment to retain attention and to remain engaged.

Crammed agendas are overwhelming. When faced with a daunting agenda, the default is for people to look at their watches. Attention is on the time rather than on the discussion at hand. Eyes glaze over. People stop listening, begin to doodle, think of the weekend. All of this hampers productivity.

The brain wants assignments that are achievable. Too often, meetings are used as a way of generating ideas rather than actions. But the brain wants certainty and is always looking for the reward of breaking down tasks into manageable chunks – a to-do list that can be completed to a schedule and in good order.

Emotions are contagious. The recent discovery of mirror neurones explains the phenomenon we’ve all experienced: when one person begins to yawn, people nearby begin yawning too. All it takes is one sleepy or fidgety person in a meeting to affect everyone around the table.

Efficiency can hinder productivity. When brains come together, they can accomplish great things – but trying to silo a group’s efforts into agenda chunks isn’t the best way to realise that greatness.  People need time to coalesce around an idea, to work it like clay, and to test different ways of making it happen.

Focusing on numbers saps creativity. If everyone believes that the real reason for the meeting is to figure out how to ‘make the numbers’, creativity is sapped before the meeting even begins. Structuring meetings around financial performance metrics is not a good way to motivate people. Ideas are motivating. Developing and nurturing ideas will ultimately lead to making the numbers. Sadly, conventional meetings almost always have this backwards.

Meeting to prepare for the next meeting is not rewarding. Since our brains are reward-driven organs, knowing that the follow-on reward for spending all this time in a meeting is simply to have another meeting is not at all motivating.

7 things you can do about it

half-time-meetingsImplement a block on early meetings. Take the first hour of the day and throw it out the window – for meetings, at least. By refusing early meetings, you can spend time prioritising your to-do lists, including prioritising which meetings are actually necessary. You might be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you free your mornings for planning.

Take breaks. Focusing for an hour to an hour and a half can be exhausting for our brains.  Our brains gets depleted, start making errors, and we may grow irritable – not the best formula for planning and making decisions. Short breaks, even if they’re only a couple minutes, offer some much needed rejuvenation.

There’s a catch to making those breaks effective, however. Don’t use break time to email your boss or sign off on a report or discuss team goals with a colleague. To help your brain recover from absorbing an hour of PowerPoint slides, try to forget about work during your break.

Look for novelty. If you find yourself bored in a meeting, try – really try – to find something interesting going on in the room. You can train your brain to look for novelty in what’s happening around you, something that both lengthens your  attention span and gives you better control over it. Look at the people around the table and try to imagine something interesting and positive about them.

Remember the purpose of the meeting. As you fixate on details, wade through different viewpoints and perhaps lament over that to-do list, it may be easy to forget the point of the meeting. Think back to the meaning of the meeting, and ask, ‘Why are we doing this?’. Whenever you find your attention is wavering, remember why you’re there. Write it down in your notepad. By examining the cause of the meeting, you may find yourself “considering it a privilege rather than a duty.”

Go back to the basics. Engage in the meeting, whether it’s asking questions, proposing ideas, or at the very least, taking notes. It’s also a good idea to leave phones at desks in in handbags in order to avoid distraction. Bouncing back from a single distraction can take several minutes.  It’s also useful to practice active listening skills.

Snack and hydrate. Bring water to meetings and snack wisely beforehand. Say no to high-carbohydrate, high-energy density foods that will tempt you to rest your eyes (just for a second!) a few minutes into the meeting. Opt instead for healthy fruits, vegetables, and trail mix.

Make them shorter and more frequent. Incorporate daily or twice weekly 10-minute standing meetings into your workplace. Ideally, the 10-minute standing meeting has an agenda of no more than four items. This works nicely with our brains preference for chunking information. Also, the fact that people are standing rather than sitting helps. Your blood circulation increases. Standing is also mentally revitalising, making you sharper and more aware. What seems like an insurmountable pile of paperwork when you’re sitting down appears suddenly manageable while standing. Standing can even improve motivation, morale, and mood.

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Linda is the Managing Director of NeuroCapability and the co-founder/director of neuresource groupThese organisations are playing key roles in developing a new generation of thinking leaders through delivery of the Diploma of Neuroscience of Leadership and other innovative programs informed by neuroscience.  Linda is gaining recognition both in Australia and internationally as a thought leader in the neuroleadership field.  She is actively contributing to the body of knowledge that supports the building of individual and organisational ‘neurocapability’

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Disconnect: what science knows versus what business does

Posted on June 23, 2014. Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , |

 

Gold_Coast_Convention_and_Exhibition_Centre

2014 National Retailers Association Conference Jupiters Hotel & Casino, Gold Coast

 

On the weekend of June 14-15, 2014, Linda Ray and Tara Neven, co-founders and co-directors of neuresource group, headed down to Jupiters Hotel & Casino on the Gold Coast for the National Retailers Association (NRA) Conference. Both had important roles to fill –  Neven as the conference host and Ray as an ‘Insight’ speaker.

The summit was the first of its kind for the National Retailers Association with a specific focus on “people and operations development” (also known as POD). The POD concept provides a unique platform for applying groundbreaking ideas to the world of retail –  and, for that matter, event management.

Neven said. “I’ve been very impressed with how acute and far-sighted the organisers have been to include some of our ideas in order to make the summit more brain-friendly. This includes offering brain-friendly food, delivering content in ‘chunks’, and giving practical applications as to how neuroscience can change the way people work.”

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Linda Ray

Ray’s keynote address focused on the disconnect between what science knows and what business does. For example, in order for people to remain productive, people need to be kept in a ‘reward’ state. This isn’t necessarily about money or accolades, rather, it refers to how the brain is organised.  At any given moment, we can be either calm and engaged, moving towards an experience, or we can feel threatened and want to move away from an experience –  in other words, so stressed we feel pushed into a fight or flight state. The problem is that many workplaces are set up in such a way that people are kept uncertain, worried about status, with little autonomy. A command-and-control hierarchy actually prevents people from being productive.

Science tells us that we can do only one thing at a time, and yet more and more demands are heaped on our heads. We are asked to do more with less support. Time is fractured by long meetings and constant interruptions. Multitasking is a myth and yet many businesses require their employees to switch tasks all day long. Not only does this tire the brain, leading to increasing ineffectiveness, but it can take up to 23 minutes to get back into the thinking space you were in before the interruption.

“It’s a wonder we get anything done at all,” Ray says.

She has a solution, however. Science has shown that adjusting one’s attention can have a big impact on focus. Being aware of your awareness builds ‘attentional intelligence’, a term Ray coined in 2012. She defines attentional Intelligence is an intelligence which when highly developed allows you to effortlessly but ‘mindfully’ notice where your attention is at any moment and to intentionally choose where you want it to be.

“The problem is,” Ray adds, “most workplaces are hives of distraction. We need to find ways to offer quiet spaces for long stretches of time, as well as open areas for meetings and social connections.”

The brain-friendly organisation accommodates all kinds of work tasks and all types of work preferences.

We know from science that the brain resists change.  However, many businesses are constantly seeking new ways of doing things, often implementing change plans without considering that employees feel stressed when changes are announced and they are naturally designed to revert to old ways of doing things when they feel stress. Handled the wrong way –  by not considering the neuroscience of change, in other words –  means a change plan is set for failure even before it’s been implemented.

“The paradox is that the brain is highly plastic throughout our lives, so we know we can change. We just have to get the formula right, Ray says.

It can take anywhere from 18 – 236 days for a planned change  to become a habit. It is no wonder, then, that a big issue facing organisations attempting to implement a change plan is that change doesn’t always happen to the proposed schedule and it doesn’t always ‘stick’. Even when employees are well-prepared and amenable, it’s still important to communicate openly (avoiding threat states), focus on areas of resistance (developing emotional intelligence), and remain patient. In time, brains can be rewired to accept new processes and procedures in ways that are sustainable over the long-term.

Ray left the audience with a final question: “What can you do when you get back to work to address the disconnect between what science knows and what your business does?”

She suggests it might be time to do something different.

“All of the speakers offered solid insights and emphasised  that engagement, vulnerability, and a focus on increasing the number of women in senior leadership were the way forward,” adds Neven. “And we think the best way to do this is to use what we’re learning from neuroscience in our business practices.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Balancing act: the neuroscience of negotiation

Posted on June 12, 2014. Filed under: Our Leaders Say | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

Adair Jones, a Brainwaves for Leaders staff writer, looks at what we can learn from neurobiology in order to improve negotiation and mediation processes. 

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Emotions are central

In Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain (1995)neuroscientist Antonio Damasio outlined a groundbreaking discovery. He studied people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated. He found that they seemed normal, except that they were not able to feel emotions. But they all had something peculiar in common: they also couldn’t make decisions. They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it very difficult to make even simple decisions. This means that even when we believe we are motivated by logic, the very point of making a decision is based on emotion. Damasio’s discovery has had a profound impact on those who are involved with negotiation and mediation processes.

Jim Camp, the founder and CEO of The Camp Negotiation Institute, believes that:

In general, if you can get the other party to reveal their problems, pain, and unmet objectives, then you can build a vision for them of their problem, with you and your proposal as the solution. They won’t make their decision because it is logical. They’ll make their decision because you have helped them feel that it’s to their advantage to do so.

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Ten neuro-principles of the negotiation process

Building on Damasio’s work, mediation specialist  Jeremy Lack and his colleague François Bogacz, an expert negotiator, posit ten ‘neuro-principles’ that influence negotiation and dispute resolution situations:

    1.  We consume our brain’s resources efficiently, and create patterns/scripts/memories
    2.  We predict according to our patterns/scripts/memories
    3.  We are conditioned to avoid and be far more sensitive to danger/fear than to  reward/pleasure, which we seek 
    4.  We first perceive via emotions (unconsciously) before being able to self-regulate (consciously or by habit)
    5.  We seek safe or comfortable status positions at all times
    6.  We relate and empathise in-group (but not ‘out-of-group’)
    7.  We believe in ‘fairness’ and react negatively to ‘unfair’ behavior
    8.  We need autonomy/feelings of autonomy and feel/suffer if it is lost
    9.  Our ‘social’ stimuli are as powerful as our ‘physical’ ones
    10.  We operate cognitively in two gears (‘reflexive’& ‘refleCtive’ modes) but tend to favour X-mode

According to their research, these principles have practical implications for the way negotiators can prepare, generate options, and seek compliance.They also reveal insight into how mediators and leaders can best intervene in conflict prevention and resolution processes.

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The cognitive bias effect

Since all information is perceived, filtered, distorted, and framed according to individual patterns, scripts, and memories, and since decisions are based on emotions, cognitive bias plays a huge role in how negotiations unfold. Bias can take many forms, but there are those that directly affect negotiation, ranging from an irrational escalation of commitment to the mythical belief that the issues under negotiation are all fixed to the process of reactive devaluation.

For example, initial commitments may become set in stone, and a desire for consistency prevents negotiators from changing them. This desire for consistency is often exacerbated by a desire to save face or to maintain an impression of expertise or control in front of others. No one likes to admit error or failure, especially when the other party may perceive doing so as a weakness. And then, all too often, negotiators approach negotiation opportunities as zero-sum situations or win–lose exchanges. They assume there is no possibility for integrative settlements or mutually beneficial trade-offs, and they suppress efforts to search for them. Reactive devaluation is the process of devaluing the other party’s concessions. The very offer of a particular proposal or concession — especially if the offer comes from an adversary — may diminish its apparent value or attractiveness in the eyes of the recipient.

As you can see, each of the biases described above could potentially operate as a significant barrier to agreement. And these are only a few of the cognitive and psychological factors at play in a given negotiation process. (See our comprehensive list of cognitive biases.)

Gender matters

15_Glass_Ceiling_6045There’s another aspect worth noting. For all the advances women have made in the workplace, when it comes to negotiation unconscious bias works against women more than it does men.

Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In and the chief operating officer of Facebook, recognises the difficulties of negotiation. However, she urges women not to be paralysed by fear but to take direct actions in their own best interest.  Nevertheless, many psychologists who study the role of gender in negotiation advise otherwise.

This type of caution is confirmed by Hannah Riley Bowles, a senior lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the director of the Women and Power program, who has been researching gender effects on negotiation. Using the results of laboratory studies, case studies, and extensive interviews with executives and employees in diverse fields, she concludes that our implicit gender perceptions mean that much of the advice women are given may not have the intended effect. As much as we hear that women should stand up for themselves and assert their position strongly in negotiations, it can and often does backfire.

In several studies, Bowles and her colleagues found that people penalised women who initiated negotiations for higher compensation more than they did men. According to an article by Maria Konnikova for The New Yorker, “the effect held whether they saw the negotiation on video or read about it on paper, whether they viewed it from a disinterested third-party perspective or imagined themselves as senior managers in a corporation evaluating an internal candidate.”

A delicate balancing act

So what can be done?

Lack and Bogacz offer some suggestions. First, priming, framing or reformulating are very important, as they offer ways to shape how initial patterns of behavior and negotiations unfold. Even the use of a single word – like keep instead of lose – in the presentation of options can unconsciously influence the conscious choices people make. Furthermore, in addition to words, we need to be conscious of the para-verbal and non-verbal communications that pervade negotiations and group dynamics.

Lack advances a view of mediation that tries to take neurobiology into account, claiming that it is not simply facilitated negotiation, but a facilitated social, emotional, and cognitive process. He considers the social and in-group scripts that are triggered by the process itself to be a key concern and feels that attention should be given to  how participants are primed and prepared for coming into the process.

In the words of mediator David Plant (who died in 2012), “We have to start by defining the process as part of the problem.” We need to be aware of human tendencies and how they might influence negotiation. And, finally, we need to be aware of how our own perceptions influence outcomes and how the process itself can trigger first impressions and affect the participants’ social scripts and patterns.

Emotions and emotional intelligence should be seen as central to effective negotiation, rather than something to be overcome. Teasing out which cognitive biases might be involved in a given situation is also critical. It’s a delicate, sometimes perilous balancing act – there are just too many complex variables involved. By applying what we are learning from neuroscience, however, we may arrive at the negotiating table with an advantage.

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Adair Jones is a writing and communications expert with over 20 years experience. She contributes regularly to newspapers, magazines and online journals and has won awards for her fiction. Writing about developments in neuroscience is her latest passion.

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Professional flow in the brain-friendly workplace

Posted on June 5, 2014. Filed under: Interesting Articles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Dr. Erika Garms transforms theory into practical, exciting tools and strategies for professionals.  Her focus is to incorporate brain science research into existing workplace practices to yield lasting behavior change and learning. In this article, she looks at how getting in a flow state engenders deep engagement, something that positively impacts organisational productivity.

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I would venture to guess that most of you have experienced the feeling of being “in the zone” with your professional work. By that I mean feeling perfectly challenged so that you are engaged, just slightly pulled outside of your comfort zone, and also supported in your learning and risk-taking. Perhaps you felt this when you took a lead role in an area in which you were less familiar, or on a project that represented some newness or risk to you. You may have been “in the zone” after having intentionally learned and practiced a skill.

Professor and author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi refers to this beautiful balance in the place between challenge and anxiety as being “in flow.” When we can pinpoint for ourselves what kind of external and internal factors have allowed for us to be in “flow” in the past, we may be able to re-create this zone. I think I’ve done that, and I want to share with you what this zone is for me, as a preface to a four-part Human Capital Community of Practice blog series on brain-friendly workplaces.

Throughout my career, I have needed to understand why things worked, or didn’t. It isn’t comfortable—or self-respecting—to me to grab a popular teaching method or a culture change system (for example) and impose it onto learners or employees in good faith. There were times at meetings with colleagues that I know I was the oddball, having not yet started to use an approach that everyone else had incorporated into their work environments. But unless I knew that the approach was safe—that the intended and unintended outcomes of trying it out would not harm people consciously or subconsciously—I didn’t feel it was in good conscience to use it.

Concern for organisation and individual

Though at first blush it may seem at odds with the organizational effectiveness focus, humanness in the workplace has also been extremely important to me since I first set foot in the labour pool. The compelling central idea for me has been that workplaces and the people within them must treat each other with respect, first and foremost. With record high use of short-term disability leave and worker’s compensation for anxiety and depression in the workplace, a sharp rise in workplace bullying, and mind-numbing malaise and disconnection, those in today’s workforce need support.

I’d used brain science for decades in learning contexts, but when I began to integrate brain science with management theory, change theory, leadership theory, and organisational behavior, my head exploded (in a good way). Now, after working at the intersection of neuroscience, sociology, learning, and organisation development for years, I can tell you with certainty that this is my “super-flow” zone. In this line of study and work, I get to apply research from connected fields of study to individuals to help them grow and change. I also am fortunate to take a whole system organisation view to bring positive change to entire workplaces, which is very fulfilling. And even more broadly, from my little spot in the world, I feel that I am contributing useful ideas and practices to help the morphing shape of work and the workplace in a time when people and their organisations are struggling in many ways.

Introducing brain-friendliness

In The Brain-Friendly Workplace: Five Big Ideas From Neuroscience That Address Organizational Challenges (ASTD Press, 2014), I define brain-friendly workplaces as organisations where people are able to do their best thinking and produce great work in vibrant, healthy environments.

I’ll lay out the ideas behind brain-friendliness here, and invite your comments in response. Brain-friendliness in the workplace combines tenets of good management, effective leadership, organisational health and wellbeing, positive and productive cultures, and humanity and respect. It is equal parts organisation effectiveness and positive psychology. While it can start in one work group, it is ideal when the entire organisational culture has embraced the foundations of brain-friendliness and the principles are embedded at all levels.

Personal interaction habits

Though it is better to have some work groups practicing brain-friendliness than none at all, it can also be anxiety-producing to our brains to witness misalignments within an organisation. Have you worked in a company where leadership touted a set of particular values, but in action, the rewards and performance management systems reinforced very different kinds of values and behaviors? This is internal contradiction, and it generates distrust. Distrust engenders disengagement. Disengagement kills productivity, and the whole organisation’s success metrics suffer.

Brain-friendly workplaces make practical use of the neuroscience that shows us how we make sense of information; how we interpret language; how we move toward goals; how we change and learn; and how to manage our own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Informed by the field of neuroleadership, brain-friendly workplaces also have a point of view about collaboration and decision-making that informs certain routines and procedures.

As we’ll see in next week’s blog post, brain-friendly workplaces share some characteristics with organisations that boast high employee engagement or high productivity. Stay tuned!

 

This article, the first in an ongoing series, was first published on the ASTD blog in April 2014.

 

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erika garms copyDr. Erika Garms transforms theory into practical, exciting tools and strategies for professionals.  Erika works with learning and development and organization development practitioners to incorporate brain science research into their existing approaches to yield lasting behavior change and learning. She helps business leaders and managers shape brain-friendly workplaces where people can do their best work, work effectively together on high-performing teams, and maintain healthy and thriving work environments.

Erika considers herself both a humanist and a social scientist, intrigued by blending the art and science of learning, performance, and change. Erika earned her BA and MA from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a PhD from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She completed a post-graduate program in neuroscience of leadership from the NeuroLeadership Insitute and University of Sussex.  Erika also leads the Minneapolis-St. Paul NeuroLeadership Institute Local Interest Group, one of just a handful in the U.S. at this time. Erika is a regular workshop, keynote, retreat, and breakout session speaker.

 

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Design thinking: solving problems and building an innovation culture

Posted on May 29, 2014. Filed under: Human Capital, Tara Neven | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Tara Neven, co-founder and director of neuresource group and an expert on human capital and organisational change, looks at how design thinking fits in with what we are learning about the brain and how it offers an integrated approach to problem solving in the workplace.

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A new way of tackling problems

Traditionally, when a problem is identified in an organisation, a team is assembled, a brainstorming session organised, and solutions decided on. The team members then return to their various departments charged with the task of imposing the ‘solutions’ on the rest of the employees. No matter how enthusiastic the decision-makers or how sound the decisions, there is usually a great deal of resistance to new ways of doing things.

What we are learning from neuroscience explains why this happens: while the brain likes novelty, it is also designed to conserve resources. And new ways of doing things can be cognitively taxing.  In general, people don’t like change and experience it with varying degrees of threat. For those who feel high degrees of threat when faced with change, enacting it with any consistency is nearly impossible. They will always resort to old behaviours because that’s what feels most comfortable.

There is another way to approach problem solving, however. The following principles set the stage:

    • People have the right to participation.
    • Decision-makers have a social responsibility to others.
    • Everyone is an expert at something.
    • Participation creates ownership of the product or outcome.

Sounds straightforward, right?

These basic ideas are behind the framework known as participatory design – design thinking, in other words –   and it’s actually a radical approach when applied to problem solving in the business context.

In participatory design, the decision-makers, users, and even the wider public are all recognised as stakeholders and are brought into the process of designing solutions to problems. These leads to divergent thinking, unexpected solutions, and new ideas that have not previously existed.

Design thinking originated in the sciences and was initially used in design and visual engineering. It was promoted as a tool for business by IDEO CEO Tim Brown in early 2000. Stanford University and other learning institutions have refined the design thinking process so that it can now be used in any solution-creating scenario in the workplace.

There is an added benefit to incorporating this new way of approaching problem solving. You set the groundwork for establishing a culture of innovation, which will help to make your organisation more receptive to changes and more agile when faced with challenges.

Greater organisational resilience and change agility

Over the past decade, I’ve worked with corporate organisations and reviewed many case studies of successful companies in some of the world’s most turbulent geographical and service markets. What has really impressed me is that the key underlying need in organisations today is change agility and the flexibility to cope with the unexpected. Change in organisations can be dealt with in may ways and in essence it will always involve a multi-tiered solution, however, cultivating an innovation culture is one of the paramount factors for building change agility and resilience in organisations.

Design thinking offers a great framework for supporting and building innovation. This framework takes the view that radical collaboration and a solutions-based thinking process can be used in organisations not only to tackle entrenched problems, but to create a culture that is better prepared for the fluctuations of an increasingly complex global marketplace. It’s a formal method for practically and creatively dealing with major issues and unanticipated challenges.

5_tips_580pxThe most common way to employ design thinking is to use a 5-step process:

    • empathise
    • define
    • ideate
    • prototype
    • test

 

 

Within each of these steps, problems can be framed, the right questions asked, more ideas generated, and the best answers can be chosen. The steps aren’t linear; they can occur simultaneously and can be repeated as needed. The time frame for each step and between each step can and will vary depending on the problem, particularly if what you’re dealing with is a ‘wicked’ question.

The key  in any problem solving or discussion process in your business is to start off with a strong curiosity about something. This will allow you to experience the kind of deep empathy you need to feel not only for the right outcome but also for the people the solution will affect. Once you have that, you are on your way to defining the parameters and outlining the features of the issue, and you can then begin to ‘ideate’ a solution.

Design thinking (unlike other problem solving approaches) goes deeper than a purely rational approach.

As Brown states: “It relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognise patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional and to express ourselves through means beyond words or symbols… Nobody wants to run an organisation on feeling, intuition and inspiration, but an over-reliance on the rational and the analytical can be just as risky. Design thinking provides an integrated third way.”

 

Watch Tim Brown’s TEDTalk on ‘design thinking’:

 

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Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 9.23.30 AMTara Neven is the co-founder/director of neuresource group.  As an entrepreneur, business strategist, facilitator, learning and development, and collective leadership specialist, Tara has over 15 years experience in corporate learning and development, education, business growth and organisational development. The last 10 years of this experience has been in remote and regional areas of Australia. Tara’s primary industry experience has been in the mining and resource sector, construction, local government and medium-to-large organisations.

 

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Attention and the brain’s anti-distraction mechanism

Posted on May 15, 2014. Filed under: Attention Matters, Linda Ray | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Linda Ray, the co-founder and co-director of neuresource group, coined the term “attentional intelligence” in 2012. In this post, she looks at a recent study that shows the brain has a built-in anti-distraction mechanism, which assists us in maintaining focus.

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Where's Waldo?

Where’s Waldo?

 

 

New research

Something as simple as picking out a face in the crowd is actually quite a complicated task: Your brain has to retrieve the memory of the face you’re seeking, then hold it in place while scanning the crowd, paying special attention to finding a match.

This type of attention is known as object-based attention, something scientists know much less about than spatial attention, which involves focusing on what’s happening in a particular location. However, new findings suggest that these two types of attention have similar mechanisms involving related brain regions, says Robert Desimone, the director of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and senior author of the paper.

“The interactions are surprisingly similar to those seen in spatial attention,” Desimone says. “It seems like it’s a parallel process involving different areas.”

In both cases, the prefrontal cortex — the control center for most cognitive functions — appears to take charge of the brain’s attention and control relevant parts of the visual cortex, which receives sensory input. For spatial attention, that involves regions of the visual cortex that map to a particular area within the visual field.

Another study, undertaken by John Gaspar and John McDonald from the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, learned that to find objects of interest in a cluttered and continually changing visual environment, humans must often ignore salient stimuli that are not currently relevant to the task at hand.

“This is an important discovery for neuroscientists and psychologists because most contemporary ideas of attention highlight brain processes that are involved in picking out relevant objects from the visual field. It’s like finding Waldo in a Where’s Waldo illustration.” said Gaspar.

Gaspar continued: “Our results show clearly that this is only one part of the equation and that active suppression of the irrelevant objects is another important part.”

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, involved 47 students carrying out a visual search task while their brain signals were monitored.

 

Why this is relevant

Because of the increase in distracting consumer devices in our technology-driven, fast-paced society, the psychologists say their discovery could help scientists and clinicians better treat patients with distraction-related attention deficits.

“Distraction is a leading cause of injury and death in driving and other high-stakes environments,” notes senior author McDonald. “There are individual differences in the ability to deal with distraction. New electronic products are designed to grab attention. Suppressing such signals takes effort, and sometimes people can’t seem to do it.”

The researchers are now studying how we deal with distraction. They’re looking at when and why we can’t suppress potentially distracting objects, and why some of us are better at this than others.

Ultimately, the goal is to find ways of sustaining attention longer. By accepting that distractions are a part of everyday working life and trusting in the brain’s built-in system to focus selectively by ignoring irrelevant details, we can become skilled in brushing away interruptions when they intrude. By developing attentional intelligence – paying attention on purpose – we can generate brain wave patterns that strengthen the sustained concentration involved in focused attention.

As Jeffrey Schwartz, one of the world’s leading experts in neuroplasticity and co-founder of the neuroleadership field, says in The Mind and the Brain:

Control of attention is the ultimate individual power. People who can do that are not prisoners of the stimuli around them. They can choose from the patterns in the world and lengthen their time horizons. This individual power leads to others. It leads to self-control, the ability to formulate strategies in order to resist impulses. If forced to choose, we would all rather our children be poor with self-control than rich without it.

 

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Linda is the Managing Director of NeuroCapability and the co-founder/director of neuresource groupThese organisations are playing key roles in developing a new generation of thinking leaders through delivery of the Diploma of Neuroscience of Leadership and other innovative programs informed by neuroscience.  Linda is gaining recognition both in Australia and internationally as a thought leader in the neuroleadership field.  She is actively contributing to the body of knowledge that supports the building of individual and organisational ‘neurocapability’.

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The Power of Emotional Intelligence

Posted on May 8, 2014. Filed under: Interesting Articles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Charles Coy, the Senior Director of Analyst and Community Relations at Cornerstone, considers innovations in talent management and speaks about the power emotional intelligence adds to our businesses.

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emotional-intelligence-lg

When companies are recruiting or assessing a candidate’s capacity for a position, it’s not uncommon for them to administer a personality test such as the Myers-Briggs. While personality tests may offer some insight, they fail to capture a key indicator for success — emotional intelligence. For example, hiring extroverts for sales positions is a tried and true practice, but based on a personality test, an employer can’t tell whether a candidate will be persistent enough to develop and close new deals. Emotional intelligence (EQ) involves a person’s capacity to be empathetic, maintain optimism in the face of adversity, provide clear thinking and remain composed in stressful situations — all important traits for a leader or team player. When used as an alternative or supplemental tool in the recruiting process, testing emotional intelligence can yield significant long-term results.

“An employee with high emotional intelligence can manage his or her impulses, communicate with others effectively, manage change well, solve problems, and use humor to build rapport in tense situations,” says Mike Poskey, vice president of human resources consulting firm ZeroRisk.

Instead of looking at personality and experience, companies are increasingly incorporating EQ into the recruitment process. One in four hiring managers say they are placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence when hiring and promoting in the wake of the recession, according to a Career Builder survey.

Emotional Intelligence Programs at Work

There’s no doubt that there’s value in evaluating job candidates based on their emotional intelligence, but how do companies put that into action? Here’s how three companies are employing emotional intelligence programs:

Become centered

Google, known for its innovative programs, offers emotional intelligence training to help employees find their inner peace and a state of meditation. More than 1,000 employees have completed the Search Inside Yourself (SIY) program, developed by Chade-Meng Tan, Google’s resident “Jolly Good Fellow,” according to Wired. Employees learn about the five crucial skills of empathy, motivation, social skills, self-awareness and self-regulation.

Teach soft skills

The world’s second-largest construction equipment maker Komatsu looked to increase the emotional intelligence of its employees after the economic plummet in Europe by first conducting engagement surveys and addressing issues that were top of mind for employees. Managers and employees alike participated in a leadership program that encouraged innovation and developed people-based skills.

Hire for retention

To tackle the problem of high turnover, auto dealer Park Place Dealerships focused on emotional intelligence during the recruiting process. The company evaluated a candidate’s emotional response to various phrases such as “With this ring, I thee wed.” After integrating emotional intelligence into the hiring process, sales employee turnover decreased from 60 percent to 12 percent on an annual basis, according to Chief Learning Officer.

3 Tips for Integrating EQ into Recruitment

Baking emotional intelligence into the evaluation process is easy with these three steps, notes Anna Gibbons, corporate communications manager at recruitment agency Sellick Partnership:

  1. Write a job description that goes beyond qualifications to describe softer skills required, such as adaptability, communication skills, teamwork and motivation.
  2. Employ psychometric testing, such as the Thomas International Personal Profile Analysis (PPA), to identify what motivates candidates and how they react under pressure.
  3. Pay attention to a candidate’s body language and word choice — they can greatly impact first instincts, which hiring managers should always take into account.

“In every decision, emotions count,” Max Ghini, director of global strategy for emotional intelligence consulting firm Six Seconds, told Chief Learning Officer. “Better engagement is key for bottom line, and emotional intelligence is greatly connected to organisational performance.”

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charles coy

Charles Coy is the Senior Director of Analyst and Community Relations at Cornerstone. He is responsible for getting the word out about Cornerstone as a company, as well as evangelizing Cornerstone’s innovation in talent management technology solutions. Charles continues to be interested in the ways that technology can impact how organizations evaluate, motivate and value their employees.

Charles brings a background in public policy analysis and research to Cornerstone. Having studied regional economic development and education policy, Charles originally came to the company with an interest in the convergence of technology and higher education.  He has worked in marketing, sales, and corporate development at Cornerstone since the early days of the company more than a decade ago.

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Re-wiring change: how neuroscience can help

Posted on May 1, 2014. Filed under: Linda Ray, Practical Strategies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Linda Ray, the co-founder and co-director of neuresource group, lectures frequently on change management. In this post, she looks at how an understanding of the brain can help to facilitate sustainable change, and she offers some tips on how to get started.

 

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It’s important to understand the context within which we’re operating if we are to facilitate lasting and sustainable change and if we want to support environments where innovation is valued and encouraged. We need a new view of change that sees change as an opportunity rather than something to be managed in prescriptive ways.

Many of our current change efforts are failing because we haven’t factored in this increasing complexity. Just think about it: the human brain is required to deal with far greater levels of complexity on a daily basis than the even 30 years ago. As we make the transition to this new world, there are bound to be some bumps along the way. And it’s not just ordinary people who are affected by job losses or people being asked to do more with less. The CEOs of the world’s biggest corporations are also caught up in the whirlwind. In 2009, the IBM CEO Global Survey identified rapid change as the number one problem facing business leaders. It’s complexity that most CEOs are struggling with.

Perhaps an important first step is to replace the language we use when we speak about change. The words innovating and rewiring better encompass what we mean when we describe change in today’s increasingly complex world.

According to Jeffrey Schwartz, Pablo Gaito, and Doug Lennick, in an article they wrote for strategy + business, habits are hard to change because of the way the brain manages them. They assert that this is because many conventional patterns of thinking are held in circuits associated with deep, primal parts of the brain that evolved relatively early. Primary among these is the basal ganglia, or the brain’s “habit centre,” which normally manages such semiautomatic activities as driving and walking; the amygdala, a small, deep source of strong emotions such as fear and anger; and the hypothalamus, which manages instinctive drives such as hunger, thirst, and sexual desire.

HabitsInformation processed in these parts of the brain is often not brought to conscious attention. The basal ganglia’s processing, in particular, is so rapid compared to other brain activity that it can feel physically rewarding; people tend to revert to this type of processing whenever possible. Moreover, every time the neuronal patterns in the basal ganglia are invoked, they become further entrenched; they forge connections with one another and with other functionally related brain areas, and these neural links (sometimes called “action repertoires”) become stronger and more compelling. Schwartz et al. say this helps explain why when people in a workplace talk about the way to do things, they often reinforce the link between their own neural patterns and the culture of the company. If an organisational practice triggers their basal ganglia, it can become collectively ingrained and extremely difficult to dislodge.

The brain is an energy-conserving organ that resists change because it takes cognitive effort and uses up valuable sources of oxygen and glucose. Combine this resistance with the way the basal ganglia functions to reinforce habits and it becomes clear why change is so difficult.

When we face a change, our brains automatically calculates the reward and the risk involved in order to determine whether or not it is worth doing. In other words, as we weigh risk and reward, the sum of risk value plus reward value will result in taking action or not taking action, making the change or resisting it. If we perceive the reward to be less than that of the risk, we are unlikely to engage in change. This is why it is so critical to share the purpose of the proposed change, to explain why it’s needed, and to support people to see the benefits of expending large amounts of their precious cognitive resources to engage in a particular change process.

Change often is perceived as a threat because it can activate threat circuitry associated with uncertainty. Therefore, dealing with uncertainty in a change process is absolutely critical to success. Unfortunately, it’s frequently overlooked. Think about your experiences of change efforts. How have you managed change in the past?

Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Switch:How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, discuss the effort and self-control it takes to bring about change. As Heath suggests, we need self-control in order to resist going back to old patterns, something that’s extremely exhausting. His metaphor for this dynamic is a human riding atop an elephant:

elephant-and-riderThe Rider represents our analytical, planning side. The Rider decides, “I need to go somewhere, here’s the direction I want to go,” and sets off. But it’s the Elephant, the emotional side, that’s providing the power. The Rider can try to lead the Elephant, but in any direct contest of wills the Elephant is going to win—it has a six-ton advantage. So part of achieving change, in either our lives or in organizations, is aligning both sides of the brain by pointing out the direction for the Rider but also motivating the Elephant to undertake the journey. Of course, the Path the Elephant walks down matters too. High-ranking executives can shape that Path, that environment, and make the journey easier even when the Elephant is less motivated.

This dynamic explains why many large scale change efforts fail. There is an expectation it can happen quickly, but too much change too quickly will generally fail in the long-term. It’s important to start small and build momentum from there.

Challenges to Facilitating Change

There are a number of challenges to facilitating change. Clearly, in any change process, we are called on to decide whether to undertake the change in full or in part. A vast array of cognitive biases can affect any decision. Such cognitive biases significantly influence the decisions we make and can impact on the degree to which people embrace a change process. It’s important to be aware of potential biases and to question whether they are getting in the way of change.

Biased choice value can also pose a challenge to change. Choices are likely to be biased by past experiences and choices are influenced by the values we place on alternative choice options. For example, if we have made changes in the past that led to a good outcome, we will be biased to make that choice again because a positive value has been attached to it. It doesn’t necessarily matter that in the current context there might be a lot of evidence to suggest a different choice will be a better option. We tend to resist the new option based on a biased choice value and our brain’s need for certainty.

Ironic process theory suggests that under situations of mental load or stress, we will often do precisely what we are trying to avoid. When you are trying to support action towards a change, understanding previous actions or memories of past events is important to identify their reemergence at times of stress or mental load. At such times, our brains don’t have the energy to suppress unwanted memories and they come flooding back.

Focusing on solutions instead of problems

In change processes, we often focus too much attention on the problem.

One of the most important factors in facilitating change is to move away from focusing attention on the problem and instead focus on the solutions. Why is this so critical?
problemsSimply put, the more attention we pay to a problem the more we strengthen the circuitry and neuronal connections around the problem. We are drawn towards thinking about and wanting to explore the dimensions of what’s wrong rather than work towards a solution because it takes much less cognitive effort to do so. This is because when we consider a problem we have many maps to draw on from past experience. On the other hand, thinking through solutions takes more energy and creates a greater sense of uncertainty.

As leaders, we need to be ‘thinking about our thinking’ and noticing when we, or others, are paying too much attention to a problem rather than focusing on a solution. We strengthen what we focus on. By being solutions-focused, we develop and strengthen new neural pathways associated with a goal or an intention.

Tips for facilitating sustainable change

  • Try using different language. Many people are ‘change weary’. Replace change with innovation or rewiring. Think about change as being agile or frame it up as an experiment.
  • Start small rather than overwhelming people with a big change agenda.
  • Celebrate the ‘small wins’ along the way.
  • Be clear about the potential rewards of a change and demonstrate you also are aware of the risks and have planned for them.
  • Do an audit of any potential cognitive biases that might sabotage a change effort and declare these as potential conflicts of interest.
  • Identify when a biased choice value might be enticing you to do more of the same rather than to try something new.
  • Notice if ironic process theory might be taking you back to old ways of doing things and name when this is happening to guard against it.
  • Remain solution focused. Notice when you get stuck in the problem and when it’s time to move on.

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Linda is the Managing Director of NeuroCapability and the co-founder/director ofneuresource groupThese organisations are playing key roles in developing a new generation of thinking leaders through delivery of the Diploma of Neuroscience of Leadership and other innovative programs informed by neuroscience.  Linda has gained recognition both in Australia and internationally as a thought leader in the neuroleadership field.  She is actively contributing to the body of knowledge that supports the building of individual and organisational ‘neurocapability’.

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