Today I noticed @ansi on the twitter stream mention this (very long) article at strategy-business.com on the neuroscience of leadership. It is based on the merging of some of the sciences and the ability to understand how psychology and chemical changes in the human brain drive behaviour.
This article caused me to stop and think about how I do things, why things have worked out the way they have. In some ways its a taste of my own medicine, the things I try and get across to people, in particular as a metaverse evangelist, but do not have the scientific backing just gut instinct to work with. So to quote The Matrix – “there is no spoon”.
One of the most interesting points, that gave me an “oh I try and do that” moment was this statement.
“For insights to be useful, they need to be generated from within, not given to individuals as conclusions. This is true for several reasons. First, people will experience the adrenaline-like rush of insight only if they go through the process of making connections themselves. The moment of insight is well known to be a positive and energizing experience. This rush of energy may be central to facilitating change: It helps fight against the internal (and external) forces trying to keep change from occurring, including the fear response of the amygdala”
“When people solve a problem themselves, the brain releases a rush of neurotransmitters like adrenaline. This phenomenon provides a scientific basis for some of the practices of leadership coaching. Rather than lecturing and providing solutions, effective coaches ask pertinent questions and support their clients in working out solutions on their own.”
Insights, discovery, making an idea real to oneself produces a very different and positive chemical response in the brain. This is presumably why I often say I try and make things personal to people before the “business case” unless of course the “business case” or logic is the thing that will generate insight. This lets people feel why the concept would be useful for them, generating insight and synthesis making them feel good and able to explore the possibilities then based on their own mental model.
Another part of what the article states is that focus on an area or skill makes peoples mental models locked in more to that way of doing things. This stands to reason, but is good to see documented in this context.
“Attention continually reshapes the patterns of the brain. Among the implications: People who practice a specialty every day literally think differently, through different sets of connections, than do people who don’t practice the specialty. In business, professionals in different functions — finance, operations, legal, research and development, marketing, design, and human resources — have physiological differences that prevent them from seeing the world the same way.”
The implications of knowing or feeling the ideas in this article can be far reaching. Much of this requires, as they indicate, and ability to observe ones own motivations and patterns. Organisms strive for equilibrium apparently, that bubbles up into collections of organisms, corporations. I think though we have a fair set of people in the circles I move in whos equilibrium state is actually one of change and of new ideas, who instincitvely do things the way that this article suggests might work. If more people did it, I am guessing we would be even more effective?
So check out the full article, its very interesting, and try a bit of “self-directed neuroplasticity”
Thus endeth the pop science 🙂