If you aren’t running a smooth organization, it’s often because of a lack of your people being “wired” into the mission of your organization, which can be corrected with the right brain training. When your brain is in need of work, it’s good to think of the psychology behind it. Psychologists have been delving into the reasons that human being act and react in the ways that we do for well over a hundred years now. In the later part of the 20th century psychologists were adopting scientific methodology to their work at understanding people.
Stimulating the Brain: Running a Smooth Organization
Whether much of that research was effective or not, it did pave the way for psychologists and neurologists to collaborate as technology advanced to the point where we could start tracking, measuring and duplicating what happens in the human brain under different stimuli. Much of what is now being ‘learned’ or proved, are ways of behaving that we have noted and sometimes understood for a very long time, probably this knowing and desire to understand is what spawned the field of psychology.
There now exists a whole new field of exploration into human behaviour via the human brain that is generally referred to as neuroscience. One thought leader in this area is David Rock who, although not a neuroscientist himself, has taken the insights that neuroscience is providing and applying them to organizational effectiveness and leadership. David Rock has coined the term and founded an Institute devoted to NeuroLeadership. For much more information, a wealth of research, articles, webinars and white papers check out neuroleadership.com
A foundation to the application of neuroscientific research is to understand how the brain is organized. Our brains, all of us, are wired to respond to threats and rewards. This is a basic principle. We view the world with an orientation to vigilance to anything that might harm us, or give us an advantage, and we are much more primed to look for and recognize threats or harm. We give so much more credence to threats, over rewards, that even a small threat can outbalance any possible reward. Keep this principle in mind.
We’re Social People: Running a Smooth Organization
Next we’ll attend to the finding that our brains are wired to connect with others. Our brains are social. We learn better when we are connected with others, we’re healthier, happier and live longer when we’re connected to others. You’ve heard, no doubt, of elderly couples who are so connected that when one spouse dies, the other dies shortly after, often with no apparent reason – other than a broken heart.
We recognize and give leeway to people who physically demonstrate pain, through a broken limb, or through visible signs of illness such as fever, coughing, vomiting, etc. We don’t often acknowledge, at work in particular, the pain that someone might experience due to being diminished, treated with cruelty, or ridiculed. That pain is just as real as the pain of a broken limb, in fact, the same area and connections in the brain are activated with social pain as with physical pain.
When you feel like you’ve just had a punch in the stomach when you’ve received sudden bad news, you have. The question is how do you deal with that feeling, that choice, and that information? Check out my next article Threat vs Reward: Running a Smooth Organization Pt2 for the answer.