Rewiring the Boss – an article on changing entrenched leadership behaviour using neuroplasticity

Have a read of the attached article – key points related to behavioural change is possible, it requires time, commitment and action by the learner/executive…

Rewiring the Boss.pdf

Key aspects of the approach involve developing a long term relationship with the learner/executive, a recognition by the learner that change is required, a growing sense of self awareness in the learner, as well as ongoing experiential learning opportunities.  For example, a specific strategy involves getting the executive to change their behaviour in the context of coaching others.

Set expectations and get quicker results: Scientists prove importance of expectation management

Science Daily: The human brain works incredibly fast. However, visual impressions are so complex that their processing takes several hundred milliseconds before they enter our consciousness. Scientists have now shown that this delay may vary in length. When the brain possesses some prior information — that is, when it already knows what it is about to see — conscious recognition occurs faster. Until now, neuroscientists assumed that the processes leading up to conscious perception were rather rigid and that their timing did not vary. Read the full article here. 

My thoughts…

For many years, we’ve known good leadership and management involves expectation setting – but many leaders and managers just ‘expect’ their people to know. Science now confirms we can get quicker neural responses if the brain possesses some prior information about an ‘incoming stimulus’. So if we want improved outcomes from direct reports and teams, we must clearly establish expectations – both what can be expected during an experience/task/process, as well as what outcomes are expected from that experience/task/process.

Clarifying expectations reduces uncertainty, and accelerates action…

Our sub-conscious assumptions, poor idea selling, and lack of staying power kills organisational innovation

Yesterday, I had the privilege of hearing Professor Costas Markides from London Business School speak on innovation. Here are five key things you need to know about innovation. 1. Assumptions kill creativity. Assumptions are implicit and sub-conscious. As a consultant, I need to both challenge my own assumptions and help others to challenge their assumptions. Note that it’s all very well to tell someone to “think outside the box”, but if the box is our everyday sub-conscious assumptions, then we actually we can’t see the box. “Where is the box?” becomes a first critical question to enable innovation. As businesses seeking to innovate, we need to ask the following questions: “Who really is the customer? What am I really selling? How really should we compete in this market? What business are we really in?” 2. The Knowledge Doing Gap. A critical problem is that people and organisations usually know what to do, but they don’t actually do it. A “burning platform” gets people moving in all directions but doesn’t deliver innovation. A compelling vision gets people to agree on the future but doesn’t necessarily deliver consistent momentum. To create aligned momentum and innovation, organisations need a positive crisis. Instead of framing change either as a threat or an opportunity, you need to frame change and innovation challenges as both threat and opportunity. Frame both threat and opportunity at the same time – create a Positive Crisis3. Create/change the organisational environment in order to deliver innovation. Research has found that while 30% of behaviour is determined by personality, 70% of behavior is determined by social context. For example, we expect others to do something about a situation rather than ourselves. So change/shape the environment to encourage innovation. Framing problems is critical to helping innovation.4. Just because it is a good idea doesn’t mean it will catch on. We must also be able to effectively sell the idea to others. Selling effectiveness depends on who is selling, how it is being sold, what is being sold, and who is buying. In order to foster/deliver innovation, we need to ask ourselves how credible we are. We need to minimize disruption, and to lead by example.5. Small changes in social context, and/or your behavior, can have a major impact on people and organisations. Don’t try to change the world, or to implement ‘big bang’ innovation. Instead, act your way into a new way of thinking. Use pilots, make work fun, implement in a unit/team and expand from there!

“Second Learning” pathway discovered as brain gives up another secret on how it helps to create memories and skills

I thought this news article may be of interest, and a topic for us to follow as research progresses…

In summary, “Second Learning” seems to involve the use of a second and completely separate neurological pathway to learn and store information (using AMPA receptors instead of NDMA receptors). AMPA receptors are triggered when the learner is exposed to novel (but not totally unique) experiences/events where the general rules of the environment have been previously learned. These separate pathways and pre-existing rules are then used to acquire new ‘memories’ (i.e. learn new things). Iteration and repetition are discussed as potentially useful learning strategies.

Potential implications for praxis could include deliberate use of iteration and elaboration strategies in learning design, manipulation of the learning environment to ensure novel but not totally unique experiences are created and managed, as well as use of “universal metaphors and stories” to embed new learning elements into things familiar to the learner.

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