What we think we know about behaviour and what it is to be human is constantly evolving thanks to neuroscience. Knowledge of the brain, how it functions and how that influences behaviour is something that I find personally enlightening and, for someone who works in the space of culture and engagement, both invaluable and exciting.
In business we have struggled with improving employee engagement and motivation for years, not to mention embedding strong vison, values and culture. Collectively we have invested many different combinations of money, time, processes and effort and yes we have improved what we do (and certainly some organisations have indeed excelled), however, the results, as evidenced by numerous surveys, are really not that great. Long term sustainable behaviour change within business continues to elude many of us.
On top, leadership is still a contested concept. No-one can really define it. It continues to change in shape and texture dependent on the given situation at any point in time. What we do know is that traditional hierarchical power structures are unlikely to work in future.
We live in an age of collaboration, relationship and network where agility, flexibility and self-awareness matter and can make the difference between success and failure. Understanding at least the basics of how behaviour originates in the brain and the role and regulation of emotion in the workplace (and in life) is essential if one is to be effective, and indeed thrive, in our modern world.
For the past three years I have immersed myself in the science of the brain, studying the findings flowing from our neuroscientist friends to us here in business. I am not and will never claim to be a neuroscientist. However, I can learn from the detailed research and apply their findings and insights to what we do day-to-day.
By understanding more about how the brain functions, synthesising this with what we know in business and applying the learning at individual, team and organisational level we can really start to understand the secret of sustainable behavioural change and move the dial on performance, motivation and engagement.
Google lead the field in this area, they regularly bring in the top neuroscientists to inform what they do and invest in many brain friendly activities. Their sleep pods are not just ‘funky nice to haves’. They exist for very solid well-being, business and performance reasons.
Neuroscience is shining a light on the importance of emotion and emotional regulation, the hidden impact of stress on individual and organisational performance, the importance of cognitive strength, self-awareness and self-control and the way we can build and sustain trust over the long term. All things essential to organisational health and well-being as much as personal health and well-being. It is very exciting and offers many opportunities for positive and sustainable change and growth at an individual, team and organisational level. Is Neuroscience exciting? Yes it is. It is worth the time to understand a little more? Simply, yes. The payback is huge.
To hear more from me on neuroscience and why it is important for leaders and business you can view my recent appearance on Business Connections Live here.
Deborah Hulme, Director, Minerva Engagement
Deborah is trained in the Foundations of Neuroleadership and a Practitioner of Executive Coaching (AoEC) and NLP
Minerva Engagement improves business from the inside out. Ask us for more details on how we can support you in understanding and applying neuroscience to improve business performance. View more blogs from Minerva Engagement or follow us on Twitter @MinervaEngage.