I’ve been extremely interested in some of the new(er) findings coming from neuroscience and their potential for change in our field. As we start to earn more about how the brain operates, we can start to ensure that what we do professionally builds on this new knowledge. We can’t continue to move forward ourselves if we’re not open to new ideas and new experiences.
Easier said than done. It’s hard to break free of what we know and what we feel comfortable doing. This is complicated by the fact that when we do manage to put ourselves into an unfamiliar situations, it’s in our basic instincts to revert to the comfort of old behaviors.
If you want to inspire your leaders to see beyond the norm, to think big and to think differently, don’t run them through the traditional leadership programs that so many of us are responsible for creating or managing. How many of you have gone from company to company and have instilled (brought along) the same structural program that you managed at your last organization?
I’m not knocking you, we have all done it. And let’s be honest, the programs are good. Sure, they introduce people to we ideas and new concepts … but we now have the science to tell us that this isn’t enough. If we want our leaders to think big, we need to stop being predictable. We need a shock to their system.
It’s time we start providing new contextual experiences. Now is the time to create leadership development opportunities that challenge people to be present and gives people the time to reflect on these new meanings and ideas. This may sound fluffy, but it isn’t, there is brain science in there. We know that our brains can retire neural pathways, we know that holding onto habits is the brain’s way of slowing things down for us.
If we continue to operate within the same frameworks and with the same models, we’re literally putting leader’s brains to sleep. If they continue to be steeped in the familiar constructs, they are less likely to change and to see things differently.
We have the ability to do things differently, to change the paradigm. It requires that we as leaders shake things up and gets our teams, our employees into new situations that we’ve been unaccustomed to so that we all can learn. Becoming the organization, or team, or leaders that we have never been before … will require us to think in ways we have not ever before.
If as leaders, we want others to think and act differently and grow … we need to wake up our brain and practice what we preach.