Neuroscience – will you be an early adopter?

I think we are seeing just the tip of things to come in Neuroscience for our People, Process and Performance industry!

Neuroscience is making waves, it’s tide rising into popular culture, impacting us on a day to day basis without us necessarily realising it. Check out subtle influences in the latest Supermarket and Business magazines which now often include research evidence provided through Neuroscience studies. For example, the application of exercise programmes to assist in management of some emotional conditions, use of visualisation to stimulate new behavioural practices, the benefits of meditation and yoga, management of distraction techniques in the workplace and tips on how to be a better leader.

100 years ago, Neuroscience as a field of study, didn’t exist. Neuroscience only a few short years ago was deigned the territory of cognitive and social sciences.  Today, however, the language and visibility surrounding neuroscience is changing.

Google the term Neuroscience a few years ago and you would be lucky to find a very few entries.  The figures looked something like this:

  • 2004 ~10 Google entries
  • 2011 ~20 000 Google entries
  • 2012 ~75 000 Google entries.

On Feb 2nd, 2015, the list following demonstrate the results of very basic internet searches:

  • Google search term ‘Neuroscience’ – About 40,600,000 results
  • Google search term ‘Neuroscience of Leadership’ – About 15,600,000 results
  • Google search term ‘Neuroscience of Change Management’ – About 30,400,000 results
  • Google search term ‘Neuroscience of Emotional Intelligence’ – About 752,000 results
  • Google search term ‘Neuroscience of Decision Making’ – About 13,500,000 results
  • Google search term ‘Neuroscience is the Neu/New Black’ – About 35,200,000 results.

A plethora of neuroscience based books for business are also available:

  • Use the search term ‘neuroscience for business’ on Amazon.com and you will return 505 books available for purchase
  • Use the search term ‘neuroscience for leadership’ on Amazon.com and you will return 257 books available for purchase
  • Use the search term ‘neuroscience for change management’ on Amazon.com and you will return 852 books available for purchase
  • Use the search term ‘neuroscience for decision making’ on Amazon.com and you will return 639 books available for purchase

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Image source: Images online

 

We are also beginning to glimpse the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of emerging neuroscience influenced industries, changing the way in which consumer decision making is analysed, and changing the way in which consumer information and services are provided:

  • NeuroAccounting
  • NeuroCoaching
  • NeuroEconomics
  • NeuroLaw
  • NeuroLeadership
  • NeuroMarketing – used by large organisations for better information about their customers e.g., Hyundai, Yahoo, Microsoft, E-bay Reference: Forbes Article

 

A Balanced View

As professionals working with organisations in the People, Process and Performance spaces, we are constantly looking at ways in which to influence authentic and lasting change through building internal, sustainable capability.  As valued advisors to organisations, it is our role to challenge mainstream organisational thinking as we explore and expand solution options for client issues.

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Image source: Einstein Quotes

 

So, what is Neuroscience?

There are approximately 40 million results using a Google search term ‘what is Neuroscience’.

Princeton University’s Professor Sam Wang, in his lectures on The Neuroscience of Everyday Life, explains Neuroscience as “… a thriving discipline that has begun to provide mechanistic, biologically oriented explanations for every aspect of behaviour…“  Reference: The Great Courses, The Neuroscience of Everyday Life, Course Guidebook, Lecture 1, page 4

My personal explanation of Neuroscience is: “Neuroscience is evidenced in science.  It helps me understand how brains are generally wired and the implications of this information on a day to day basis for organisations, leaders, teams and individuals.”

People often ask me how Neuroscience differs to other tools of the trade in the People, Process and Performance industry; I’m sure that like me, you will have a well-honed toolkit developed with time, experience, professional and personal development. Neuroscience is my addition to that toolkit – an addition that uniquely helps put shape to the shifting sands of organisational requirements in the ongoing search for sustained success.

Organisations are faced with day to day challenges in the race to stay ahead of the pack and improve their bottom line. Neuroscience provides me with a practical shaping lens in my work to help my clients build internal, sustainable awareness and capability.

 

In uncertain global economic activity and the fight for market survival, the top 3 in my work with my clients are the following:

1. Organisations are asking more of their people.

  • Increased productivity with less people;
  • More innovation with less budget;
  • Smarter decisions with less time.

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Image source: www.Delta7.com

 

2. Organisations are asking different skills of their leaders.

In the hunt for organisational leaders, we are seeing the use of changing language.  Leadership job ads and interviews now include language such as innovative; agile; able to deal with uncertainty and complexity; ability to manage change; collaborative leadership style; mentor to team members; ability to communicate at all levels…

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Image source: The Forum Corporation Whitepaper Seven Leadership Development Trends 20/2/2013

 

3. Organisations are experiencing an alarming rate of employee disengagement.

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Image source: Gallup, State of the Global Workforce Report 2013

“…In Australia and New Zealand, 24% of employees are engaged, while 60% are not engaged and 16% are actively disengaged. The resulting ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees — 1.5-to-1 — is one of the highest among all global regions…”

In Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce Report, 2013, Chairman and CEO, Jim Clifton states “Hiring the right managers is absolutely essential to building an engaged workforce…”  Reference: Gallup, State of the Global Workforce Report 2013