Every now and then there are buzzwords that the organizations flash. From ‘holistic approach’ to ‘benefit’, from ‘co-opinion’ to ‘value proposition’, we have heard many coming and going.
So you can apologize for thinking ‘neuroscience’ is another of these. But is it just a niche? Evidence suggests that this is a ‘buzzword’ that will shape the future of our organizations.
The Internet has changed in the same way we do business over the last two decades, the development of neuroscience has begun to change how we approach leadership and teamwork; And it affects how we run our organizations.
From white coat to suit
Previously in the field of “white coat men”, brain functioning was largely reserved for scientific publications and theories on how it can help solve mental or neurological disorders.
But over the past decade or so, great leap forwards in the development of brain imaging techniques have broadened the practice of measuring effects on the brain. In turn, much has been discovered, interpreted, and theorized about human behavior.
Hence the entry into neuroscience, border as well as legal courts, economic institutions, government and the military to name a few other institutions. It’s not just men in white coats who are interested now – they are also men for suits.
Part of the reason why neuroscience got a new home in the boardroom is that it offers offers to solve some of the major problems in our organizations today.
As the technology prog progresses and we develop more efficient systems that get the job done faster and more efficiently, we may have forgotten something. The word “organization” comes from the Greek word Organ: The word “organ” means what Aristotle chose to use for his collection of books on logic. That is, the word has its origin in the study of human beings.
Somewhere along the line, despite the increasing efficiency of systems and processes, those accused of running our organizations have been thinking the latter.
Neuroscience puts human behavior back at the forefront and center of thinking about how we better transform our organizations; And even though the marriage of business and neuroscience is relatively young, a good understanding of how the brain is wired and how it affects behavior will already help answer some key questions.
In doing so it probably helps to balance “systems vs. people” and is a valuable tool for executives to initiate positive people-oriented change.
Pay attention to the main problems
Some of the major problems facing our organizations these days revolve around a sporadic employee from whom more and more is expected.
As productivity demands increasing, engagement levels go down and stress increases; And, as global economic uncertainty continues, there is no indication that this situation will improve until organizations begin to better address the needs of their people.
Gallups State of Global Workforce Report, 2013, Found that “Australia In Australia and New Zealand, 24% of employees are employed, while 60% are not employed and 16% are actively laid off.” This has caused alarm bells to ring in some quarters. With older employees, as is the case in most developed countries, the tendency for higher employee turnover becomes more serious.
Neuroscience helps us solve this problem by providing new techniques for hiring and improving HR as well as developing leadership and teamwork. At the individual level, neuroscience can help us identify more about team members and team mobility needs. The real key to increasing the level of engagement is to make the work more satisfying, enjoyable and meaningful.
So neuroscience has entered the boardroom, because, when measured and used responsibly, it helps organizations with authentic and lasting change – building internal, sustainable capacity through people.