What Can Neuroscience Tell Us About Running Organisations? An Interview With Expert Amy Brann
Amy Brann, the founder of Synaptic Potential, passionately delivers the message that you and your organisation have a huge amount of potential that can be better accessed if you understand how to work with your brain optimally. In fact, she is normally found delivering a keynote somewhere around the world for companies such as Warner Brothers, EY, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Arup, the NHS, News UK, and PWC.
We caught up with to find out why understanding neuroscience can help organisations get the best out of their people...
For many years, neuroscience was a field shrouded in mystery. A field which focused on tiny brain cells, rather than big-picture thinking. Synapses rather than emotions. Action potentials rather than curiosity.
But in the 1990s there was a major shift in focus as advances in brain imaging techniques allowed researchers to open up the brain’s black box and for the first time actually “see” what was going on inside the human brain whilst people were making decisions, being creative and working together in a team.
Understanding why people think, feel and act as they do
But being able to create images of the brain in action and say that region A does this and region B does that, whilst impressive, is not what’s special about these tools. Instead, their power comes when you start to decode the puzzle of how all the regions work together. Because as soon as you can see all the brain's’ neural systems in action, you can start to develop a better understanding of why people think, feel and act as they do.
With neuroscience you can understand how your attention and reward systems work together to prioritize your mental focus. With this kind of knowledge, you suddenly see why you procrastinate and can adjust the way you incentivise yourself for your work goals to make sure you produce the best work within the time available. Neuroscience can help you be more productive.
Our brains are malleable - which means we can change how we think and behave
With neuroscience you can realise that, from the perspective of your brain, there are many different forms of creativity which all work slightly differently. You can then be encouraged by the fact that to be creative you don’t have to be an amazing artist or writer, but that your analytical mindset can also be brilliantly creative. Neuroscience can help you be more innovative and creative.
With neuroscience, you can see how your brain is organised into different modes of thinking which cause you to approach decisions differently. You can then take into account the powerful influence of your emotions on your decisions, especially when you are acting on intuition, and put in place the necessary mental checkpoints to make sure you don’t do anything you are going to later regret. Neuroscience can help you make better decisions.
And so neuroscience isn’t just about studying the brain. It is about studying people. The people who are at the heart of your organisation.
Shifting a malleable brain
This doesn’t mean showing them how to engage “unused” parts of their brain - this is a debunked myth based on an incorrect understanding of how the brain works. Instead, it is based around the idea that their brain is plastic. Malleable. And therefore ripe for them to play with the various neural buttons, dials and switches which can subtly shift their thinking and behaviour.
Take emotional intelligence for example. It’s a buzzword which can be brought back to its neuroscience roots of empathy and being able to see someone else's perspective or what’s called “theory of mind” - both essential skills within a coaching culture. Recently, neuroscience has shown that these emotional assets aren’t fixed, but instead are malleable, and that you can actually improve - or dial up - your brain’s empathy and perspective-taking systems through focused training. In doing so you can become emotionally and mentally equipped for dealing with the array of challenging social scenarios that occur within an organisation or coaching situation. Neuroscience helps us literally help people upgrade their brains.
Neuroscience can help you be more productive
Neuroscience for progress
Neuroscience helps people:
· Discern how they can learn best
· Change habits
· Become more innovative
· Improve their emotional intelligence
· Be more productive
And so much more. Neuroscience is the science of how people work...and there are a couple of decades of research most employees are not taking advantage of.
Once someone is armed with the necessary insights which have emerged from neuroscience labs around the world, they can then start to become curious. And not just ask, “how does my brain work?” but also, “how can I make my brain work better?”
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