Wiring yourself for success.

April 1st, 2011

Neuroscience, the mind/brain connection and ideas about the nature of reality are topics I believe hold tremendous potential for both individual and organizational success. I’m interested in any scientific discoveries that link how the mind and brain work to a professional or business result. In other words, how the electrical energy of thought shapes our world.

So when I discovered “The Neuroscience of Leadership” issue of the Ivey Business Journal (Jan/Feb 2011), the table of contents read like a menu of all my favorite foods. And I feasted. There are two standout articles that I think you’ll agree are quite remarkable. I’m going to write about one today and the other next week.

The first enlightening piece is titled, “Leading Minds Instead of Managing Behaviour,” by Charles S. Jacobs, founder of 180 Partners, Boston. The article is based on his book, “Management Rewired” (2010). Here Jacobs presents a transformational approach for managers who want improved organizational performance. He asserts that by embracing what recent advances in neuroscience tell us about the nature of reality we can become far more effective leaders. He starts by explaining three fundamental discoveries about how the brain works.

1.     We don’t all perceive the same objective reality. Based on how vision really works, what we each “see” in the physical world is unique to us as individuals, according to our beliefs and emotions. All we can “know” are our ideas about the world.

2.     Our reasoning isn’t objective. We assume that to be objective all we have to do is think logically, because it eliminates emotion. But that’s incorrect. Our reasoning and emotions are linked physiologically. There is a reciprocal relationship between the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for logical thinking, and the amygdala, the region that processes emotion.

3.     Ideas change our experience. Ideas are neural networks that, when activated, fire the networks in sync with them that are responsible for thinking and behaving. Ideas cause physical changes in brain structure, and thereby change the experience of the world it creates.

What follows these scientifically based, monumental ideas is Jacobs’ business-world-shattering set of new best practices for improving organizational performance and results. I think these are some of the most provocative business management principles I’ve found in print in recent years. And I think the implications are significant for both organizational and individual success.

What is our mind – our brain, our thoughts, our energy – if not our capacity to create? What do you think?





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2 Responses to “Wiring yourself for success.”

  1. Nojjy says:

    Very interesting stuff. Brings to mind Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” and Decartes essay on dreams. Also, did you happen to see PBS Nova’s show “ScienceNOW” with astrophysicist host Neil DeGrasse Tyson? One of the shows was entitled “How the Brain Works.” I have it recorded so I don’t know if one can view the hour-long show online or not. Here’s a link you can check out – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/cosmic/2011/02/the-brain.html

    I liked your blog – great stuff.

  2. Julie Tarney says:

    Funny you should mention “Allegory of the Cave.” That came up at “The Limitations of Mental and Physical Reality” round table discussion I blogged about 3/4/11.
    And I appreciate very much your heads up on the NOVA ScienceNOW program. Those programs repeat often enough that I should be able to record it myself. Thank you!