Thursday, September 07, 2006

Want to change or lead it? Focus, energy and insight

At MPOW, our director is retiring, and in a few months we'll be interviewing candidates; we've hired lots of new whip-smart, motivated managers in the last few months; we're embarking on a new leadership initiative to encourage all staff to have more input into decisions and to make us a more nimble organization; oh, and we're rebuilding our entire suite of Web sites to create an online enviroment where our community can learn, explore, enjoy, create, and connect.

So, lots of change is afoot, and I thought this was an interesting article, The Neuroscience of Leadership.

Quick conclusions:

"Change is pain. Organizational change is unexpectedly difficult because it provokes sensations of physiological discomfort.

Behaviorism doesn’t work. Change efforts based on incentive and threat (the carrot and the stick) rarely succeed in the long run.

Humanism is overrated. In practice, the conventional empathic approach of connection and persuasion doesn’t sufficiently engage people.

Focus is power. The act of paying attention creates chemical and physical changes in the brain.

Expectation shapes reality. People’s preconceptions have a significant impact on what they perceive.

Attention density shapes identity. Repeated, purposeful, and focused attention can lead to long-lasting personal evolution."

3 Comments:

Blogger whitneydt said...

"Focus is power"

I wholeheartedly agree; the issue over here in reffieland is how to share focus or ensure that everyone on a team is actually focused on the same goal. Maybe I need Tim to draw me a picture.

Great article, tho. Thanks for pointing it out.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Kelly Sime said...

Interesting article.

Many of these things I learned in my college communication and psychology classes.

I especially subscribe to the idea that change should be focused and repeatedly enforced.

7:25 AM  
Blogger erindowney said...

Well, after reading this article I now get Whitney's carrot-n-stick comment earlier :) I like the repetition part of this article best, because I have personal experience with success and failure in that regard.

Small, repeated changes really do last. The first time I realized that I was still living at home and ran into our office to look at one of my dad's IBM awards, whose inscription I finally understood: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit." It was very profound for a high schooler! :)

7:03 PM  

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