What does neuroscience offer organisations?
This is a question we get asked less and less. Let’s take the example of leadership training. It used to be the case that in order for a company to provide this they might trawl through books, try to identify what successful leaders had done, look to existing models for inspiration or simply copy existing programmes already out there. All of these methods produce a training that is based on trial and error and surface level observation. Neuroscience enables us to take an entirely different approach to training and consulting. Rather than looking at the outside, we look from the inside. We build up an understanding in our clients of what is actually going on in individuals, how that affects their behaviour and what they can do about it.
Does this mean all non-neuroscientifically underpinned trainings are wrong?
No. Our approach means that we add another dimension, another level of truth and reality. By way of example, many leadership trainings might touch on the importance of creating a community at work. We know, through very recent research, that the effect of feeling isolated on the brain is a profound one. This helps us explain the bottom line importance of investing in building communities. Neuroscience enables us to explain things with more clarity and depth. We can talk about consequences of paying attention to one thing over another. This information better equips leaders to do the challenging jobs that they are responsible for.
Do we know everything about the brain?
Absolutely not. Nor are we likely to in the next 5-10 years. However, we do know a huge amount more than 10-20 years ago. This is due to the increased use of MRI scanners. These expensive pieces of equipment enable us to see inside the brain and look at what is going on without harming the person whose brain we’re looking at. It is even possible to get people to do certain tasks while in the scanner to see what effect it has on the person’s brain.
How do we know whom to trust?
When new fields emerge it can be tricky to know whom to trust. Because neuroscience is so exciting there are lots of people starting to include ‘bits’ of it in what they do. While this can be done well, there are also instances where just picking up and sharing odd pieces of information, especially about something so complex, can do damage. This is one of the reasons we run a programme specifically for Coaches, trainers and consultants to teach them the basics of neuroscience and how to use it in their work. During this programme we teach them how to distinguish fact from media hype, how to read scientific papers themselves and how to stay up to date. The field is a big one though, even neuroscientists specialise into narrower areas rather than trying to keep up to date with the entire body of research that is being produced. We are not aware of another organisation that underpins everything it does with neuroscience, works with such a team of credible experts and contributes to the field through research.