The Science of Unlocking Potential
Why should organisations take a scientific approach to Unlocking their People’s Potential?
The fields of neuroscience and behavioural science provide people with a rich compendium of insights that show them how their brain works best. By integrating these insights around unlocking potential into your people strategy narratives, organisations can generate win-win performance outcomes for their people and their organisation.
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Q&A with Amy Brann, the founder and Director of Synaptic Potential on Why you should use Neuroscience and Behavioural Science to guide your People Strategy Narrative
Q: What is Neuroscience?
A: Neuroscience is the science behind how people think, feel and behave. It provides us with a steady stream of insights about how to improve the way a brain works. Capitalising on this valuable knowledge and applying it to your workplace offers a game-changing opportunity in people training and development.
What is Behavioural science?
A: Behavioral science is the science that helps us understand human behaviour – why people behave in a particular ways in different situations. By understanding this you can then move onto the next step of understanding how to get people to behave in a particular, desired way.
Q: Why should I incorporate neuroscience and behavioural science into my people strategy?
A: It all comes back to performance. You can’t fulfil the ambition of your organisation if your people aren’t each contributing what they are truly capable of. Your people strategy needs to unlock this potential and science is the best field to understand how to reach the heights of human potential so that your organisation can achieve it’s bold ambitions.
Q: Don’t people already have insight into how their brain works?
A:You might think that you already know how the brain works. It’s your brain after all isn’t it? But that’s not true. Because you only have access to a tiny part of what’s going on inside your head – the rest happens under the radar. What’s more, people are never taught about how their brain works best and because it’s performance changes with context, it’s not surprising that people aren’t always achieving their full brain performance at work. By understanding more about how the brain works, and incorporating this into your people strategy narrative, you can maximise your people capital and achieve those business imperatives.
Q: How can neuroscience practically make a difference to people, isn’t it all just high-brow science?
A: 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. But in the 1990s there were major advancements in brain imaging and we started to really decode the ins and outs of things like decision-making, creativity and collaboration. These evidence-based insights are the little gems of knowledge that we can translate into practical habits – hacks – that your people can start implementing in their everyday work to grow their potential and become those better decision-makers, creatives and team players that they knew they could be.
Q. How will learning about the brain create sustainable change?
A: Simply learning about the brain isn’t enough. You, of course, have to put into practice what you learn. And this is something you can see really clearly when you go through a process of change. People often know the principles of what they need to do to change themselves, but don’t know the practical steps that will actually allow them to do this in a way that they can sustain over time. For example, they might try something new for a while, but then quickly fall back on old behaviours or mindsets. By using what we know about neuroscience and how the brain works, we can ensure that people develop habits that actually become embedded into a person’s daily routine, so that your organisation can continually progress and adapt in a changing marketplace.
Q: Our people are already so busy, aren’t neuroscience and behavioural science too complicated for what we need?
A: Neuroscience and behavioural science are both the science of people. What’s going on inside their head. How they work. What makes them tick. Why they do what they do. And although they have the reputation for being complicated, when the science is translated in the right way, in an applied way, it really makes intuitive sense to people and they can easily start integrating the habits into their existing work patterns.
Q. We haven’t got the basics covered yet, don’t we need to do that first?
A: Although neuroscience and behavioural science are still somewhat the new kids on the block when it comes to people development strategies, conceptually speaking, it is the basics. When it comes down to developing people then it all comes down to how the brain works and how to make it work better. And if you get that right then everything else starts to follow.
Q: What’s special about a habit-based approach to people development?
A habit-based approach to people development is instantly applicable to your people’s daily work. By providing people with habits – specific behaviors and mindframes that are tied to specific hallmarks of high performance and that can be tangibly integrated into their daily tasks, with their teams, in meetings – it means that people have practical strategies to apply and practise in situ, rather than taking a more theory based approach where they know in principle what they should do, but aren’t sure how to do it. This means that your people can start to enact meaningful change straight away as they build up confidence with these habits and unlift their performance.