Neuroscience in the Workplace - Still Taking Baby Steps

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					Neuroscience in the Workplace - Still Taking Baby Steps

Several opinion pieces in late 2012 - most notably in the New York Times
newspaper and in the weekly magazine The New Yorker - have voiced
warnings about mis-using neuroscience. They claim that some of the
findings are misrepresented and that there are too many dabblers in the
field taking information and twisting it into inaccurate conclusions.

We take a look at this in the context of being able to use neuroscience
in the workplace most effectively, where it is still really in its

Conflicts in the World of Neuroscience

Recently we talked about some of the neuro-myths that are perpetrated and
which we warned leadership against using in the workplace.

Most people simply do not have the scientific background to be able to
interpret neuroscientific data and draw their own conclusions. So we are
reliant upon commentary from those who do - and we generally demand it in
a language that we can understand.

The trouble is there are not too many people who can work on both sides
of that bridge - so conflicts and misunderstandings start to arise.

This has led to concerns that much of the actual science has been dumbed
down; because so many of us are interested to know how the brain works -
how our brain works - and we want it in a format that we don't need a PhD
to follow.

This has led to magazine articles in Newsweek and books from the likes of
Naomi Wolf and Chris Mooney that have sold well, but have been roundly
criticised by the neuroscience community for being overly-simplified -
calling it "pop neuroscience."

Simplistic explanations and attention-grabbing headlines have some of the
neuroscientists squirming by their scanners when they read articles and
reports on how their findings are being presented. They see their first
love being sensationalised and are understandably protective over their
field, having ploughed so much time into it over the years.

What we are seeing is neuroscience hitting the mainstream conscience -
and the conflicts are a natural consequence of when a very complicated
and rapidly evolving science becomes latched on to by the sectors of the
public that want to either popularise it, or use it for commercial gain.

How Organisations can use Neuroscience Most Effectively

The truth is that the use of neuroscience in the world of business is
still in its baby stages. There are, however, professionals who are very
well versed in the findings of neuroscience and how it may relate to
areas such as leadership, strategic communication, change management,
organisational development and teamwork.
In fact, under the right guidance, it can be applied to virtually any
area of an organisation, giving us a deeper understanding of how to run
operations, improve sales, develop marketing, develop human resources,
develop the executive leadership, improve organisational structure and so

Why? Because people are always the key part of the equation.

Understanding people better is the key to developing relationships and
that is what a solid business is built upon.

What motivates people, what drives them on, how they behave in solitary
situations and in group situations, how they react under pressure... all
the types of natural human responses which vary from person to person,
have been (and are currently being) studied by neuroscientists keen to
understand the workings of the brain and neural system - and how that
translates into behaviour.

In truth it was always a matter of time before the science would enter
the workplace. As soon as Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
technology started to be able to safely show brain activity on a wide
scale, the findings were bound to be embraced and promoted by the world
of business.

But the equipment is rapidly changing too - and what is leading edge now
will not be in the years ahead.

Increasingly precise and complex measurements will tell us more, but the
data still won't be understandable to most people... it will need to be
translated by the rare breed of people that understand the science and
can communicate it effectively to the people that use it - whether in
medicine, business, law enforcement or whatever field.

If your organisation needs a fresh outlook based on a sound understanding
of how neuroscience relates to the functioning of organisations, then
right now there are not too many to choose from!

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