Science Proves the Brain Can Change- Leaders Pay Attention
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Science Proves the Brain Can Change- Leaders Pay Attention!
Neuro plasticity is a term that scientists use to describe the potential for
the brain to change. In a recent article in Scientific American magazine
scientists studied in a lab to see how the brain responds to visual stimulation
coupled with a reward. To read more about the article itself
The old wives tale that says you canít teach a dog old tricks is just that-
an old wives tale. When people use the excuse of I can never change, or thatís
just the way I am they indeed believe in an erroneous truth.
The implications of the brainís ability to change the way it connects with
different areas within the brain and how the brain can rebuild is far reaching.
In a presentation for leaders a few years ago and I made the statement that
humans only use about 10% of their brains. I had heard this statement many times
and believed it to be true.
At that seminar a gentleman came up to me and challenged me by saying that it
had been proven by scientists that indeed we do use the entire brain and that
the statement should be revised to, we can increase the overall usage of our
brains. At the time I was annoyed by this person pointing this out but upon
return to my office I looked it up and indeed he was correct!
Now it seems we can help others to increase their brain plasticity through
the ways we interact and reward. As leaders we can fall into the trap of seeing
those around us as one dimensional rather than seeing them as multi talented and
multi functional. Many times we can limit the potential of someone simply by not
seeing them perform in a certain way or by not providing opportunities for that
person to perform in a new way.
As leaders we can perceive that there is just no way to change someone and
fundamentally it is true that we cannot control others to change. A bold leader
however can creatively and intelligently devise ways to create positive
improvement simply by communicating in a new way and devising new ways for
others to use their brains.
I am reminded by a story from the well worn book by Carnegie, How to Win
Friends and Influence People where shares the story of his employee who began to
develop a drinking problem. Mr. Carnegie watched the employee arrive later and
later during a week and finally on the Friday called the employee aside. With
great compassion and care Mr. Carnegie invited the employee to his home that
evening for a visit. The employee was astonished and a little wary of the
Promptly at 7:00 PM the employee arrived and Mr. Carnegie greeted him warmly
and showed him into the study. Then he handed the employee a cigar and a glass
of his finest brandy. The employee was now feeling bewildered, surely Mr.
Carnegie must know about his recent drinking. Then Mr. Carnegie smiled and
gently asked the employee how things were going at home. The employee broke down
and began to share how his wife was leaving him and he had turned to drinking.
Without Mr. Carnegie saying one word the employee stood up and thanked Mr.
Carnegie for being so hospitable and vowed right there that he would be a model
employee and not let Mr. Carnegie down if he would give him one more chance.
The employee was asked to stay and went on to become Mr. Carnegies most
Creativity, compassion and concern were used to address a very sensitive
problem. We could argue that today we just donít have the time or the ability to
provide such personal attention. Or we can see that there are numerous
opportunities to use unexpected methods that create exceptional results. Using
our intelligence to influence others to use theirs is the ultimate proof of the
brains ability to be flexible and to change.
Science says that the brain can change, can respond and grow. We as leaders
can change our own brains/minds first and then use interactive methods that help
those who work for us to change, respond and grow.
About the Author
Cheryl Cran, CSP President of Synthesis at Work Inc. works with organizations
in significantly increasing productivity and profitability through communication
strategies that improve employee performance, leverage team synergy and build
extraordinary leaders. Many of Synthesis at Work's clients are award winning
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-10-24 01:45:24 in Employee Articles