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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 click here

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 invitation.

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 trusted employees.

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 industry leaders. www.cherylcran.com


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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-10-24 01:45:24 in Employee Articles

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