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TMA World Viewpoint 21: The brain and collaboration
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TMA World Viewpoint 21: The brain and collaboration

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In order to get the best out of individuals and teams, we need to be aware that those around us (face-to-face or virtually) are always evaluating what we say and do in relation to reward or …

In order to get the best out of individuals and teams, we need to be aware that those around us (face-to-face or virtually) are always evaluating what we say and do in relation to reward or threat.

This TMA World presentation examines the negative impact threat responses can have on interactions and relationships with colleagues and advises on how to maximize the likelihood of reward responses from those around us.

To find out more, please contact enquiries@tmaworld.com

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  • 1. S C A R FThe brain andcollaborationTMA World Viewpoint
  • 2. S C A R F the brain & collaboration The SCARF model, developed by David Rock, provides a useful framework for understanding and influencing our interactions with others (including collaborations).It begins by identifying the overarching, organizing principle of thebrain as: minimize danger and maximize reward.
  • 3. S C A R F the brain & collaborationIf a stimulus is associated with positive emotions or rewards itwill most likely lead to an approach response.If it is associated with negative emotions or punishments it will mostlikely be seen as a threat and trigger an avoid response.
  • 4. S C A R F the brain & collaborationThe brain is thereforeconstantly monitoring theenvironment (about five timesper second) for reward orthreat.These states have a dramaticimpact on our capabilities andrelationships.
  • 5. S C A R F the brain & collaborationThe threat response is moreintense and more common.It reduces our capacity tomake decisions, solveproblems and collaborate.
  • 6. S C A R F the brain & collaborationThe well-researched SCARF model aims to identify thecore social domains that drive human behaviour.These five domains activate the primary reward or primarythreat circuitry in our brains. SCARF refers to five domains:Status: Our relative importance to othersCertainty: Our being able to predict the futureAutonomy: Our sense of control over eventsRelatedness: Our sense of safety with othersFairness: Our perception of fair exchanges between people
  • 7. S C A R F the brain & collaboration Rock says: “Data gathered through measures of brain activity, using fMRI and electroencephalograph (EEG) machines or gauging hormonal secretions, suggests that the same neural responses that drive us toward food or away from predators are triggered by our perceptions of the way we are treated by other people.”
  • 8. S C A R F the brain & collaborationBeing ostracized, for example, activates similar neuralresponses to being hungry.Threats to our status elevate the level of cortisol, which is alsoassociated with sleep deprivation and chronic anxiety.In fMRI tests, lack of clarity and unpredictability light up the sameareas in the brain as physical pain.
  • 9. S C A R F the brain & collaboration “So what?” you might be asking. There are different behavioural/psychological consequences associated with threat and reward: THREAT REWARD• Reduced working • More cognitive memory resources• Reduced field of view • More insights• Generalizing of • More ideas for action threat • Fewer perceptual errors• Err on the side of • A wider field of view pessimism
  • 10. S C A R F the brain & collaborationAs people looking to get the best out of individuals and teams, we need to be aware that those around us (face-to-face or virtually) are always evaluating what we say and do in relation to reward or threat.
  • 11. S C A R F the brain & collaborationBy knowing the drivers, we arebetter able to designinteractions with people tomaximize rewards andminimize threats.
  • 12. S C A R F the brain & collaborationOn the reward side, for example:Status: Safeguard others’ status by what you say and doCertainty: Be as clear and as consistent as you can beAutonomy: Stay clear of micromanagementRelatedness: Strive for inclusion and connectednessFairness: Demonstrate transparency
  • 13. S C A R F the brain & collaborationIt’s still an open question as to therole culture plays (or doesn’t play)in neuroscience studiesHowever, S C A R F can still be auseful vehicle for bringing moreenlightened practices to the workplaceand our collaborations.
  • 14. S C A R F the brain & collaborationTo learn more about how TMA World can help your organization, please contact us at enquiries@tmaworld.com or visithttp://www.tmaworld.com/training-solutions/

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