Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Get Smart About Personal and Enterprise Vitality


Published on

  • Be the first to like this

Get Smart About Personal and Enterprise Vitality

  1. 1. Get Smart AboutPersonal and Enterprise VitalityPrecious Gifts from Brain Science © The BestWork People 2012
  2. 2. For most of human history,people lived and worked insmall groupsThey knew each other alltheir lives. They told the samestories and did the same kindof work Elders lived to age 35We who value prolonged high performance are challenged todevelop a new kind of vitality for the modern age.
  3. 3. Table of Contents Brief Introduction A Bit of Brain Background Challenges for Sustained High Performance How to Promote Vitality - Boosting Personal Vitality - Boosting Enterprise Vitality Current Insights from NeuroScience Conclusion © The BestWork People 20123
  4. 4. This eBook is about how to work better with the brain’s powerful wiring – instead of against itThe human brain was not designed for modern life. Optimal functioning is disabled by: Prolonged physical, social or emotional stress Information overload Insufficient exercise and rest Multi-tasking © The BestWork People 20124
  5. 5. We can stay smart and vital But it takes determinationGood news Bad news Humans retain Neuroplasticity as  The adult brain is programmed to adults – we can learn conserve energy by minimizing ‘new’ Building new neural pathways feels good  Stress of any kind makes learning impossible and promotes illness The brain gets a shot of pleasure from new ways to contribute  We are highly vulnerable to ambiguity and social stress We can actively promote brain fitness individually and in  Working memory is small: can organizational culture only absorb small amounts of new information  Nothing new can happen while multi-tasking © The BestWork People 2012 5
  6. 6. A BIT OF BRAIN BACKGROUND © The BestWork People 20126
  7. 7. Cooperation – the basis of commerce - is as old as the first human community Developed over more than 200,000 generations The brains of early ancestors are about 1/3 the size of modern humans The brain reached it current size about 1300 generations ago © The BestWork People 2012 7
  8. 8. It all started with a change in the weather… Pressure from climatic change made increased cooperation a great adaptive advantage: giving rise to language, driving brain development Humberto Maturana,John Medina, Professor of Biology,Professor of Bioengineering, University of ChileUniversity of WashingtonSchool of Medicine © The BestWork People 2012 8
  9. 9. Society, commerce and the brain co-evolved  Brain Body BusinessLucy 500 cc Male 5’ 100# Cooperating and Coordinating Female 4’ 50# Primitive tools3,200,000 yrs Walking upright, arched Language?160,000 gens foot Communities in Africa Sloped forehead1,000,000 years 1000 cc Heavy brow ridges Good cutting edges50,000 gens Less sloping forehead Communities throughout Asia, Africa, maybe Europe25,000 years 1500 cc Male 6’ 150# Trading over thousands of miles1,250  gens Modern Female 5’5” 120# Art PFC Fully modern Elegant tools Herding Communities in Asia, Africa, Australia, and maybe the Americas10,000 years X X Horticulture, towns, competition for resources500 gens5,000 years X X Cities, warfare, taxes, writing250 gens600 years X X Italian Renaissance, banking30 gens Can exchange without seeing each others’ eyes230 years X X Industrial revolution, modern cities11 gens People become ‘pairs of hands’ © The BestWork People 2012 9
  10. 10. While society and the brain were evolving Our hunter/gatherer ancestors walked ca. 20 miles/day (children under four were carried;) worked about 4 hrs/day and rested a great deal People knew the members of their group their whole lives. Tasks and exchanges were understood. Self-worth and belonging were not questions How the world works, including social requirements, was learned long before puberty – there was little ambiguity Change was slow Stress was short-lived (predators, weather) Population was not dense Those who lived to old age were precious resources: the libraries and universities of their time © The BestWork People 2012 10
  11. 11. We humans make our living in exchangesExchanging with others isin our biology – it’s anessential part ofbeing humanWe’re highly sensitiveabout it – a matter ofsurvival © The BestWork People 201211
  12. 12. Social animals thrive together – not separately © The BestWork People 201212
  13. 13. We become ingenious when others appear to be vulnerable People mobilized instantly in 18 degree weather The mood of the country changed © The BestWork People 201213
  14. 14. Interactions with others is the basis of business and the stuff of human lifeCasual or formal,monetized or not,tangible or intangibleThe brain is hard-wiredto keep us focused onothers, and on our roleand statusWhen we’re not engagedin some kind ofexchange, we’re oftenthinking about them © The BestWork People 2012 14
  15. 15. Social Pain and Social Pleasure A broken heart is like a broken = leg. Mentoring tastes like sex and chocolatePowerful brain chemicalskeep us oriented to sociality: how we connect and contribute is crucial to how Matthew Lieberman and Naomi Eisenberg, we feel UCLA Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab © The BestWork People 2012 15
  16. 16. We decline quickly when excluded © Matthew Lieberman, UCLA, 200816
  17. 17. At its best, the human brain is capable of extraordinary feats To question To learn To invent To create To interpret To communicate To choose © The BestWork People 201217
  18. 18. © Kevin Ochsner, Columbia University, 2008 18
  19. 19. Questions for our time What puts people in shape for ongoing learning and change? To thrive in a shifting environment? To age gracefully and enjoy new stages of life? To minimize suffering around change, and seize opportunities to contribute more? © The BestWork People 2012 19
  21. 21. We ‘think’ well under optimal conditions Not when we feel rejected, unappreciated or unloved Not when we assess risk or experience ambiguity Not unless the arousal chemicals and neuro- modulators are “just right” Not when we haven’t had enough rest and exercise Not when we multi-task © The BestWork People 2012 21
  22. 22. The Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) – the executive function of the brain – is fragile22 © Amy F. T. Arnsten, PhD, Yale University, 2009
  23. 23. © Amy F. T. Arnsten, PhD, Yale University, 200923
  24. 24. 2524 © Amy F. T. Arnsten, PhD, Yale University, 2009
  25. 25. © Amy F. T. Arnsten, PhD, Yale University, 200925
  26. 26. The brain is bilateralThe corpus callosum is a large bundleof nerves - a very important structurethat connects the two sides of thebrainIt’s exceptionally sensitive to stress.When stressed, the two halves don’tcommunicate – we lose mentaldexterity © The BestWork People 2012 26
  27. 27. Ingenuity, innovation, learning and dexterity require both sides of the brainUsing a tool we know, like ahammer, lights up an areajust above and behind theleft ear: Wernicke’s areaDevising a new way to use itlights up just above andbehind the right ear © The BestWork People 2012 27
  28. 28. The uncertainty of modern life generates constant stressEvery day, modern business demands new exchanges,presents new people, new problems and opportunities,new informationIn our daily lives, each of us is personally challenged todemonstrate our economic worth, establish our social status,sort huge amounts information, learn new tools andprocesses, maintain connections that fulfill our hearts andminds, and reassure us that we make a difference, and findways to care for our bodies and our loved ones © The BestWork People 201228
  29. 29. Exchanging with others - the lifeblood of human society – has become stressful We’re in frequent contact with people and cultures we don’t know – we don’t know what to expect Our environment changes quickly: technologically, economically, socially, and sometimes politically, climatically Peoples’ concerns shift in response New variables often call for new exchanges © The BestWork People 2012 29
  30. 30. Ongoing stress reduces intelligence and drives chronic illnessOrganizations, schools, families, communities could learn to workwith a brain that is:Naturally inclined to avoid uncertainty, unless it’s in the form ofplayHighly sensitive to social stress, disadvantaged working in aworld bigger than our childhood ‘tribe’Working memory is small and easily tiredStress reduces executive function intelligenceMulti-tasking dumbs us downPart of a system designed for a great deal of movement © The BestWork People 201230
  31. 31. Thriving in a world where peoples’ concerns are continually shifting Requires staying curious about new exchangesThat demands: Courage ? - To question - To take in ‘unwelcome’ news - To risk something new Fitness - To be nimble and responsive to a changing world We’re challenged to learn a new kind of vitality for the modern age © The BestWork People 2012 31
  32. 32. HOW TO PROMOTE VITALITY © The BestWork People 201232
  33. 33. Vitality is systemic The drivers are interconnectedPersonal Vitality Enterprise Vitality Keep building new neural  Keep building new neural pathways – be a learner, a pathways – design your culture graceful beginner around learning and inquiry Spark and feed curiosity  Spark and feed curiosity Rest deeply and often  Encourage rest and rejuvenation Find pleasurable ways to move  Promote enjoyable exercise Love and contribute  Celebrate caring and contribution Laugh and play  Reward laughter and play Enjoy all 5 senses  Employ all 5 senses All are required to sustain vitality © The BestWork People 201233
  34. 34. Boosting personal vitality Remember that the drivers are interconnected Use all of them © The BestWork People 201234
  35. 35. Get smart about your personal habits Keep building new neural pathways (cultivate Neuroplasticity) - Choose something new to learn every year - Vary your exercise; find new ways to move and play - Use brain teasers or guided brain fitness products Spark and feed curiosity - Avoid multi-tasking and information overload Rest deeply and often Move – exercise at least 3x week for 45 min – keep experimenting, find what’s most pleasurable Love and Contribute - Stay connected to people you care about; include others and be included Laugh and play Enjoy all 5 senses © The BestWork People 2012 35
  36. 36. Are you a graceful beginner? Willing and able to enjoy learning? © The BestWork People 201236
  37. 37. Are you engaging with others who share your deepest concerns? © The BestWork People 201237
  38. 38. Are you challenging and expanding your abilities? © The BestWork People 201238
  39. 39. How often are you really resting?39 © The BestWork People 2012
  40. 40. What about laughter and play? © The BestWork People 201240
  41. 41. It all works togetherThe island where people forget to die?There’s no 24/7 on Ikaria, but unlikea ‘modern’ island 3 miles away,everyone socializes with local wine,walks up and down hills to collectswild food, and enjoys living on andon… Source: NY Times, October 24, 2012 © The BestWork People 2012 41
  42. 42. Boosting enterprise vitality Remember that the drivers are interconnected Employ all of them © The BestWork People 201242
  43. 43. Get smart about your work environment Promote Neuroplasticity - Rotate the job of sparking meetings with a kush ball exercise, a brain teaser, a challenge about someone else’s business Reward learning, honor beginners Stimulate ingenuity by keeping stakeholder vulnerability top of mind: fresh stories about customers, users, strategic allies… Take stress reduction seriously Make resting cool; make multi-tasking and emails between 7 pm and 7 am highly uncool Neutralize status with inclusive, collaborative inquiry Celebrate the pleasure of working together, and the many styles of learning and working © The BestWork People 201243
  44. 44. High-performing enterprise cultures are based in inquiry Promotes inclusion Neutralizes status Provokes curiosity Encourages neuroplasticity Cultivates learning and ? responsiveness to change © The BestWork People 201244
  45. 45. Generate the experience of belongingCreate inclusion with play Create inclusion with sincere questions Encourage gratitude © The BestWork People 201245
  46. 46. Cultivate curiosity and learning © The BestWork People 201246
  47. 47. What makes a question powerful?Provokes curiosity Introduces a new interpretation, label, graphic, sound… Focuses on genuine vulnerability Opens possibilities for contributingA good question is a pleasureand an opportunity © The BestWork People 201247
  48. 48. Change is integral to modern work A modern productive worker is someone who does a great job infiguring out what to do next. Seth Godin 10/15/12 Unfortunately, the imperative to continually generate new value sources ongoing stress Thriving cultures ensure that stress relief is as important as seizing opportunity © The BestWork People 201248
  49. 49. Designing new value is a natural pleasure for an unstressed PFC Interpreting vulnerability Identifying opportunity Devising ingenious ways to use resources Driving innovation © The BestWork People 2012 49
  50. 50. Environments at the forefront of ingenuity and responsiveness Twitter has a rooftop garden with turquoise couches Dropbox has a music room Skype has a pool and foosball room Facebook has treadmill desks Airbnb has a nap room and communal tables where YouTube’s indoor slide employees eat lunch Source: The Atlantic, December 2012 together © The BestWork People 2012 50
  51. 51. Minimizing stress is a competitive moveEssential for enabling employees to respond effectivelyto a changing environmentThe task requires investing in innovative managementand infrastructureThe payoff is big: not only will it make people smarterand able to learn, it will reduce your health care costs © The BestWork People 201251
  52. 52. Building a low-stress environment involves some departures from tradition Rest – 3 naps a week optimizes brain function and overall Check out what market health. Create a nap room? leaders are doing to ensure Social inclusion – play and people are in great shape: questions . A play room is just a start. Bring in juggling and clown Zappos has a gratitude board classes? New forms of exercise. Make Warby Parker asks potential hires stairwells interesting? Bring in about their favorite Halloween Zumba, Irish dancing…? costume Pauses for guided breathing? © The BestWork People 2012 52
  53. 53. Smart management practices make everyone smarter Neutralize status by articulating your most important questions and challenges. Foster inclusion with open invitations to address them Decrease ambiguity as much as possible. Use fresh graphics and terms to focus challenges. Invent good metrics to track improvement Be a good role model for rejuvenation. Integrate rest, physical activity, and genuine fun into your environment Share your personal learning Reduce information overload Make multi-tasking a thing of the past © The BestWork People 201253
  54. 54. CONCLUSION © The BestWork People 201254
  55. 55. Whether you’re in business or not…You’ll win by being a source of fresh, rich exchangesWhat would your world be like if exchanging with you wasthe richest experience of peoples’ day…week…?Embrace the demands of vitality: when the body is restedand PFC is not stressed, people can design and fully partnerin any challenge.. In fact, they love it, and you will too © The BestWork People 201255
  56. 56. Curiosity is the silver bullet © The BestWork People 201256
  57. 57. Connection and contribution are the lifeblood © The BestWork People 2012 57
  58. 58. Exercise, play and rest are foundational © The BestWork People 201258
  59. 59. Ongoing stress is the killer © The BestWork People 201259
  60. 60. What is possible in life and in commerce is determined by what the brain can doUnderstanding how it all works may enable us to navigatethrough another big change in the weather © The BestWork People 201260
  61. 61. Brain fitness powers personal and enterprise vitalityEnable with: Impair with: New forms of fun, exercise and moving  Concerns for status Sincere questions,  Multi-tasking genuine vulnerability  Fatigue Fresh labels and graphics  Stress Breaks and rest  Danger/risk/rejection Multiple senses:  Ambiguity/change pictures, sound…  Information overload Experience of belonging © The BestWork People 201261
  62. 62. What will you do differently tomorrow?How will you makeyourself and otherssmarter - more responsiveto change and opento learning? © The BestWork People 201262
  63. 63. What might be possible if you could leverage the brain’s powerful wiring? © The BestWork People 201263
  64. 64. With gratitude for the thinkers, teachers, and researchers who illuminated the path Marsha Shenk is one of the pioneers of Business Anthropology.  Her models have empowered business leaders for more than three decades. Synthesizing insights from Neuroscience, Linguistics, Somatics, social sciences and business, her work simplifies the complex cultural, biological, and historical forces that determine the success of modern enterprises. © The BestWork People 201264