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Neuroscience and Lean

I was surfing around the Kindle store the other day, and found a free download that looked interesting. It is no longer free, though. Sorry.

The title might put some people off: Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders. To be honest, I have only skimmed over it a bit, and don’t quite know if I would give a full recommendation yet, but it does have some pearls in it. It also has a unique approach to leadership that I hadn’t seen before. It throws hard science at what is traditionally thought of as a soft skill. The author, for example, mentions studies involving putting subjects in MRI machines and measuring blood flow to different areas of the brain.

So far, I’ve just started to skim the book, but there are a few takeaways already.

  1. There is a proven increase in the placebo effect of pharmaceuticals when a person is optimistic. The same boost occurs with an upbeat leader, as long as he doesn’t go overboard.
  2. People show a stronger preference to a choice after it is made, even if there is nothing else that changes. Basically, the option gets bonus points just for getting picked. That means that once a choice is made, it becomes harder to undo. The takeaway is that if you can get commitment to small, incremental changes, they reinforce the progress towards the big changes.

I’m looking forward to diving into the rest of the book. It is this method of looking at problems in a novel way that drives real progress.

So, what do you think about the concept that leadership might be a quantifiable skill, if the right measurement tools are used? Granted, it is not very practical to jump into an MRI machine whenever you have to make a choice, but it is interesting to think that soft skills might not be so soft after all.


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Share Your Thoughts    |3 comments|


  • Jeff,

    Your webenar was great today. Your discussion about why change is difficult was good. Emotion trumps logic is an excellent point. I don’t know how many times I’ve encountered that one. Thanks for sharing.


  • Jeff,

    Those are interesting take-aways. I can say that my experience would support those conclusions. I know that I’ve personally felt much more energy when I chose to be positive and have felt a team rally around a decision once it is articulated. It almost feels like the team was waiting for the leader to pick it to jump on board.

    Thanks for sharing.


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