Trends on Change Management, Neuroscience and Positive Psychology at the 2016 ATD

We invite you to imagine that we are going to hire an employee for a key position, where their new and different perspective of the organization would be valued and probably very necessary in future decision making. However, when reviewing CVs, we are more attracted to a candidate that is more similar in age and experience as the person currently holding that job position. At this time, we remind ourselves that it is important to build a cohesive team, and therefore decide on the safe decision. We decided to make a decision which resulted in us thinking that we can control or predict the future (theoretically anyway). This is just one example of the common, everyday prejudices which we are usually accustomed to deal with on a daily basis. Biases, preconceived ideas, and thinking inside our comfort zone are what are called “non-conscious drivers or cognitive peculiarities” that influence how we people see the world.

You cannot go shopping, get into a conversation, or make a decision without a bias getting in the way. In general, biases can be useful and adaptive. On one hand, they can allow us to make efficient, fast decisions with minimal cognitive effort. But on the other hand, they can also blind a person in front of new information, or inhibit anyone considering the valuable options when making an important decision, especially when we are faced with uncertain situations or want to achieve results that go beyond the ordinary expectations.

The last four sessions of the day (“The Neuroscience of Change”, “Emotional Intelligence”, “Leading Change: 3 Tools from the Science of Positive Psychology”, and “The Neuroscience of Why Bias Persists and What to Do About It”) have been creative, different, and disruptive. In them, we have learned how the use of science may be useful to help transform the effectiveness of leadership and the teams that comprise companies, with real examples such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and more. Fundamentally, as for all those who are dedicated to training and the revitalization of learning and change processes, we can help, impact, and drive science to others through the knowledge of neuroscience and positive psychology.

Some of the most important ideas we gathered have been:

– Accelerate and implement new behaviors through learning strategies based on knowledge of the brain’s behavior.

– Drive performance improvement of sales teams by improving the quality of conversations in terms of making them more conscious, powerful and self-reliant.

– Put a consciousness in each person who is part of an organization, challenging them to be consistent, courageous, and resilient.

– Discover through new tools how we can evolve in improving performance, accelerating transformation projects and creating a culture of positive change.

– The 3 tools of Positive Psychology that generate a behavioral change: 1- stop being an expert, 2- wear the explorer hat, 3- the Achoo! effect (the sneeze, which means the spread of negative or positive emotions, and it takes only one person to infect the whole group)

– Change our mindset and develop a new one that allows us to function as a “learner” vs. “expert”. Therein lies the real mentality change and this makes us open to opportunities for continuous improvement.

– Consider that “We are able to think in a more positive way, but we need help to learn how to do it.”

– Realize the impact of negative and positive emotions and take them into account as a communication element between those who make up a team. For example: begin and end meetings with praise rather than criticism (this seems obvious, but not many people do it).

– Develop in people a conscious “explanatory style”: helping people realize and explain to themselves why and how they experience an event, experience, or particular situation, whether positive or negative. Psychologists have identified three components in the explanatory style: Personal (internal vs. external), Permanent (stable vs. unstable), and Pervasive (global vs. local/specific). They promote self-reliance and the realization of our actions and decisions (a clear example in sales teams when they fail to achieve results and look for reasons beyond themselves).

– Make more “stress breaks” in meetings so that energy can flow out and be renewed: a concrete example is to reduce the amount of energy it takes to get things done, as combining tasks already reduces anxiety.

– Bosses are Even More Contagious: it is essential that those leading can understand the impact that their energy and personality has on their teams and also can discover what can help them better manage their emotions and create healthier work environments.

For more information, don’t hesitate to write us and we would be happy to share methodologies, tools, and methods that we have gathered in these truly interesting learning sessions!

Written by the Overlap Team, from Denver – ATD May 2016

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