How brain science can help us make smarter management decisions.
Businesspeople are taught to make decisions with facts and logic and to avoid emotional bias. But according to the latest research, we almost never decide rationally, despite thinking that we do. Our experiences carry an emotional charge, encoded in the synapses of our neurons. And when we try to deny what our emotions tell us, we lose what we've learned from the past. That's just one of many recent discoveries that help explain why management is so challenging. As Charles Jacobs explains, much of the conventional wisdom taught to managers is not only inadequate, it produces the opposite of what is intended. The better path is frequently counterintuitive.
For example, it turns out that pay doesn't really drive performance. When we do work that's inherently engaging, the neurotransmitter dopamine is released, creating feelings of pleasure not unlike a cocaine high. But when we work primarily for money, the dopamine isn't triggered and it's harder to stay motivated.
Once we understand the lessons of neuroscience, we can create more effective strategies, inspire people to maximize their potential, and overcome the biggest hurdle to improving business performance—making change stick.