Developing-Leaders-issue - 23- Spring - 2016

Executive Development 38 | Developing Leaders Issue 23: 2016 T he world in which companies operate has been made much bigger by globalization – and therefore more complex. And at the same time the digitization of everything that happens in this world, has become faster and more efficient. Both employees and managers experience this through a growing pressure on performance and competitiveness, with which comes an increasing feeling of insecurity. As workload increases, family life suffers, and the call for more flexibility and the willingness to change inevitably clashes in the pursuit of a work-life- balance. In search of explanations for and ways out of these critical trends insights from brain research are getting more and more attention. Much of what neurobiologists know today about the structuring and the inner organization of the human brain is generally transferable to companies. It even seems that the secret of long term successful companies is that they function as lifelong adaptive brains: these companies learn by trial and error, they develop flat and strongly connected structures, acquire experiences and continually adapt their inner organization over-and-over again changing to their surrounding conditions. They manage through self-optimizing communicative links within and between the different organizational levels, not only to react quickly and efficiently, but also carefully and sustainably to new challenges. And as there are brains in which the communication between the right and the left hemisphere and between ‘up’ and ‘down’ does not work so well, there are also enterprises with corresponding blockages, separations, structures of coercion and well-worn paths. Such companies may survive for a certain time; but these are certainly not vital, flexible and above all creative and innovative organizations. Also in this regard, the company experiences innovation in the same way as the brain: the variety of new ideas that a company generates provides information as a seismograph of the inner condition. The rhythm and strength of the waves of new ideas indicates how energetic and vigorous the organization’s innovative culture is. Likewise, with maturity, a child’s brain will most probably lose its original and native curiosity, enthusiasm and joy of designing – and it is extremely difficult to rediscover that. It is seemingly just as difficult for all businesses that complain about having lost their innovation spirit to regain it. By Gerald Hüther Brainwash – Innovation Starts in the Mind How Organizations Can Benefit from the Insights of Brain Research