At times we lose ourselves in thinking that academic smarts and IQ will automatically drive success, but as we become more savvy on neuro-research we begin to realize successful people’s brains actually work differently. Two recent posts are shining light on this phenomena.
Carolyn Gregoire and Scott Barry Kaufman discuss a study by Frank Barron in the 1960s which found that “traits that people across all creative fields seemed to have in common were an openness to one’s inner life; a preference for complexity and ambiguity; an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray; the ability to extract order from chaos; independence; unconventionality; and a willingness to take risks”. They also found that creative people, by being more introspective, were more self-aware. This is supplemented by neurologist Marcus Raichle’s (2001) work on brain networks, it was found that the creative brain is good at engaging, balancing and getting these brain networks (imagination network and executive network) to collaborate where others are unable to get the different networks work together. With the understanding from neuroscience we can help our leaders practice and learn how to better engage these brain networks in themselves and coach their people towards everlasting creativity.
Dr. Travis Bradberry discusses Carol Dweck’s work on the fixed and growth mindset. It was found that “People with a growth mindset…outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.” Leaders can be role models by sharing strategic discussions about the organization, its competitors and its challenges and “teach” how to embrace these and leverage them as learning opportunities for their organization.
In 2000, Robert Eichinger and Michael Lombardo defined the concept of learning agility “the willingness and ability to learn from experience, and subsequently apply that learning to perform successfully under new or first-time condition”. As we better understand and learn about our brains, it is becoming apparent that the agile leader can be mapped to the brain’s circuitry. If we still believe in the foundations of human behavior that people can change behavior and grow, and we embrace the research that learning agility is developable then we should not only support and identify the highly agile, but also work to develop this agility in everyone.