How Neuroscience is taking over management

Stress management, talent search, etc., recent discoveries on the functioning of the brain open up new avenues for managers.

It is possible to shape our brain at will and optimize its performance, whether in terms of intelligence, memory, or the management of emotions?

After gaining ground in personal development and education, neuroscience is now taking over management. At the Human Resources Solution Show last year, no less than five conferences mobilized this discipline.

Advances in research have put neuroscience in the spotlight. Twenty or thirty years ago, we didn’t know what was going on in the brain. Today, neuroscience allows us to go much further in understanding how it works.

The promise is enticing: it would be possible to shape our brain at will and optimize its performance, whether in terms of intelligence, memory, or emotional management.

This is based on the most recent scientific discoveries, which allow us to map more precisely the functioning of the brain.

Researchers have long focused on the left and right hemispheres. But the latest scientific advances have revealed that the brain is governed by four different pilots, including the reptilian for acquired intelligence and the prefrontal neocortex for adaptive intelligence. The first allows decisions to be made quickly, while the second serves to qualify and accept events.

Managing complexity

Recent research on how the brain works has shown that the conflict between these two areas causes stress.

Our reptilian brain does not know how to manage complexity, whereas if we develop our adaptive intelligence, if we are curious, we can learn to put things into perspective.

Faced with a colleague who is always late, we can get excited, but also adapt to this situation: if we decide to start the meeting at 9 am, whatever happens, this will encourage him to come earlier next time!

According to psychology expert Medium Christina, fighter pilots in the Air Force who were trained to develop their adaptive intelligence in the face of stressful situations managed to improve their performance by 700%.

Advances in neuroscience would also make it possible to go further in the management of human resources.

Understanding what is happening in the brain makes it possible, for example, to identify the behaviors of domination dictated by gregarious intelligence, in order to avoid toxic power struggles. It also gives us some additional keys to identify and project talent over the long term.

Another field explored by researchers in cognitive sciences is that of memory.

We know that for our brain to memorize anything, only two levers work: emotion, which is the most effective but which can only be used in a limited way, and repetition.

However, research has shown that each person has their own memory range, which can range from ten seconds to an hour. Collective rehearsal in face-to-face training is therefore absolutely not suitable.

Based on this observation, a company has developed its own Memory Anchor engine, an artificial intelligence that calculates the repetition rate necessary for each person. This engine is used on a platform for upgrading in spelling. Manpower also called on its services to train all of its employees on basic concepts of legislation.

A key factor: motivation

Motivation is key for success

Scientific advances in the field of neuroscience have also made it possible to understand better a key factor for the development of professional skills, the weight of which has long been underestimated: that of motivation.

There was the case of a manager who was not fulfilled in her work when all the professional tests said that she was made for the organization where she worked.

By looking at her deep motivation, the human resources staff realized that she felt compelled to take on this role of organizer. She had, therefore, become very competent, but had developed a real aversion for her work.

Regarding the importance of motivation and adaptive intelligence, does not the reference to neuroscience ultimately serve to bring up-to-date ideas already well known, by adding a layer of scientific varnish?

It is true that psychology also talks about these concepts, but neuroscience allows us to go further. For example, today, they make it possible to identify precisely internal and external motivations. Research has shown that motivation based solely on the will of the individual is more effective than when it is based on an external factor, like reward or punishment.

Given the growing interest of human resources professionals in this discipline, there is no doubt that management opens up a new field of possibilities.