Neuroscience and change
Our brain likes habits. To the extent of being opposed to any change? In reality, neuroscience demonstrates that we can adapt our practices in change management to the functioning of our brain.
The considerable and recent advances in the field of neuroscience, thanks notably to medical imaging techniques, enable us to better understand the functioning of our brain. Thus many preconceived ideas are suddenly wiped out! The visualization of the cerebral areas stimulated by such or such activity and the understanding of the role of each of the neurotransmitters demonstrate, for example, the counterproductive nature of monetary rewards. These do, however, continue to be used as one of the main tools for staff motivation. Similarly, scientists have been able to show that our brain is plastic: it develops numerous new neuronal connections in adulthood, while we’ve thought its capacities to be frozen, or even decreasing, after the age of about 20.
These recent findings are being progressively brought to the attention of the public, but we do not always translate them into practical applications, notably in our professional life. Yet these would help us to review a few hypotheses and methods that are no longer relevant. In particular, understanding how our brain functions is essential in change management, at a time when teams must rapidly and successfully achieve complex transformations, master new competencies and adapt their behavior.
Change management techniques are increasingly robust and everyone can easily access the best practices that have been experimented within this field. Yet, the failure rate of transformation projects remains spectacular. Indeed, these transformations mobilize our entire brain, in its cognitive, creative and emotional dimensions: we need to master new technologies, solve complex problems, show creativity, overcome our natural fear of change and understand the aspirations of our customers… Our brain is naturally resistant to change from the moment previous behaviors have proven right at a given point.
A better understanding of the human brain opens new perspectives in terms of change management. It also enables us to identify how to overturn resistance and sustainably anchor change by activating the most relevant incentives.
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