Brains and Leadership – your Neural Parliament

Dr David Eagleman (brain scientist) said:

‘For people to be successfully creative they need to take in their inputs and mix it, blend and put out new things. But there is a sweet spot between the novel and the familiar to be successful. This applies from visual artists to scientists’

He also said:

‘Our brain is a team of internal rivals.. and our brain is like a neural parliament’

Let’s call our neural parliament members – NPs.

I wonder if, in the aid sector, we have allowed some members of our neural parliament to have more of a say than others. We have kept to the familiar pathways.

When we start our ‘career’ we’re told stories about the experienced aid workers, who are like megastars, and we believe we want to be like them.

So we hold in line and we carry on with our ‘career’ – a bit like a property ladder makes you think about buying a bigger house (no one talks about the property snake).

Our brain then focuses on the NPs, which advocate to keep going in our career. Our creativity brain members don’t get a say and probably stop turning up to voting days.

Then one day, we’re just cruising. Day after day. Like a long car journey where you think about other things and don’t remember the journey. Cruise control. How did you get here?

Perhaps even fewer NPs are now turning up to have a say.

But our brains have plasticity throughout our lives – we can adapt and change based on our experiences.

So can our leadership in aid.

What if the creative and empathetic NPs start showing up more often?

We can really start thinking and acting differently.

What am I trying to say – don’t think about the past – think about how we can change the future. Our approach to leadership and change-making has plasticity, we can change and that change is within our neural parliament.

Interested in discovering leadership plasticity – I’ve launched a new network for thinking differently and engaging those NPs: The Innovation.