Latest neuroscience research helps improves our understanding of change
What we pay attention to gets repeated.
The study of how the brain changes over time (Neuroplasticity) shows that the act of paying attention impacts our brain circuitry directly. The act of paying attention over time creates new circuits and embeds the process as the path of least resistance (habit). This helps us with our understanding of change.
Attention colours perception
Our perception of the world is coloured by our unique mental circuitry. Through focussed attention our mind is able to change our brain. Therefore if we want to drive change, we need to pay focussed attention to the change process. Deep practice is the focussed attention on the details of the process. Think sports practice where the same shot is played over and over, and a coach gives small corrections to style and process.
Paying attention takes energy
We can only focus on one energy sapping activity at a time. Think of learning to drive – initially it took a lot of energy and focus, doing two things at a time was almost impossible, until the action became a habit.
In feedback we need to pay attention to the behaviours we want to be repeated, more than those we want changed. Research shows we need to pay 3 times more attention to the positive, than to the negative, helping us increase our understanding of change. As we acknowledge the desired behaviour and thought process in solving problems we help create new pathways and create best practice. When we only focus on what is wrong, what doesn’t work we habituate poor performance.
Focus on small wins
We tend to focus on fear and obstacles when we try to bring about change, instead of focusing on the change. We need to find ways for our people to feel safe, and then encourage them to pay focussed attention to the process, for short bursts, over time. For most of us it is easier to pay attention to the problems, our failures, than what works. Which do you want to repeat? Focus on the wins and spend as much time discovering why the process worked as why it didn’t. This focus on the small wins helps with our understanding of change and develops new neuro skills.
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