Just to be clear about terminology, groupthink is a phenomenon whereby individuals within a group strive for consensus to the extent they set aside their personal opinions and, in some cases, ‘inconsistent’ facts. While there is appeal (especially in a business context) for fast, “orderly”, “efficient” decisions, the trade-off can outweigh the benefits.
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The obvious question arising as a result of these alarming results I reported on previously: What is a businessperson (any person) to do? The obvious (but impossible) solution is to avoid stress. Alternatively – could a businessperson (or anyone) deal with it effectively?
What could be the practical value (to the world of business) of an overview of the neuroscience of creativity/innovation? If nothing else – I hope to illustrate what a holistic phenomenon this is and encourage initiatives that could enhance cognition, creativity and innovation.
“Humanity’s ability to alter its own brain function might well shape history as powerfully as the development of metallurgy in the Iron Age, mechanization in the Industrial Revolution or genetics in the second half of the twentieth century.”
“Big achievements of the behavioural revolution has been to get economists as a whole to back away a bit from grand theorising, and to focus more on empirical work and specific policy questions.” The Economist (R.A.)
I believe most people in business would say they would like to be part of a team that has a ‘can do’ (optimistic) attitude. Presumably, they recruit and mentor with this in mind. Joshua Wolf Shenk in his book Lincoln’s Melancholy and Gail Saltz M.D. the author of The Power of Different give us a few examples of individuals with pessimistic points of view that seem to have made a difference.
In addition to affecting how a brain ‘thinks’ mindfulness has also been shown to have actual physical effect on brain structure. For some orientation I refer you back to Your Brain: By the Numbers. The following reinforces the fact that reported improvements are not because people are just feeling better but because they are spending time relaxing.
While it is generally agreed that anyone who practices mindfulness can ‘feel’ that it works – there is often a question in one’s mind especially a ‘business brain’ - is there a basis in fact/science? This is an issue I touched on in an earlier article (Daniel Kahneman Meets Dalai Lama) but I believe it warrants more attention.