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How We Use Our Brains at Work

December 26, 2018 Joe Mechlinski


In my book, Shift the Work, I explore how important it is for companies to encourage their employees to innovate, and how the most forward-thinking companies encourage their employees to use their head brains in order to connect to the head, heart, and gut brains of consumers. 

One of the ways in which our head brains work is by getting clear on priorities. The brain in the head is constantly assessing how to address the stream of new ideas and competing tasks we believe to be our responsibility. 

You probably know how hard it is these days to deal with the flood of information coming at us.  Our once-extensive attention span has dropped from 20 minutes to a mere nine seconds. The world is changing faster than we can keep up with, and it’s influencing our thinking. 

The truth is, to make and manage our to-do lists, we must know and understand our priorities, the things that are truly important for us to take on, including in what order and in what measure. The sorting responsibility isn’t ours alone; managers and companies also must be clear on the priorities. This is part of workplace engagement. Agreement on and space to focus on those priorities contribute to maximizing engagement. But, according to SHIFT’s 2017 All-In Engagement Report, only 23 percent of employees are clear on the priorities that drive-high performance.

We have to move past our existing paradigms and belief systems in order to embrace work with a fresh perspective. This means being open to learning new things that cater to our curiosity, that inform our priorities, and that drive our performance. 

When we learn something, our brain seeks to repeat the pattern over and over with hopes of achieving the same result. This is repetitive learning, and it's good for all of us – it makes  us mentally nimble, and ready to accept and embrace the change that leads to engagement. 

Ready to Shift?

70% of workers are unhappy at work. How can businesses expect to thrive when almost three-quarters of their employees show no passion or interest in their job?
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