Join Jason Hartman and co-founder and director of Neuro Leadership Institute, Dr. David Rock, as they explore conceptual issues of the brain as it pertains to work, such as focus, managing distractions, why our brains feel taxed, and how to maximize mental resources. Listen at: www.HolisticSurvival.com. Dr. Rock explains how being able to get a mental picture makes it easier to process and hold information, but when you can’t come up with a mental picture, you’re more likely to lose your train of thought or have more difficulty retaining connections, causing the brain more stress. Dr. Rock also discusses optimal times for scheduling work, meetings, and undisturbed workspace. He stresses that creative work needs a lot of space in the brain, as well as a lot of quiet. “Creative work first, urgent/important second, and everything else after,” says Dr. Rock. Dr. Rock also shares the many types of quirks of the brain, such as a blue room with high ceilings increases creativity, or changing rooms actually makes it difficult to access memories formed in the previous room. His suggestion is that people need to create their own workspace. Additionally, he talks about the unconscious and conscious brain and how breakthrough moments tend to happen when trying to solve a difficult problem. The quiet brain is most important for solving problems. Dr. Rock delves into the five domains that the brain is always tracking. It is very important that we don’t get a “threat” response in any of these domains because they activate the brain’s pain network, leading to defensiveness.
David is the founder and CEO of Results Coaching Systems (RCS), which has operations in 15 countries across the globe. In his capacity as CEO, David works with Fortune 500 clients specializing in embedding internal coaching capacity within organizations to develop leaders, retain talent, improve performance, and change culture. David Rock is one of the thought leaders in the global coaching profession. The integrated coaching system he developed in the mid-90′s has been taught to over 10,000 professionals in more than fifteen countries. He is the author of Personal Best, (Simon & Schuster, 2001), Quiet Leadership (Harper Collins, 2006), Coaching with the Brain in Mind (Wiley & Sons, 2009), and Your Brain at Work (Harper Collins), which was released in October 2009. In 2004, David founded the brain-based approach to coaching, which has gathered momentum as a theory base for coaching ever since. In collaboration with several leading neuroscientists, David is working to explain the neural basis of issues like self-awareness, reflection, insight and accountability. In 2006, he co-authored a feature article in strategy business magazine with neuroscientist Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, called “The Neuroscience of Leadership”, the most downloaded article of the year at the magazine. In September 2006, CIO magazine ran a cover story featuring David and Jeff’s work called “The New Science of Change”. In late 2006, David founded the NeuroLeadership Institute and Summit, a global initiative bringing neuroscientists and leadership experts together to build a new science of leadership development. David also co-created a complete coaching curriculum at New York University (SCPS) and is a guest lecturer at universities in five countries.
Narrator: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show with Jason Hartman. The economic storm brewing around the world is set to spill into all aspects of our lives. Are you prepared? Where are you going to turn for the critical life skills necessary for you to survive and prosper? The Holistic Survival Show is your family’s insurance for a better life. Jason will teach you to think independently, to understand threats and how to create the ultimate action plan. Sudden change or worst case scenario, you’ll be ready. Welcome to Holistic Survival. Your key resource for protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Ladies and gentlemen, your host Jason Hartman.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to today’s show. This is Jason Hartman, your host. And as you may or may not know, every tenth show we kind of do a special tradition here that originated with my Creating Wealth show where we do a topic that is kind of off topic on purpose. Something just to do with general life and more successful living. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do today with our special guest. Again, tenth show is off topic and it is very much intentional just for personal enrichment and I hope you enjoy today’s show. And we will be back with our guest in just a moment.
Female: I’ve never really thought of Jason as subversive, but I just found out that’s what Wall St. considers him to be.
Male: Really? Now how is that possible at all?
Female: Simple. Wall St. believed that real estate investors are dangerous to their schemes because the dirty truth about income property is that it actually works in real life.
Male: I know. I mean how many people do you know, not including insiders, who created wealth with stocks, bonds, and mutual funds? Those options are for people who only want to pretend they’re getting ahead.
Female: Stocks and other non-direct traded assets are a losing game for most people. The typical scenario is you make a little, you lose a little, and spin your wheels for decades.
Male: That’s because the corporate crooks running the stock and bond investing game will always see to it that they win. This means unless you’re one of them, you will not win.
Female: And unluckily for Wall St., Jason has a unique ability to make the everyday person understand investing the way it should be. He shows them a world where anything less than a 26% annual return is disappointing.
Male: Yep, and that’s why Jason offers a one book set on creating wealth that comes with 20 digital download audios. He shows us how we can be excited about these scary times and exploit the incredible opportunities this present economy has afforded us.
Female: We can pick local markets untouched by the economic downturn, exploit packaged commodities investing, and achieve exceptional returns safely and securely.
Male: I like how he teaches you how to protect the equity in your home before it disappears, and how to outsource your debt obligations to the government.
Female: And this set of advanced strategies for wealth creation is being offered for only $197.
Male: To get your Creating Wealth Encyclopedia Book One, complete with over 20 hours of audio, go to JasonHartman.com/store.
Female: If you want to be able to sit back every month and collect checks just like a banker, Jason’s Creating Wealth Encyclopedia series is for you.
Start of Interview with David Rock
Jason Hartman: My pleasure to welcome Dr. David Rock to the show. He is the author of Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. I know this is a topic we can all benefit from, especially yours truly, so I think this will be an interesting interview. David is cofounder and director of the NeuroLeadership Institute and they are all about breaking new ground in our capacity to improve thinking and performance. And he is also founder and CEO of Results Coaching Systems. David welcome, how are you?
David Rock: Very good; thanks very much for your interest in my work.
Jason Hartman: Good. And you’re coming to us from New York City, right?
David Rock: I am. I’m in lovely downtown Manhattan, where I live. And I’m originally Australian, but I live in New York. It’s a great city.
Jason Hartman: We would have never guessed that from your accent. Just kidding. Fantastic accent. So David, tell us a little bit about how we can be more effective? Everybody, especially in today’s world, is constantly plagued by distractions, complexities, and it’s taught to focus nowadays with looking at multiple computer screens and then you’ve got your digital handheld device near you probably. Plus the people in the room, there’s a lot going on.
David Rock: Absolutely. Our brain is really very different to how the people who organize companies would like it to be. Our brain is not the brain that sort of, interior designers think it is. We cannot focus with just a few people looking at us, never mind balancing screens. We can’t focus very well at all if we’re aware people are watching us. We can’t focus very well if there’s just a printer icon flashing on our screen. It’s very easy to distract people from, especially from a train of thought that’s kind of conceptual. When something’s right in front of you, you can think about it, talk about it. When something’s conceptual, like it’s in the future or you haven’t seen it before, it’s a concept like an interest rate or a new product or a new hire. Concepts don’t sit very well in the brain. They take a lot of effort to hold and they’re very easily displaced because they take so much effort. So it’s very difficult to focus on the kind of conceptual work we’re all doing with any kind of distraction. And the truth is companies are making some shocking mistakes with how they physically lay out and organize spaces.
Jason Hartman: Very interesting. So you’re saying, I just wanted to touch on the concept point that you made because I’m not sure people understand what you mean by concept. So you mean as opposed to task oriented thinking, that’s much simpler, whereas conceptual thinking our brains need to put multiple parts together and project them into the future and that’s much more taxing on the brain? Is that what you’re saying?
David Rock: Well, it’s more like this. If I say to you, picture your mother. She’s going to come to mind pretty easily and if I ask you questions about your relationship with your mother you can think about that easily. If I say picture your car, you can picture that pretty easily. Or picture an elephant. You can picture that pretty easily. But if I say picture where you’ll be in three months’ time.
Jason Hartman: That’s much harder to picture, right.
David Rock: It’s much harder. It’s a concept; it’s not a physical object in the world. When we process any kind of information, we have to hold it in mind. And holding something in mind has essentially two parts. It’s called working memory. There’s two parts. There’s an audio and a visual part basically. The visual working memory is dramatically more robust. There’s a lot of circuitry involved and you can hold a lot more information in a picture than you can in a sound. And so our visual circuitry is really strong but when you can’t picture something easily, you don’t have a robust circuit. So it takes a lot of effort to hold that circuit in mind. So you’ll picture where you’ll be in three months and then a phone rings next to you, and you’ve suddenly lost your train of thought. You’re much more likely to lose that train of thought than if I say picture your car. You’ll be able to hold that train of thought through the distraction. And it’s a level of effort involved in holding a circuit together, so essentially we’re dealing in concepts. Very few people sell physical, or pick up and move or deal with physical objects in the world so much. We’re dealing with concepts.
Jason Hartman: Right, services and things like that. That’s a good point.
David Rock: Exactly. Things we don’t see. So it’s much out of the process all that.
Jason Hartman: So that’s interesting. First maybe you can tell us about when you talk about how work space is layed out for people, what mistakes do you see individuals and companies making in terms of how they lay out their work space? What keeps them from being focused?
David Rock: Yeah, that’s an excellent question. We did a survey recently with an organization. We got 6,000 employees to respond to the questions about physical space. But the biggest insight came from the sort of overarching question. We asked people, how many of you do your best thinking at work? And just, bear in mind this is in a company, I won’t say who it is, but it’s in a company where people are really paid to think so they go to work, they’re supposed to be thinking. So literally in the place where they’re supposed to be doing their work, I asked them the question, how many of you actually can do quality work at that place? And the answer was 10%. So one in ten people could actually find going to work was a good place to get work done. That’s crazy right?
Jason Hartman: Terrible. Bad odds.
David Rock: It’s insane. They should just close the office and have people come in one in every ten days perhaps. Or one in every ten people should come in, I don’t know what. But it’s crazy when you think about it. So I wrote a post called How Companies Spend Big Dollars Making People Less Effective. And there are a lot of organizations that don’t understand the basic nature of human functioning and do some crazy things. Now Steve Jobs has been in the media a lot lately, and he’s an amazing man for many, many reasons but one of those things that he has not talked about much is he was an observer of human nature. He was a meditator and into all sorts of spiritual things but what he was ultimately about was observing human nature and he was very successful at noticing quirks that other people didn’t notice. Such as people like things really simple. People don’t want to have to think. We like stuff to be intuitive and natural. Now, certainly there are boffins around. But he observed human functioning.
Now if you go to an office and observe human behavior, what you’ll see is in any kind of office’s even vaguely open plan, you’ll see everyone with their headsets in trying to shut out the world so they can focus. If you observe across a day, you’ll notice that people are doing a couple of hours of sort of really good work in the morning and that’s pretty much it for the day. So there are pretty obvious patterns; that we need to be able to shut the world and we can only do really good quality work for a few hours a day in the mornings. So it sort of starts to have you question, how should we design companies physically if that’s the way that the human brain functions. And the answer is we should not schedule meetings and not be answering Emails in the morning. In the mornings we should be leaving that time for creative work and actually producing things. And we should use the afternoon for meetings to help each other stay awake. And we should also allow people the physical space to be absolutely, totally undisturbed by anything and be able to have that option to be totally undisturbed.
Jason Hartman: You know, that’s interesting because most people, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think most people, the first thing they do when they start the day is they manage all their Email. And that’s pretty task oriented though, but I guess it requires…sometimes the Emails you need to respond to in a creative fashion or think about what someone sent you of course. But maybe that’s not the highest and best use for that prime time of our brain power, right?
David Rock: Absolutely. The golden rule is do creative work first, urgent and important second, and then Email and everything else third. And the reason is a bit complex but essentially creative work requires a lot of space in your brain, it requires a lot of quiet in your brain, we have insights when our brain is quiet, when we can notice subtle connections between things, weak connections between things. And so doing Emails is sort of like doing 50 pushups in terms of mental work and you’re absolutely exhausted afterward. And then you go to do some other exercise and you haven’t got much left in you. Creative work first, urgent and important second and then everything else after.
Jason Hartman: So most people need to flip their day around I’d assume, listening to this. What about the physical space? I assume you’re going to say keep it sort of a simple, Zen-like environment, not a lot of things to look at maybe. I see a lot of workspaces of companies that seem to be pretty effective and they seem like they have whiteboards all over, they paint them on the walls, there’s writing all over them, there’s that sort of war room type concept of the environment where it’s like a war room, and you’ve just got bulletin boards up, things stuck up on the walls, a lot of stuff to look at, story boarding, whatever. And then there’s the decorated type of office where it’s maybe clean and simple and nicely decorated. Is one more right than the other? By what you’re saying it would seem that the war room is a really bad idea.
David Rock: Well, it depends on the kind of work you’re trying to do. And little things actually matter more than we realize when it comes to physical space and just the brain over all. Little things really do matter, it turns out. So for example if you paint a room blue, people will be much more creative, a high ceiling makes people much more creative. There’s a lot of little things like that actually help and they prime the brain. I saw a study today that just changing rooms, when you move rooms it’s much harder to access memories that you formed in the previous room. There’s all sorts of kind of quirky things that go on. But essentially if you’re looking for a one size fits all, the best answer I can give you is let people design their own space and there’s a great study showing that you get about a third increase in productivity when you let people design their own workspace. Which is crazy. And the companies say well let’s design it for them, let’s find one approach. But a third increase in productivity, that’s quite a lot, 33%. Literally just, how do you want your space personalized? And some people really need it clean and absolutely Zen, some people want their family everywhere on the walls, some people want five desks and the war room thing, and every brain’s really different. And giving people the autonomy actually is a reward unto itself. People have different needs when it comes to that physical space as well, so the best rule is don’t have one, is let the people create the spaces themselves.
Jason Hartman: But that’s really interesting what you said about blue. There have been a lot of studies that I’ve heard about where they show pink is the color of calmness. They’re painting prisons where there’s a bunch of hardened criminals, they’re painting the insides of them pink in many cases to calm everybody down so they’re not violent. But is blue the color of…
David Rock: They’re not violent, I’m trying to imagine the criminals, they’re not violent but they’re deeply embarrassed probably. Imagine going to jail and you have a pink cell. You’d be too embarrassed to be violent, that’s funny.
Jason Hartman: There you go. Is blue the color of creativity though?
David Rock: It is, yeah. It’s partly to do with the proximity effects. When you feel like you can see at a distance and you feel like you can see a long way and you actually, it’s weird but it primes your brain actually to think literally big thoughts. When you’re looking at the sky out on a roof, your brain is able to think further out and think bigger thoughts, think more systemically. it primes your brain.
Jason Hartman: I think a lot of people listening might want to get some blue paint, so just before we leave this small little subject here that seems really important, is there a sort of shade of blue? Is it sky blue, is that the right color? Or navy?
David Rock: I don’t want to be too descriptive. People can do their own research on that.
Jason Hartman: Alright.
David Rock: Something that is pleasing to the eye is of course really important, and that may vary.
Jason Hartman: Sure. What are some of the things that people can do to find insights and solve seemingly insurmountable problems? The problem that there’s just no seemingly right solution. Where does one get their mind in a place where they can solve these types of problems?
David Rock: The answer to that is really fascinating and confounding. There’s really two brains. We’ve really got two brains. We’ve got a conscious brain and we’ve got a non-conscious brain. And it’s been talked about by a lot of people, in lots of different frame works. You have the elephant and the writer, and the high road and the low road, all sorts of things. But essentially we have a conscious brain and a non-conscious brain. And when we can’t solve a problem, the conscious brain goes round and round in circles on the same small set of solutions. We kind of get stuck on the same small set of solutions and don’t get anywhere.
What’s interesting is those break through moments, when we suddenly have this kind of aha. This is something I’ve studied a lot for about 5 years. We know a lot now about these break through moments. They actually happen when the brain is quiet and when we’re not consciously trying to solve the problem. We’ve got to have sort of thought about the question, but trying to solve the problem once we’ve failed actually is going to reduce the likelihood of insight, interestingly. So what we know is quietening the brain, going a little bit internal, being slightly happy, but not working directly on the problem, working around it. This is the kind of state we need to be in to solve these type problems. I wrote a paper about this, but if you look up online just how to have more insights, you’ll see my post on Psychology Today on how to have more insights. And we really know a lot now about the neural state of our brain that has these breakthroughs, and there’s no substitute for quiet in the brain. And quiet literally means not a lot of electrical activity going on. So it’s that state you have in the shower in the morning when you first wake up. But you won’t have that if you do your Emails before the shower. Your brain will be ticking over. So it’s that quiet brain, that’s when we have those break through moments. And kind of respecting those quiet spaces in the day and allowing the insights to come from the non-conscious brain into the conscious brain, that’s how we tend to solve those tough problems.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, very good point. How can we be more effective in collaborative situations where we really need to collaborate and harvest ideas from others and be engaged in that exchange?
David Rock: There’s a big body of work in this area, there’s a whole field called social cognitive neuroscience. And a whole bunch of neuroscientists, about 500 of them now, that are studying how people interact and what happens when we try to collaborate. And I built a model that summarizes what goes on in these collaborative situations and it’s been really helpful in understanding what goes wrong a lot of the time.
Basically there are 5 domains that the brain is tracking all the time and with these 5 domains, it’s really important that we don’t get a threat response in any of these domains. For example, status is the first one. When we feel like our status is going down, when we feel like it’s getting worse, we react very intensely. And what the neuroscientists are finding is that something like a status threat or an autonomy threat or a threat to a sense of relatedness to someone, or a fairness threat, these threats are actually A, very strong and B, they activate the brain’s pain network, so feeling like someone’s attacking your status, actually feels in the brain like someone’s attacking you with a knife and you defend yourself accordingly. You defend yourself very, very vigorously. Most of this goes on non-consciously. The 5 domains are status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness and those 5 spell out a framework called SCARF. And SCARF, is these 5 domains that either can be in a threat or be in a reward state. So you can have an increase in status, that feels very motivating. It’s very motivating to feel better than other people, it’s very motivating to increase your sense of certainty. It’s very motivating to increase your sense of relatedness. So these 5 domains are being played out in social situations and when things go wrong it’s usually one of these 5 that that’s kind of come unstuck without people being aware of it.
Jason Hartman: So certainly then, what you’re saying is if you’re leading a team, the simple old concepts of positive strokes, of complementing and rewarding and all that kinds of stuff, that’s neurologically important is what you’re saying.
David Rock: it’s critical, it’s critical. And the reason it’s critical is that our conscious mind is really limited and not that effective on many levels. And anything we can do to increase our conscious capacity, our conscious processing and capacity is helpful. Bear in mind that few people can even add up four single digits in their head. That’s not much information. If I said to you, what’s 56 plus 79, you could probably do it but you’d rather not. And just adding up four digits is the threshold, at which most people just sort of can’t do things, or some can but certainly most people don’t want to. So making things easy for people turns out to be important because we’ve got so little processing power, particularly for new ideas. We can process existing thoughts, existing habits very easily. But new ideas take a lot of processing power and they get kind of shunned to the side a lot, which is why change is hard as well.
Jason Hartman: You’re saying make it easy, but is the brain like a muscle, where it needs exercise and it atrophies if it doesn’t exercise? Don’t you want to challenge the brain, play chess, do crossword puzzles, whatever, music?
David Rock: Yes there’s a use it or lose it thing. There’s no question there’s a use it or lose it in the brain. It’s not a muscle, but it’s definitely something that most functions improve with use.
Jason Hartman: You kind of alluded to it earlier, but in terms of when one feels their status is threatened, they become less effective. Does that lead into any more thoughts on keeping one’s cool under pressure under any situation?
David Rock: Yeah, the big take away from the brain research is that emotions do really matter. And even low levels of stress have a surprisingly large effect on our cognitive capability. And learning how to regulate your own emotions by recognizing them, being able to intervene quickly, whether it’s distracting your attention or changing your interpretations. Doing these things quickly is really key and what we know from neuroscience is even really small threat responses, something primed that people don’t even know they feel, really small threat responses actually reduce cognitive capacity in a big way. This is especially around creativity. You can get a 50% reduction in creativity with a threat response people don’t even notice feeling. So small things really matter when it comes to effectiveness. I mentioned this earlier, this is one of the big overall findings, I guess it’s a generalization, we have less control over ourselves and others than we probably realize, but more influence. Far more influence in little ways over ourselves and others but far less control.
Jason Hartman: You approached it from the angle of maybe a manager or leader in leading a group and it’s important not to threaten one’s status and things like that. But if someone needs to say get over something, or forgive and forget, or process emotions, can one do that more quickly? Is it true that one can, a lot of people say I just need to process these emotions and then I’ll be over it. How does one do that? Is that really a thing people truly do at the neuroscientific level? Or is it just something they talk about?
David Rock: There’s a process called reappraisal which is being very well studied in the neuroscience lab. And reappraisal is where you change your whole meaning about a situation. And we do it all the time; mostly we’re not aware of it. It’s a very important skill for dealing with strong stresses. It’s really the only skill you can use for something that’s quite stressful. You lose your job, you might start spiraling down into a stress response that really effects your life, to depression, all sorts of things. But if you can reappraise the situation you might be able to change that. You can reappraise as an opportunity to decide what’s really important for your career next or an opportunity to get really healthy and connect to your family for a while or an opportunity to downsize and simplify your life. It’s something that’s got to make sense to you, but neuroscience has been looking at what happens when we change our interpretation of the situation and a whole emotional response follows. A whole biological response follows when we change an interpretation, so it’s pretty important stuff.
Jason Hartman: That’s very good feedback. You talked about at the beginning about how difficult and how much brain power it takes to comprehend conceptual things and I want to tie this into a discussion about something that has been repackaged and rewrapped as recently as four years ago or so. And that is the law of attraction concept, the secret that has been around forever basically, but it regained a lot of fame recently. And what one has to do when they make a goal for themselves, is they have to visualize something that they don’t yet have, it has to be projected into the future but they have to make it seem like it’s real today so that the subconscious mind can grasp it maybe? I’m kind of saying a lot of things here, so interrupt me when I’m wrong or correct me. But is this why it’s so hard to set and achieve goals? Because one has to get their head around a concept that isn’t there yet? Like you said, it’s grasping a concept. It takes a lot more power than a physical thing.
David Rock: That’s partly it, and there’s been some good studies on the fact that the more a goal is proximal, the more a goal feels close to you both physically and in time, the more motivated you are. There’s been some people researching that. So definitely goals that are really in the future, we can’t picture that. We can’t picture something if we don’t have an emotional response to it, as strong as when we can picture it. Just like if I say the word lion, you’re not going to get much of a response, but if you pictured a lion about to jump at you or we showed you a picture of that physically you’d get a biological response. So hearing something doesn’t get a strong response, seeing it really does, back to that first point.
Jason Hartman: So visual. So when they say the concept of visualization, you maybe want to “visualize” a goal with as many senses as possible and as much sensory input as possible, but really vision. That is without a doubt, our richest sense. Far beyond our hearing and our touch and everything else, it’s visual is the biggie, right?
David Rock: Absolutely. And people will say I’m a visual person or I’m an auditory person or I’ve got this learning style. Learning styles has been debunked. There are no such things as learning styles. There are definitely tendencies and people have preferences. Use an iPhone for a month and you’ve got a definite tendency to prefer using iPhones. It’s just a habit that you’ve got. That doesn’t mean that you’ve got an iPhone style brain. Just something that you do over and over will become a bit of a tendency. But in the brain there are two ways of processing data, audio and visual. That’s what we have. And the visual just holds so much more information and in the brain it’s a huge amount more real estate. It’s like an enormous shopping mall versus a single store in terms of kind of square footage. So your visual is a huge shopping mall, and your auditory is a single store. There’s a lot more connections you can make, a lot more neurons involved, a lot more circuits created, when you hold visual than when you hold a sound.
Jason Hartman: That’s interesting and I want to believe in every way that that’s absolutely correct. The only area that I’d sort of question is the power of music being so powerful, and that’s auditory. So it’s kind of interesting. I guess the best songs though, make people visualize stuff.
David Rock: Well that’s true as well. It’s not to say that sounds aren’t effective. I could play all sorts of sounds in the lab that would make your hair curl. The sound of fingernails on the chalkboard will definitely have an emotional impact on people. So there are visuals that are impactful and there are sounds that are impactful. We can’t so much compare them, but when it comes to the strength of a circuit, it’s just the physical real estate is much stronger.
So I think that with goals, there’s a number of challenges with goals. Number one if that we often can’t see them and they’re too off in the distance. And another challenge is we often set goals in a negative way. We set avoidance goals instead of approach goals and we need to really learn to set approach goals that we go towards instead of away from.
Jason Hartman: Very good point. A couple last things here before we wrap up. Providing feedback to people. That can be difficult and trying, and maybe it’s not possible at all, I don’t know what you’re going to say, but is it possible or can we be more effective at changing other people’s behavior? So feedback, and changing other people’s behavior. Especially I think bosses and parents are going to want to perk up at those two.
David Rock: Absolutely. We all want to tell people how to fix themselves, and it’s a great way of creating a status threat and having people shut down. My framework for feedback is actually don’t give feedback unless it’s positive. Give self-directed feedforward, which is help people give themselves feedback about the way forward. And it’s just a much more effective way of creating behavior change than telling people what they’ve done wrong.
Jason Hartman: Can you give an example of that? That was a really interesting statement.
David Rock: Yeah, sure. Yeah, absolutely. You go to a sales meeting with someone, you’re managing a sales person, you go to the sales meeting. And they haven’t done so great, you come out afterwards, you start telling them all the things they’ve done wrong and they’ll argue with you and will feel really bad or whatever. Instead of that, you can give self-directed feedforward, which is you can say to the person, if you were doing that again, you’re a smart person, you probably learn a lot all the time, if you were to do that again, what would you do differently next time? What learning did you take out of that? And by giving people a chance to kind of tell on themselves around this, you get a whole new set of circuits created and it’s a reward response instead of a threat response. So it’s a qualitatively different experience to do self-directed feedforward than feedback. One creates a threat, and shuts people down, one creates a reward and hopefully creates new connections. And it doesn’t mean it works every time, but we find about three quarters of the time this approach works. Which means you’ve got 25% as many arguments that happen now.
Jason Hartman: Very good point. So the book is entitled, Your Brain At Work: Strategies For Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. David, tell people where they can learn more.
David Rock: NeuroLeadership.com, NeuroLeadership.com has the programs that I offer on the brain and coaching programs, learning to be a certified coach and work we do with organizations. And NeuroLeadership.org. NeuroLeadership.org has a whole range of programs for individuals to discover the brain as change agents. So there’s a post graduate certificate, master’s degree, things like that. And also an annual summit that we run at NeuroLeadership.org, so a couple different sides. The academic and research side at NeuroLeadership.org, NeuroLeadership.com, more the commercial side and organizational work. And then my own site, Davidrock.net for all the papers I’ve written and books I’ve published, etcetera. So there’s a few resources there for you to enjoy.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. Dr. David Rock, thank you so much joining us today. Appreciate having you on the show.
David Rock: Thank you so much for your interest in this work. All the best.
Announcer: What’s great about the shows you’ll find on JasonHartman.com is that if you want to learn more about investing and real estate in different markets, there’s a show for that. If you want to learn 17 ways rich people think and act differently, there’s a show for that. If you want to know how to get paid to borrow, there’s a show for that. And if you’d like to know why Amsterdam doesn’t take dollars or why pools are for fools, there are even shows for that. Yep, there’s a show for just about anything, only from JasonHartman.com. Or type in “Jason Hartman” in the iTunes store.
Narrator: Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival Show. Protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show, which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com or search Jason Hartman on iTunes.
This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own, and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalized advice, please consult an appropriate professional. Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. (Image: Flickr | GreenFlames09)
Transcribed by Ralph
* Read More from Holistic Survival
The Holistic Survival Team