Tuning your brain – consider natural ‘wiring’ when hiring……!
David Eagleman is one of my favourite neuroscientists. This is because he makes his discipline not just fascinating but eminently accessible.
In the following two-minute video he outlines why, as babies, we remain helpless and dependent longer than the young of any other species on the planet. The way in which our brains develop from this stage has huge significance as to how and where we will find our best fit – in life and in organisations.
As Eagleman states: “Instead of hardwiring everything in like a rhinoceros – let life experience wire up the brain. Arrive with something that’s a little bit sloppy and tune it up on the fly”.
This ‘tuning up on the fly’ is what allows human beings to adapt to almost any environment. However, some humans are better at some environments than others. Depending on their very different and individual life experiences people develop very different innate attitudes and attributes. These differences make one person better suited to one environment than another and thus become a more satisfied high performer.
This poses a massive challenge – and a huge opportunity – for organisations. Do you focus on hiring someone with the apparent ideal skills and qualifications, which of course are an important part of the requirement? Or, do you delve deeper and seek out the critical core attitudes that determine the way in which those things are applied?
Rather like motivation an individual’s attitude can determine:
- the level of desire to do something
- the things they will do and the manner in which they will do them
- the determination to see something through to its conclusion
It is one thing to have a degree in mechanical engineering but if you are not curious, if you do not challenge the status quo, if you cannot tolerate too much ambiguity, etc. then you may not be the best hire for a fast moving, innovative, creative, rule breaking organisation. Conversely you may be a fantastic fit for a high precision, high quality, ‘safety of life’ type of firm.
It is very much ‘horses for courses’ but many firms, metaphorically, buy a shire horse that’s brilliant at ploughing and are disappointed when it can’t win the Grand National!!!
And food for thought:
What sort of brain, and the life experiences it has acquired, do you need for your environment?
What sort of experiential neural wiring will strive and thrive in your culture and which will wither on the vine?