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Great minds don’t think alike

Neuroscientists have proven that people find solutions and learn more effectively when they find their own answers. This is because, contrary to popular belief, no two brains are alike. With more than 300 trillion constantly changing connections in our brain, the way we organise, process, store and retrieve information is different from person to person. So when we’re receiving information, learning or experiencing, we form our own unique connections in the brain.

Think about the number of times you’ve been given advice from people in the past month and how much of it was useful. Did you act on their advice, or simply go ahead and do what felt right to you anyway? My guess is more of the latter than the former – and according to neuroscience, that makes sense.

So if you want to improve your business performance, develop greater leaders and retain those great minds, you need to help your people process their own ideas.  Here are a few simple, but effective ways to make this shift in your business:

Don’t problem-solve

There is an old proverb that says: “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

Whilst it’s tempting (and sometimes rewarding), to provide people with the answer to their problem, resist providing them with your solution. Ask them questions, give them room to consider options and support them in their thinking in order to reach their own conclusion. As a result of reaching their own conclusion, you will end up with people who feel empowered, accountable and who are more committed to and invested in the outcomes of their work and the achievements of the organisation.

Create a coaching culture

To change a culture from one of problem solving, to being one of facilitators of learning and development, you need to create a coaching culture in your business. The old ‘command and control’ style of traditional management is no longer effective in today’s business world, where greater creativity, performance and resilience is essential. By developing a coaching culture, you’ll create a workforce that’s more motivated, resilient, creative and committed. To do this, you need to ensure you get the right expert support and help from specialists who have been there and done it.

Tailor training programs

Whether you create your own or outsource training programs, you need to make sure that they are designed with this learning in mind. By taking into account that people learn best when they reach their own conclusions, self-directed learning models will be most effective in delivering both the outcome you need and the new approach to achieving outcomes that you want to engender.

And the training shouldn’t stop in the class room. By ensuring that participants embed the learning in the way that is most effective for them, you will ensure that your training dollars deliver a return. Establishing a series of mentoring or coaching sessions following the training means that knowledge and skills can be effectively processed and transferred to the actual work environment.