Dr. Britt Andreatta is an internationally recognized thought leader who uses her background in leadership, neuroscience, psychology, and education to create brain-science based solutions for today’s workplace challenges. Britt is the former CLO for Lynda.com (LinkedIn Learning) and has over 10 million views worldwide of her online courses. She regularly consults with organizations on leadership development and learning strategy. Britt is the author of several books on the brain science of success including Wired to Grow, Wired to Resist, and Wired to Connect. In 2021, she was named a Top 20 Learning Influencer and a Top 20 HR Influencer for Leadership Development.
In this interview, Dr. Britt and Cindra discuss:
- Why people are experience more burnout than ever before
- 4 Steps to Post Traumatic Growth
- The emotions people experience during change
- 4 Main Types of Change Journeys
- Organization recommendation
- How fear and failure get in the way of embracing change
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Cindra Kamphoff: I’m so excited to have Dr Britt Andreotti from Brain Aware Training today to the podcast Thank you so much for being here I’m so excited to talk to you.
BrainAwareTraining: lovely to talk to you to syndrome, please call me Britt.
Cindra Kamphoff: Okay, thank you Britt. Britt and I were speaking at the same conference, and I heard her give an online virtual keynote and I absolutely loved it I took pages and pages of notes and really wanted to provide this to the listeners of high-performance mindset so to get us started Dr Britt just give us a little insight into your passion and what you’re doing right now.
BrainAwareTraining: Well, I work in the intersection of leadership and learning I provide brain science-based solutions to today’s workplace challenges I like to study neuroscience and how it helps us be better I’m all about helping people rise to their potential as individuals and also organizations.
Cindra Kamphoff: Well, this is a perfect podcast for you to be on because that’s what we’re about to write just helping people step into their best and using science to be able to do that.
Cindra Kamphoff: Give us a little insight into how you got to where you are in your career, you know I’m thinking about all the things you offer in terms of keynote speaking and several books and just give us a little insight on your career journey.
BrainAwareTraining: Okay, well, I started off in higher ED you know I liked school and never left, so I worked at the University of California Santa Barbara for a long time as a dean, and a faculty Member and during my time there I focused a lot on creating programs and leadership development opportunities for students of all ages.
BrainAwareTraining: And then I left there, and I became the chief learning firstname.lastname@example.org which is now LinkedIn learning.
BrainAwareTraining: And it was while I was there that I started bringing brain science into things because I was learning about it kind of in my own life and I know my way around an academic journal, so I started studying what they were learning about the human brain and how we learn and so that became a talk that I was giving and then people kept saying this needs to be a book, so I was like okay I’ll turn it into a book.
BrainAwareTraining: And I thought that I was going to be one and done, but then LinkedIn purchased lynda.com.
BrainAwareTraining: And I realized all the change models, I was certified in we’re not helping so I thought hmm what is what is neuroscience say about change and that became book number two.
BrainAwareTraining: And then I realized I guess I’m doing this, I guess I’m going to be the person that translates neuroscience research to today’s workplace issues and comes up with practical solutions so book number three is all about teams and inclusion and collaboration and right now I’m working on book number four which will be all about purpose and innovation and creativity and then the other part of my business that I kind of didn’t expect was everyone started asking for training, if they could get certified in my models and rollout training, based on my research, so now we have a training, certification program that a lot of organizations use to roll out the training in their in their place of business.
Cindra Kamphoff: Well, that sounds all incredible and I’ve been searching your website and also learning more about what you do and I think it’s fascinating I think it’s so important, because I think when you have researched back ideas you know it’s not just made up and people can make informed decisions and I thought what you discussed which we’re going to talk about today that were really powerful ideas from your book and your keynote is this idea of change in the neuroscience of change, and then the post traumatic growth.
Cindra Kamphoff: So, you speak on you know brain science of success and applying neuroscience organizations workplace challenges what specifically made you decide Okay, this is really what I wanted to devote my career to and my business to.
BrainAwareTraining: I believe everyone can learn and get better and that we want to get better than humans’ hunger, to be their best selves and I’ve always believed that learning is a path to that. And then, when I added neuroscience was it was just helping me have a better understanding about this this body I inhabit and how to use it correctly and how to maximize myself and so you know I guess I’m the first the first test case, and when I find something useful, then I really want to dig in and learn more, and then I find that when you give people that information and kind of the why and how things are happening.
BrainAwareTraining: Then they’re really armed with the information they need to apply it in their own lives and use it to further their own goals and growth.
Cindra Kamphoff: Okay excellent so let’s dive into this first idea of post traumatic growth and one of the things that I liked, and I really thought was really great about your keynote is you really tuned into how people are feeling.
Cindra Kamphoff: You know, because of the pandemic and then now where we are and so you know more people are experiencing burnout than ever before let’s maybe just get started and tell us how you actually define burnout.
BrainAwareTraining: Okay, well, I want to just say that right before the pandemic started the World Health Organization had identified burnout as a workplace an occupational hazard and it needed to be addressed so burnout happens when you are overworking and under resting it’s a combination of those two things and the definition of it is a state of emotional physical and mental exhaustion brought on by long term stress.
BrainAwareTraining: So, people can hit periods of burnout but what was unique in the pandemic is that because we lost access to all the ways in which we do rest and recharge.
BrainAwareTraining: And then, a lot of people handled that by just working even more there’s a ton of data on how many more hour’s people work during the pandemic many companies have their best earnings ever.
BrainAwareTraining: We are globally in a state of burnout and, in fact in January of 2020 it was estimated that 53% of American workers were burned out by March of 21 it was 70% and right before in the 90% so we’re seeing evidence of burnout in all kinds of organizations it’s one of the biggest topics I’m working with executives about is because it’s playing out it’s driving the great resignation.
BrainAwareTraining: People are quitting because they have lost their sense of enthusiasm so what’s really interesting about burnout is it’s there’s three components of it, one is exhaustion so just feeling tired all the time, and all that that does to you.
BrainAwareTraining: The second one is a decreased sense of accomplishment so stuff that used to make you feel good like checking off your to do list or working on a project with your team no longer feels like it doesn’t make a difference, so you just get apathy all the time there’s just nothing that gives you any juice. And that includes kind of stealing away joy when you used to have joy for things.
BrainAwareTraining: And then the last one is deep detachment and depersonalization which means you just have depleted your ability to have empathy and compassion for other people and yourself.
BrainAwareTraining: So, the danger of burnout is that it’s very slow and it’s slowly leaching away a sense of joy and compassion.
BrainAwareTraining: And so, it’s kind of like that boiled frogs and by the time we realize we’re in trouble we don’t have the energy to help ourselves so it’s a really big problem.
BrainAwareTraining: It can drive a lot of health costs and mental health suffering and we’re seeing it really run rampant in organizations around the world right now.
Cindra Kamphoff: I would agree that’s I’m seeing that trend to and I it’s interesting that there’s research that people overworked during the pandemic.
Cindra Kamphoff: I saw also that people did not care for themselves, I saw kind of the extreme like a small part of the population are my friends double down and an exercise because they had more time, but, most people I know didn’t and maybe a too much or drank too much right or more than that, they wanted, so they weren’t also caring for themselves, which also makes sense that they had a decrease or an increase in exhaustion and detachment.
BrainAwareTraining: Yeah, absolutely the fact that the research on it’s really fascinating, and I would just say that I mean when I read the research, I was like oh no I’m burned out like I didn’t realize, I was, and so I made a real intentional effort to start playing more resting more.
BrainAwareTraining: You know, taking my evenings and my weekends dialing back and what’s really interesting is nature is particularly restorative and the magic number their studies on this is at least three times a week 20 minutes.
BrainAwareTraining: And that means being in nature it’s not being on your phone in nature it’s looking at the bees smelling the flowers listening to the water.
BrainAwareTraining: Whatever it is so I’ve actually been using some of the techniques, I discovered, and it’s really helped me come back from that state that I was in.
Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, great personal example So what do you think organization should do about you know this trend and burnout if it’s like 90% of people at the top of 2022 were burnt out, I mean that’s extreme.
BrainAwareTraining: Yeah so, I started, you know the conversations I’ve been having with executives are a couple things you know one you’ve got to start talking about it executives are burned out too so we need to teach people what it is and how to help themselves and I had made two webinars available that some organizations used leaders need to be encouraging their people to take time off so really saying yes, you need to take your vacation.
BrainAwareTraining: Some organizations were giving bonuses to people for taking their vacation.
BrainAwareTraining: I’ve seen some organizations add in some extra closed days just saying we’re going to close on Friday, and we want everyone to have a three-day weekend it’s easier now once the vaccine started getting out and about and people felt like they could go out in the world, a little more safely.
BrainAwareTraining: So those are definitely some things organizations can do teach people about it support it and certainly making sure that you know they’re investing in things like therapy as part of their mental health benefits or mindfulness or any of those kinds of things that will help people engage in that self-care.
Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, really tangible strategies, I think the importance of having social support if it’s therapy or a coach you know or even colleagues in a workplace culture that you can talk to openly about how things are going, so you know when we think about this idea in this concept about like post traumatic growth, first of all, maybe connect that to burnout if you can and just describe what that means to you.
BrainAwareTraining: Yeah, so what was interesting is I was doing the research on burnout and where we are, I discovered there there’s a thing called post traumatic growth so many of us have heard of post-traumatic stress syndrome, which is after something traumatic the body stays in a heightened alert system that keeps you just constantly and adrenaline and cortisol and that can manifest itself in all kinds of ways for people it is a maladaptive approach to managing a traumatic event and there’s no doubt that you know therapists and psychologists will tell you that.
BrainAwareTraining: The pandemic was a shared trauma, it was trauma we all lived through the fear of dying, many people lost loved ones.
BrainAwareTraining: Just all of that, the unknown being locked in you know, it was a traumatic event and yet we’ve been trying to get through it so not a lot of people have necessarily sought therapy for talking about how that impacted them.
BrainAwareTraining: But the second thing about how the human body responds is some bodies go to post traumatic stress some people go to post traumatic growth so it’s a state by which we move through trauma and heal from trauma by learning about it and being transformed by it.
BrainAwareTraining: So, what’s really cool is that, and this is not my research, this is research of other theorists out there.
BrainAwareTraining: But Richard Tedeschi who works at the University of North Carolina he says we’re talking about a transformation, a challenge to people’s core beliefs that causes them to become different than they were before.
BrainAwareTraining: Studies support that the notion that post traumatic growth is common and universal across cultures and so post traumatic growth can get activated by a variety of factors illness war.
BrainAwareTraining: You know, a pandemic, all kinds of things being a victim of a crime, but what post traumatic growth is really that.
BrainAwareTraining: You look at what you’ve learned from the experience you intentionally look at how it shaped you and change you and you’re able to move into a more positive relationship to the trauma.
Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, powerful and I’m curious in terms of what does the research say about you said, some people, you know are better at kind of going through this post traumatic growth versus you know stress.
Cindra Kamphoff: What allows people to see the post traumatic growth, do you think people naturally do this, do you think it’s learned you think it’s both.
BrainAwareTraining: It’s both, there’s some people that naturally do it, but the people who study it the researchers to study it have found that now that we kind of know what it is we can help move people in that direction, let me first share what the research shows that post traumatic growth tends to generate shifts in seven areas, so let me list, those for sure and maybe people can kind of listen and think which ones are true for them, particularly around the pandemic, so the first one is a greater appreciation of life right just knowing what matters to your number two a deepening of close relationships.
BrainAwareTraining: Three increased compassion and altruism I think that happened early in the pandemic I think that’s most with burnout because we kind of lose compassion.
BrainAwareTraining: But you know we also did see people really caring for each other.
BrainAwareTraining: Four is new possibilities for a purpose in life so that’s kind of asking yourself the question you know what I want to be doing with my life, am I spending my time in the right ways what really matters to me.
BrainAwareTraining: And so, people have a shift there and that’s why I think a lot of folks are changing jobs.
BrainAwareTraining: Number five a greater awareness or use of your personal strengths you kind of discovered some things about yourself that you now can utilize.
BrainAwareTraining: Number six is enhanced spiritual development; however, you define spirituality for yourself, and number seven is creative growth just leaning into more creativity.
BrainAwareTraining: So, what causes folks to go into post traumatic growth is really taking time to reflect, so it’s a deliberate reflection on the impact of the trauma.
]BrainAwareTraining: And what can be learned from the experience so obviously therapists do this one on one all the time with folks, but organizations can do this, too, by sitting down and having meetings and talking about it.
BrainAwareTraining: The second thing is really looking at people that inspired you or that you saw go through or role models moving through that adversity and kind of looking at what did they do, and can you take a page from their book.
BrainAwareTraining: The third is to really see this window of time as an opportunity to reinvent yourself or reinvent your organization that wallet disrupted everything it was an opportunity, so you know a lot of us did this like there were people in my life before that weren’t necessarily healthy for me to be around and the pandemic was a great time to break that pattern of spending time with them and now as we’re kind of coming out of it there’s certain people, I am not reconnecting with and then there’s others that I’m rushing towards like I can’t wait to see you.
BrainAwareTraining: So we all have that opportunity to say Okay, you know what do I want to use as an opportunity to reinvent myself.
BrainAwareTraining: And then the fourth one is that we really do we really are a species that that needs species that needs human connection.
BrainAwareTraining: And so really reconnecting with other people that share your values spending time together all of that so both individuals and organizations can use kind of those four steps to ensure that they’re moving toward post traumatic growth.
Cindra Kamphoff: Excellent, that’s really useful and great information as we can think about what you knew what did we learn during the pandemic How did we grow through it, I think about growing through instead of just getting through it. And you know what comes to my mind, is, I was at the Boston marathon bombing which so I’m a marathoner and I, you know this happened now nine years ago, and you know, obviously it shook my world.
Cindra Kamphoff: But when I look back at it, it actually gave me this bigger sense of purpose, because I didn’t know if I was going to get home after the marathon I didn’t know if I was going to see my voice again, and so, but I was really deliberate about taking a step back after I kind of got through that period and a month later, I just kept on asking myself what am I supposed to you know I’m supposed to learn.
Cindra Kamphoff: How is this connected to my purpose, some of the things that you just said, you know, I think it allowed me to have a greater appreciation of life and a deeper appreciation of my close relationships, some of the other things you just said about understanding my own purpose so I can see when people are really intentional and thought about doing this with the pandemic, however, so you just you know given me something to think about myself, and how can I apply these different seven areas and the four steps to the pandemic.
BrainAwareTraining: Absolutely, because essentially what we have available to us as two paths right.
BrainAwareTraining: One is when we move through adversity, we kind of focus on crisis management and that idea of we’re going to get back to normal we’re going to get back to how it was.
BrainAwareTraining: But a post traumatic growth lens is another path, which is how do I become better right, how do I take what happened and I’m not just restoring myself to where I was before, but I’m actually achieving a higher level of functioning as a result of learning from this experience what did I how did I grow, how did I gain.
BrainAwareTraining: And so that become better is a great lens by which we can all even if you haven’t for all of you listening, even if you’ve just been getting through and now’s a great time to stop and ask yourself how have you become better How did this shift you what did you learn about yourself what did you learn about others and start looking for the ways in which it’s taking you to a higher level of functioning.
Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah excellent, and I think about when I heard you speak, you’re talking about, we have two paths when we go through the trauma returned to normal or become better and what is the difference there between returning to normal and becoming better.
BrainAwareTraining: Yeah, I mean I think a lot of organizations kind of see it playing out right there’s some organizations right now that are just really focused on how we got to get people back to the office we’ve got to get back to how we used to work together instead of realizing that while it was you know, a shakeup.
BrainAwareTraining: We’ve now come up with whole new ways of working together and we’ve proven that people can be hugely productive, without necessarily being in the same room when they’re having a meeting.
BrainAwareTraining: Now, do we want to work from home forever probably not, I think a lot of people want kind of a blended approach but it’s a great opportunity for us to completely rethink how and when do we work.
BrainAwareTraining: I personally think we should use as many online tools and an asynchronous opportunities to collaborate as we can, and then we save meetings and particularly being in person together for times that would really accelerate the team building having conversations where you’re making important decisions dealing with conflict use that in time together were seeing and hearing each other in 3D and not just a little from the collarbone up flat image will aid your communication will aid your connection.
BrainAwareTraining: So, you know organizations, right now, are reinventing what work looks like and some are really embracing that as a way to completely revision, how to do great work and others are just trying to force people back into the old mold and you know they’re seeing higher turnover, as a result, people don’t want to go back to how it was, we are all forever changed, and I think we are changing better.
Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah and I’m curious about mess, people are listening in their applying this to their lives or their organizations or their teams know this idea of post traumatic growth which we’re talking about we’ve talked about how we can apply it to you know big events like the Boston marathon or the pandemic what are other examples of how we can apply this idea of post traumatic growth to our personal lives and then to our teams or organizations that we lead.
BrainAwareTraining: What’s interesting some researchers who studied post traumatic growth, particularly have looked at hospital systems and they looked at the New Orleans hospital system and what happened after hurricane Katrina.
BrainAwareTraining: And they also looked at the Seattle hospital systems and what happened because they were ground zero for the code explosion here in the United States and what they found was that both of these organizations leaned into post traumatic growth, they were intentionally, you know, they were they were innovating in the moment and coming up with new and better ways of handling things they were communicating effectively they were taking risks and trying new ways of solving problems, and then they all intentionally went through a process of stopping and evaluating how things went so that they could harvest the lessons and further accelerate that innovation.
BrainAwareTraining: Yeah so, I mean it was interesting that they both of those hospital systems did that intentionally and as a result.
BrainAwareTraining: Both not only made it through those crisis moments in really good shape, but they continued to improve and become better and there’s three researchers who are all medical doctors two out of Yale and one out of Stanford and they’re quoted as saying, ultimately, it is not the trauma that causes growth, but rather how individuals and organizations interpret and respond to it.
BrainAwareTraining: So, we all have the opportunity to make meaning out of what we’ve been through, and we can you know we can take a negative view and I think many of us did while we were in the middle of it, it was hard.
BrainAwareTraining: But now there’s an opportunity to go back and look at what was gained what was learned what was accelerated as a result.
BrainAwareTraining: And a lot of people that you know have quit their jobs and changed careers or moved from the cities out to smaller communities I’m hearing over and over again that they will not regret those decisions that it accelerated them, creating a better work life balance for themselves that they got out of jobs that were toxic and move to healthier environments.
BrainAwareTraining: They you know they made changes that were ultimately really good for themselves, so I think we all have the opportunity to take and look at look at it with that lens.
Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, you’re right that we can always you know decide the meaning, we want to create around an event. And I’m thinking about applies to like little T trauma big T trauma, you know just like these small things about getting cut off when you’re driving in traffic, you know it’s like we get we can intentionally decide the meaning that we create around that.
BrainAwareTraining: I mean I grew up in a very abusive childhood and have gone through thousands of dollars, with a therapy to work on that and I really value that.
BrainAwareTraining: But ultimately some of the best qualities about myself came from being in an in an abusive environment I’m highly tuned other people’s emotions, I can read a room like nobody’s business and it came from that trauma, and so I have leaned into using that skill set for good for helping people for doing things that are valuable and so I think even when we go through really difficult hard awful things we are transformed by it and there’s some gifts, in that, even though we may hate the experience that we lived through.
Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, and it’s not easy, I don’t think to take a step back when you’re going through a difficulty to take this lens of post traumatic growth right it really takes intentionality.
Cindra Kamphoff: So, as we kind of think about the other area we’re going to talk a little bit about today is this idea of change and how we’ve been through a lot of change over the last several years, given the pandemic and I loved your change matrix you talked about what makes it difficult for us to change.
BrainAwareTraining: Well, it’s a couple things, so the change matrix talks about that not all changes created equal some changes are much harder for us to go through than others, so the change matrix is basically you know the horizontal axis is time to acclimation how long it takes you to get used to that change right.
BrainAwareTraining: And then the vertical axis is amount of disruption, how much does it disrupt your life, and so it essentially gives us four zones.
BrainAwareTraining: And I like people to kind of make that little matrix and then take change that is happening in their life and put it on the map, you know which quadrant it fits into. Lockdowns would have been high and high right it took a while to get used to being locked down we weren’t used to having to shop in long term ways we weren’t used to having to really avoid going out in the world, it was highly disruptive right.
BrainAwareTraining: You know if you get a new boss at your organization that’s often usually disruptive because you don’t know how this person is going to lead things it changes it creates a lot of uncertainty.
BrainAwareTraining: But if they change the faucet in the bathrooms, you might not even notice it right it’s low and low, so you can kind of take the change matrix what I like to emphasize is that it’s a personal view.
BrainAwareTraining: So, you and I could be, at the same company syndrome going through the same changes and you might want things differently on your matrix than I do.
BrainAwareTraining: And that’s Okay, because it’s how we each experience or view change so that can give us a way to kind of look at change and then that also becomes essentially four types of change journeys as the matrix creates four types of jeans journeys that we can be going through some that are hugely disruptive that take a long amount of time some that are over pretty quickly but are still really disruptive.
BrainAwareTraining: Some that go on for a long time but aren’t very disruptive and then the ones that are low and low that we probably don’t even notice so that then becomes a tool by which you can kind of look ahead and map out the changes that are unfolding in your life both professional and personal.
BrainAwareTraining: and seeing it on a sheet of paper all sudden you’re like oh OK, I can kind of see what’s happening in whoa October is going to be terrible you know you’re going to see places where a lot of changes overlapping or you’re going to be at the height of the disruption for a couple changes, and so, then that just gives you information to maybe engage more in self-care or maybe move one of those changes if you can, if it’s going to be too much so, you know I think it’s a useful tool, the change matrix and the change journeys for helping people kind of make sense of what they’re already living through.
Cindra Kamphoff: And I think what’s interesting about both of those ideas, is that you know we do experience change every day in some way, I appreciate that what you said about that some change we don’t even notice, but you know there’s bigger changes that really throw us off.
Cindra Kamphoff: How do people emotionally respond to change; how would you describe that.
BrainAwareTraining: Yeah, it’s a great question it’s really interesting because this research is based on Elisabeth Kubler Ross’ research of death and dying and what she found was that when people get a terminal illness diagnosis, they go through these stages of emotions of grief or they’re coming to terms with this bad news.
BrainAwareTraining: And what was really interesting is that was that her research is very well known in the death and dying world and then fast forward many years there’s a hospital that’s going through training and they’re presenting her research.
BrainAwareTraining: And all the doctors and nurses and hospital staff are saying well wait a minute we all felt that way about a change that was just rolled out here at the hospital and so that was kind of the first look that wait there’s more applications to this so many more studies have been done and it’s true that when change when we experience change humans have a predictable relationship of emotions.
BrainAwareTraining: And really we’re going through a form of grief because we see change as potentially going wrong and biologically we’re wired to see all the bad stuff that could happen, potentially, so we naturally sort of say let me imagine all the ways this can go badly because that’s self-protective right, if I can imagine it I can protect myself from it, so what happens is we tend to first respond with anger and denial and frustration and stress and anxiety all of those emotions come up at first when change is announced, and what I like to tell executives is your people are not being difficult they’re being human, this is, this is just how things are with change we are wired to see it as potentially dangerous until we get enough information and so there’s going to be time that passes and that time that passes is influenced by how transparent the leaders are being are they giving the why for the change are they allowing time and space for people to just grumble because we need to but eventually we get over the hump and you know I call it the peak of resignation it’s kind of the hump of this journey and there’s three types of resignation that happened there some people quit forget it I’m out of here I don’t want to do this.
BrainAwareTraining: The second type of resignation is Oh, I guess, this is happening I better resign myself and get on board.
BrainAwareTraining: And then the third is the leaders who thought they would be met with standing ovations are so shocked by the grumbling and upset that they sometimes panic and pull the change when really, they just needed to wait a little bit longer because humans are also adaptive.
BrainAwareTraining: And once we kind of do our grumbling thing and we imagine the worst-case scenario, then we can start picturing what we could gain what we could be positive about this, what are the opportunities here.
BrainAwareTraining: And then we naturally move into more and putting air quotes here air quote positive emotions there’s really no bad emotions.
BrainAwareTraining: But the easier to be around emotions like excitement maybe some skepticism some hope some creativity.
BrainAwareTraining: Even some impatience, like all right, I want to get this going and some excited this so that’s called the change curve and I have found it’s pretty accurate when you’re rolling out change in an organization.
BrainAwareTraining: And then we can add research on habits and other stuff you can even kind of predict how long some of these grumbles are going to happen and then leaders can definitely take action to make the drama less and the length of time less, but they never make it zero.
BrainAwareTraining: Because we’re human this is part of what we do biologically.
Cindra Kamphoff: I am just thinking you just dropped like major value bombs that people if they’re not taking out their piece of paper and they’re writing a whole bunch of things down that you just said. I really appreciate that you said they’re not being difficult but they’re being human.
Cindra Kamphoff: I think that’s so helpful as we think about having compassion with ourselves when we go through change but also compassion with those people that we lead but we’re also adaptive and you just you provided a lot of good tangible things like being transparent sharing the why.
Cindra Kamphoff: They need information so that we can, and we naturally go to the worst case. But then when we go to the worst case, we can take a step back, I think about there’s so many people I know who are going through right now there’s a big organization I work with that I provide coaching for, and they’re having all these layoffs and everybody I talked to is in this worst-case scenario they’re ready to be gone, but one of the issues is their leaders haven’t told them what changes they’re actually making in where they’re going and why all these changes are made so people feel really insecure about their future and they don’t know if they’re going to be cut next.
BrainAwareTraining: Absolutely and what’s interesting is that human mind the human mind must make meaning and so, in the absence of the narrative we will make up our own story.
BrainAwareTraining: And here’s the kicker, it will always be worst case scenario.
BrainAwareTraining: Always I worked with one organization, where they decided to change, they had an onsite gym, so this is one of the sorts of Silicon Valley, companies and they decided to change the towels.
BrainAwareTraining: Because they’ve done some research and they realized that most people were not using the towel service and so they’re going to save some money by just removing stuff people were not using any way and, when it was announced, because they the leaders did not provide good information.
\BrainAwareTraining: The employees interpreted that that it was a sign that the company was in trouble and layoffs were imminent and so all this fear started running through the organization when it had nothing to do with that worst case scenario, of course, our layoffs and so when layoffs are happening it’s going to freak people out because we need to survive and in today’s world how we survive is our paycheck that’s how we buy food, water and shelter so anything that threatens your potential job, whether it’s a performance review, a new boss or layoffs or rumors of layoffs in a really activate people’s fear and anxiety.
Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, I think that’s a great example of just removing towels and then we think the sky’s falling.
BrainAwareTraining: Humans do and so leaders can do you know be transparent when you can share as much information as you can tell the y be truthful employees can sniff bs in my hallway and be compassionate because sometimes you do have to deliver bad news, and then I think it’s also about being a broken record repeat yourself again and again and again because when we’re on that change journey and having all those emotions we can’t always hear what’s being told to us, but if there’s multiple opportunities to hear or read or see it helps us clue into the information we need at the moment.
Cindra Kamphoff: And you said something that I wanted to follow up on, you said you can predict how long you know people are sort of like in the stages of change say more about that can you predict how long people stay in the worst case and it’s a combination of two things one is you know just the natural journey that people take on kind of that change curve, but the second thing that plays out is habits and our brain has a brain structure called the basal ganglia that is designed to help us develop habits.
BrainAwareTraining: Here’s a habit anything that you do on autopilot like when you open software and you know your way around that’s a habit you’ve done it so many times you don’t have to think about it, but if you had a brand new package of software you’d have to think about it and concentrate on it right? Learning to drive another example we used to have to think about it a lot Now you can drive without thinking about the active driving that’s the basal ganglia at work.
BrainAwareTraining: So, when we’ve done that behavior over and over again, it takes 40 to 50 repetitions for the basal ganglia to turn that behavior into a habit.
BrainAwareTraining: Here’s what happens with change, most of the time, whatever you’re shifting at work, people already have a habit in place they’re already got a well-groomed thing that they do that’s easy and comfortable.
BrainAwareTraining: And usually, when you’re rolling around changing organizations, you’re asking them to develop a new habit which is going to be awkward and uncomfortable so they’re naturally going to want to go back to the old way, so a couple things you need to provide training to help groove those 40 to 50 repetitions.
BrainAwareTraining: And then that 40 to 50 number can help you predict, so I worked at another organization that used to provide you know lunch every day on campus. And again, they did the research, very few people were on campus on Friday’s people tend to go off campus for lunch on Friday, so they decided to remove Friday lunches and again lots of drama oh my God the sky is falling.
BrainAwareTraining: And one of the VP has pulled me aside and was like how long this is going to go on, and I said 40 Fridays once.
BrainAwareTraining: But it is a long time, but that’s you know if they take you know if it was every day, we would have gotten there in six weeks right but every Friday was a thing now sometimes people adapt a little faster sometimes a little slower but you can kind of predict, if this is a behavior that they do every day or multiple times a day you’re going to get through the grumbling and the habit forming a lot faster than if it’s something that you do weekly or monthly then it can go on and on.
Cindra Kamphoff: That 40 to 50 is really practical right and those wraps I really appreciate what you just said so as we think about change.
Cindra Kamphoff: One of the things that you talk about is that we need both motivations to change and then, then the desire and choice, how can we use both to ask you know access our own readiness to change or other people’s readiness to change.
BrainAwareTraining: Yeah, so let me clarify that human motivation for change is comes from two factors, did we get to choose it yes or no didn’t want it, yes or no.
BrainAwareTraining: So again, you can make a little matrix for yourself and there’s four quadrants you know, a change that you wanted, and you chose would be like applying for a new job where you’re going to have to move. You get that job offer even that’s going to be hugely disruptive in your life you’re probably super excited about it. Then you’ve got changed, you did not choose and did not want no don’t make me we’re going to naturally dig in our heels and resist that.
BrainAwareTraining: Then you’ve got stuff you wanted but didn’t choose this was me with the acquisition I’d always wanted to work for LinkedIn I was a big fan of Jeff leaner the CEO, but when that was announced in our company, I was like yay.
BrainAwareTraining: I was in the middle of a kitchen remodel and moving my mom. So it was not a good time for me, so I was going to embrace this opportunity, but certainly not the same running for it, energy, as if I had applied for a job there.
BrainAwareTraining: And then there’s this weird fourth category, which is you’re choosing it, but you don’t want it, I think a lot of us felt like that about the pandemic and masking nobody loves masking right.
BrainAwareTraining: We get it to take care of our community to take care of ourselves so there’s you know if you have to relocate because it’ll set you up for a better job.
BrainAwareTraining: Things like that so we’re kind of enduring or accepting the situation but we’re not necessarily loving it.
Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah Okay, so how also useful the last question I have and then we’ll wrap up and you can share anything else that you’d like I think about what you said about you know we’re not being difficult we’re just being a human and some of the natural reactions that we can have to change, such as fear, or maybe fear of failure or failure in general that gets in our way of really embracing change, how do you see that happening, and how does that apply to what we’ve been talking about.
BrainAwareTraining: Yeah absolutely, so in my book that I wrote on this topic it’s called wired to resist because we are.
BrainAwareTraining: I found that there are four major brain structures that play out when we’re going through change I just talked about the basal ganglia and habits that’s a big one. There’s a part of our brain it’s called the hippocampus and it tracks failure and its whole job is to pay attention to when we mess up.
BrainAwareTraining: So, we can harvest those lessons and it tries to influence our future decisions and actions.
BrainAwareTraining: So how it does, that is, it’s a structure that restricts or cuts off serotonin and dopamine the feel-good chemicals so think about us as a species living on the land, you know hundreds of years ago.
BrainAwareTraining: If I walked down this path and I found food or water my brain would produce lots of serotonin and dopamine to reward me for that. And if I the next day, I went down a different path and there was no food or water, the hippocampus would activate and restrict cut off the drip of serotonin dopamine essentially making me feel a little bad.
BrainAwareTraining: So, the next time I come to that fork in the road, I would just kind of feel emotionally like I want to go down the one path and not the other, so it uses this chemical guardrail to influence decisions and actions.
BrainAwareTraining: what’s really interesting, is it can be so powerful that it can affect your motor neurons, so the venue is overactive and people with depression.
BrainAwareTraining: And when they say I’m having trouble getting out of bed they’re not kidding their motor neurons are suppressed and it’s literally, making it physically hard for them to move.
BrainAwareTraining: So that’s how powerful to have been used is how it relates to change is change gives us lots of opportunities to fail.
BrainAwareTraining: Most change never unrolls you know unfolds on time on budget there’s lots of opportunities to make mistakes.
BrainAwareTraining: And so, if we’re not celebrating success the hub Angela can get overactive and we start to code changes and negative thing and then we become more resistant to change in the future.
Cindra Kamphoff: Excellent Dr Andreotti this was wonderful today I learned so much, and I know, everybody who’s listening learned a lot and I just want to really Thank you so much for bringing it here on the podcast today and sharing with us, you know your knowledge and your perspective of how you’ve been continuing to do your own research and learn and grow tell us a little bit about your three books and which of those relate to the topics that we talked about today.
BrainAwareTraining: So today we covered a lot of content from wired to resist that’s the book that I have on change, and I have another book called wired to grow, which is all about how the brain learns and how we learn new behaviors.
BrainAwareTraining: And then, my third book is called wired to connect, which is all about teams and collaboration and inclusion and then the little bit of purpose and post traumatic growth that is going to be in book number four which I’m writing right now it’ll be out in 2023 and it’s called Wired to Become.
BrainAwareTraining: And if folks want to check out, I am on my website, I put out a pretty good size free section of each of my book, so if you just go to my website BrittAndreotti.com/books.
BrainAwareTraining: You’ll see all the books listed there you can click on the free section, and it also show you where you can order them if you’re interested.
Cindra Kamphoff: Excellent that’s perfect and if people want to learn more about your certification and training tell us about that.
BrainAwareTraining: Yeah, so again my website brute Andreotti comm slash training will take you to all of that, and then I’m really active on LinkedIn so if people follow me on LinkedIn, you’ll always know what I’m up to and
BrainAwareTraining: What I’m sharing I’m always sharing new stuff about the brain and asked them how we can be our best selves.
Cindra Kamphoff: Excellent well so much value in everything that we talked about today in our lives and our work and I really appreciate the way that you broke it down really practically for people to understand, so when you think about neuroscience it can be a little overwhelming you know.
Cindra Kamphoff: And if people really want to have research back ways of change and seeing this idea of post traumatic growth right, I appreciate the way that you broke it down, do you have any final advice or thoughts for us.
BrainAwareTraining: You know the last thing I would say is we inhabit pretty miraculous bodies like you know the human body can heal itself, we can recover from things we can become better.
BrainAwareTraining: It really is designed to heal and repair and grow in new ways, so a show a little love and appreciation to this this amazing thing that you have this body this mind.
BrainAwareTraining: And then learn a little bit more about it, you know, the more I’ve learned the more I feel like I’ve been able to take care of myself and maximize what is naturally there and so it’s pretty fascinating I’m a lifelong learner and I hope other people get kind of turned on by checking out checking out neuroscience research it’s pretty fascinating.
Cindra Kamphoff: Thank you, Dr Britt, I appreciate, you and I am grateful for the positive work that you’re doing in this world, and all the people that you just helped.
BrainAwareTraining: Well, thank you to you, too, I love that you’re spreading this message and I love the opportunity to connect with your listeners, so thank you.
Cindra Kamphoff: Thank you.