People born 20 years ago have grown up in era of constant change.

According to Beloit College Mindset list, these people have never licked a postage stamp, have never seen an airplane ticket, have only ever seen folk wheel their suitcases around an airport rather than carry them and think that email is the formal way to communicate. These are pretty minor changes in the grand scheme of things, but rather more importantly than that, is the fact that these are the same people who are creating the next pool of talent for employers.

Although change is a big part of their DNA, we shouldn’t take for granted that constant adaptation is any easier for them to deal with, as it is for the rest of us.

Social neuroscientist David Rock’s SCARF model, eloquently illustrates what happens to our subconscious brain when we are dealing with change. The trigger of either a threat or reward response hugely impacts on our ability to perform in the workplace. Yet so many organisations still manage to handle change inadequately.

Another factor to consider is how our brains are naturally wired to think and behave. If you take the ‘S’ of SCARF, which is ‘Status’ (our perception of where we are in relation to others), something as simple as how a manager offers feedback can easily trigger a threat response, depending on a recipient’s preferences. A person with a preference for social thinking, for example, will respond better if you:

  • Ensure that the feedback is fair
  • That you are sensitive to their feelings
  • That you provide them with support and
  • That you empathise with them

This differs from a person with a preference for analytical thinking:-

  • They require feedback that makes sense
  • Is accurate
  • Is from a credible source and
  • That provides evidence that warrants the feedback

Brain science has improved exponentially over the last 20 years and there are some amazing tools available to us like SCARF and Emergenetics (which demonstrates a person’s preference for thinking and behaviour), which are not only scientifically robust, but also offer very simple and easy to use strategies that can better equip us for managing change more successfully.

If you require more information on Emergenetics please don’t hesitate to get in touch.