Brain Blindness In Leadership - Why We Must Expand Our Approach

Brain Blindness In Leadership - Why We Must Expand Our Approach

Our Brains as Humans are one of our most powerful differentiators.

It makes sense for us to study it in-depth, and at the start of my career working with Leaders, I did too.

However, over time, I started to realize something with clients.

The Focus on the Brain wasn't able to explain most Failures in Leadership.

Along with this, the Focus on the Brain was Not Creating Leadership Success Consistently... if at all.

Whether it was the Focus on the Brain with IQ, EQ, Leadership Skills, Communication, or anything else, I began to see a pattern.

Though these things worked "some" of the time for "some" people, they never worked all of the time for "anyone".

For a hefty section of people, it doesn't work "at all".

According to studies, 80% of the time Leadership Development Fails "Completely" (with "various" results the remainder).

I really started to wonder how that could be.

With all of our Advanced Research in both Business and Psychology, I thought that we would should have a better grasp on how to get Consistent Results.

But the Data doesn't Lie.

Not only were Results Not getting better, but they were actually getting Worse!

How could we spend $350 Billion in the Leadership Development Industry, and Fail to get Results?

Especially when other Research is added in addition that is funded separately?!

Over time, I began to see what the Problem was.

There is an Metaphor that is often used to help explain the Problem.

When the only tool you have is a Hammer, you begin to see every Problem as a Nail.

In Medicine, they call it Hyper-Focus, and it is often deadly to patients as Doctors fail to see the Problems because they only understand one "specific" facet of Anatomy.

In Leadership Development, the hammer is the Brain, and by Over Focusing on the Brain so many people believe that "all" the Answers "must" come from the Brain.

But it obviously is not working.

I call this "Brain Blindness".

When we Believe that the Brain provides all of the Solutions, we start Focusing in on what needs to happen to make "only" the Brain work.

At least, In Theory.

See, the Researchers who study the Brain generally do good work in their Research, but there are things often missed in people's Interpretations of the Research.

For instance, most Research is done specifically on Young Men and does not account for Children, Women, or the Elderly.


Well, most Research is done on College Campuses where the Male Students are simply more likely to participate.

But this creates Problems in Interpretations.

What works for Young Male Students often does not work for Middle or Late Age individuals with Families.

But even when the Research "does" account for those things, there is another Problem.

The vast majority of Research is also done in Controlled Environments.

When was the last time "anyone" in the world of Business felt they lived in a "Controlled Environment".

Most of the Problems my clients have revolve around the fact that they feel "Everything" in their Environments is Out of their Control.

Often they are right!

Then they try to apply Research from Controlled Experiments to their Out-of-Control Lives and it Does Not Work!

But this is only a small piece of the Problem.

See, when people Focus on the Brain, they generally begin to see others "as if" they were Brains on a Stick (even if they don't "believe" that is true).

The Problem with this though is that there are so many other Important aspects to our Bodies as Humans that directly Impact the Brain, but which you can't see by "Only" Looking at the Brain.

Ergonomics, though generally completely misunderstood and done excessively poorly, is a good way to understand this.

When you sit in Chairs all day, your body does not "need" to use many of your abdominal muscles.

This makes them become weaker over time.

As they become weaker, it leads to a host of Problems in the body.

One important aspect of this is that when the spine is not properly supported, it causes pain in the body.

As the body has more and more pain, we need to go from Ergonomics to the study of Embodied Cognition.

See, our Brains are directly impacted by how well we can move within our Environments.

If we lose function of our Bodies, we also lose function of our Brains.

So, as the spine becomes less supported, you also lose the functioning of your Body, and then you also begin to lose the functioning of your Brain.

But you don't "see" that occur if you only Focus on the Brain.

You simply see that Brain Function is deteriorating and the only Reasoning that is generally presented is that our Brains Weaken with Age.

It is the only "known" change in Brains between the Young College Men, and Older Adults.

But when you look at Embodied Cognition, Scientists are finding that is actually not True!

When you study the Brain in tandem with the Body, you discover that the Brain only deteriorates with age "if" you lose functioning of your body.

Since most older people have been Focused more on their Brains than their Bodies, it just "Appears" like the Brain Deteriorates with age, but the Reality is that their Body Deterioration "Causes" the Brain Deterioration.

For Elderly People who have great Bodily Health, their Brains actually seem to "Improve" as they get Older!

But when you are Brain Blind, you miss these types of things.

Not to mention that is only one "very" specific aspect of the Body!

That's not including Nutrition, Breathing, Stress, the Nervous System, Epigenetics, Neurocardiology, or any other part of the Body!

When you start looking at the "Whole" Human, you begin to see that there are "Many" things that end up getting in the way of a Leader's Success that have "Nothing" to do with the Brain.

You could spend your entire life only working on the Brain, and it would end up Completely Failing to provide Results because of the Brain Blindness.

If you want to have Success as a Leader, you must move "Beyond" the Brain.

Though there is Great Importance to our Brains and there our Skills that can make our Brains Better, if we are Blind to everything else then it all ends up be useless.

If we "truly" want to Maximize our Brains, we must look at all of the other Interactions that occur in the Body.

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