Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to delve into Your Brain at Work by David Rock, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to use their brain more effectively and efficiently. The information is designed to help leaders function and interact with greater finesse, but I can see applications for people in many professional and personal settings.
Using interesting case scenarios to demonstrate how the brain works, Rock discusses how to overcome daily challenges such as high levels of stress, lack of control, over-high expectations and constant distractions and interruptions. Details of different parts of the brain and associated research findings add credibility and context to his assertions.
In addition to learning to use your own brain, Rock introduces the SCARF Model, which outlines rewards that help to influence and engage other people. SCARF is an acronym for Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.
I was particularly taken with his discussion of how a need for certainty causes the brain to respond as if there is a threat, which “alerts” the brain structures of the limbic system, which regulates emotions. Rock describes uncertainty as a type of pain—something to be avoided. When the need for certainty is met, there is a sense of reward. When it is unmet people react in ways that may be counter-productive and engage in “information craving.”
Uncertainty also prevents creative solutions to problems when you are too quick to choose an option that helps to resolve a sense of uncertainty but may not be the best solution.
I see this in my own life as I find that I sometimes spend too much time looking for news and analysis of national and world events. Recognizing this need for certainty is a beginning. Finding strategies to deal with this phenomenon provides opportunities to work and live more productive and satisfying lives.
I have provided a link above and below if you would like to learn more.