The Business Psychologists’ Dilemma
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again.
Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744)
Imagine you’ve been engaged by a client to deliver a leadership development programme. The client says:
“It shouldn’t take long to design because we have a lot of the content already written. We want it to include neuroscience stuff – you know, like the fact we only use 10% of our brain, right-brain/left-brain thinking and NLP – we’ve got exercises on eye accessing cues and VAK learning. Oh and that stuff on communication, you know – how only 7% of a message comes from words. And all our leaders are Activists so we don’t need any theory or reflection or action planning.”
Oh kill me now!
A small amount of knowledge about a theory or model can mislead people into thinking that they are more expert than they really are.
Neuromyths arise when complex scientific research and ideas are oversimplified, misunderstood, misread or misquoted. These myths are then perpetuated by others who jump on the bandwagon without examining the evidence for themselves.
How do you go about re-educating clients? Should you tell them they’ve been misinterpreting the science for 10 years? Should you just ‘take the money and run’? Should you re-design the programme for free and risk making a loss on the project? Or should you just walk away?
By posting this, I’m cheating; I’m hoping that it will be read by internal L&D Managers and course designers who will be enlightened enough to question the evidence; to ‘drink largely of the Pierian spring’ and look more deeply at the research.
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