Lots of caffeine, train rides, and flights all contributed to my ability to power through an excellent book by Bruce Lipton called The Biology of Belief.
I am a true believer that breaking areas of knowledge into their own separate disciplines often prevent us from making breakthroughs in particular fields. Everyone ‘knows’ certain things within procurement, marketing, etc.
Therefore, The Biology of Belief was perfect for me, since it takes biological concepts and applies them to things like philosophy, leadership, and collective action generally.
One business lesson that I drew is the impact of belief on the success of a project or initiative. More importantly, the need for energetic action, and response to the environment. The typical long, slow corporate project has its place and is sometimes inevitable. But they often fail. Sure, applying disciplined change management techniques can make it work, but it often doesn’t.
So, what is the key to success? The Biology of Belief posits that it is the membrane of a cell, rather than the DNA-containing nucleus that is the key to prosperity. My takeaway is that the best leaders set up their systems such that they are able to adapt to their environment. It is not the ‘rightness’ of someone able to sound intelligent, but the ability to adapt quickly. Our sensory perceptions of the business environment must be encouraged and trusted – i.e. all our people rather than the whims of one.
In the book, rather than focus on purely chemical reactions, the science behind energy is explored. It is not often that energy or spirit is mentioned in science books, mainly because it is just not all that well understood. Lipton explains how cells and cell systems either go into protection mode, or growth mode.
To me, in business, we are either in protection, or crisis mode, or we are in growth mode. Sometimes, there are genuine crises where we must go into crisis mode. Other times, crises are overblown and the thinking is that if we can just get everything in order, growth will happen. But, like cells, we can’t grow by being better at defense. The body sends resources to the extremities when we need to escape…at the expense of internal systems. We won’t be conscious of this transfer, but the transfer is still happening.
The other lesson is energy. The placebo effect in medicine provides empirical proof that if we believe something, it is more likely to happen. Cells and people respond to energy, so if people sap your energy, the result will be worse. If people are inspired, they’ll perform better. The problem is that telling people to be inspired doesn’t work, nor does sweeping their concerns under the rug. Lectures are especially energy-draining. They actually must believe and be inspired, for which there is no manual or procedure.
What does this mean? Shorter, energy-filled projects work best. Eliminating energy-sapping bureaucracy. Culture of making it happen replacing one of over-cautiousness.
- 2012 Bruce Lipton (beingmedium.wordpress.com)
- How Molecular Biology Influences Business Management! (theunemploymentdojo.wordpress.com)
- Why Dieting Turns You Into a Zombie (psychologytoday.com)
- Michael Specter on the Placebo Effect (sciencebasedmedicine.org)
- The Seven Attributes That Matter (thesimpledollar.com)