Author: Oleg Protsenko, Managing partner PEPworldwide-Ukraine, CEO advisor PIRAEUS Bank
Information-analysis-insight. Such an algorithm that is embedded in our brain by nature. We receive information, process it, analyze it and there is an “insight” – the birth of something new based on the data. This is the “added value” that should be created in the process of work, for which the whole process of working with information is started. Unfortunately, existence in multitasking environment leads to the fact that this algorithm more and more often fails. Instead of a chain of information-analysis-insight, the chain is increasingly emerging: information-analysis-information +.
Infinite distractions, interruptions lead to the fact that insight does not arise and we believe that this is due to a lack of information. And we begin to require / look for additional information. In the end, we are turning into a machine for “repackaging” information. Our mental muscles atrophy, since we still do not find an opportunity to use them. We are trying to get out of the situation by making collective decisions, shifting responsibilities, etc.
Increasingly, our results are not filled with due novelty, creative spark and increasingly it is just a useless set of “repacked” data.
The fact is that this very “insight” requires certain conditions. And the most important of them is the concentration on the subject of study. Deep thinking can only be done with a steadily focused mind. Only as a result of proper concentration, for a certain period of time, those parts of the brain that can lead to insight can be involved, to transform the data set into a coherent system, scheme, conclusion, poem, etc.
This is well known to people of creative work – they call it inspiration. The concept of “flow” is also used. But who said that the lawyer studying the contract with the client does not need inspiration? Or a manager who develops a compensation scheme for his staff? Or a group of executives who are developing a strategy for the company? But the current office environment completely does not provide an opportunity for concentration. Filled with adrenaline-junkie activity “white-collar workers” completely destroy all possibility to stop, disconnect from the surrounding turmoil and fill the dry lines with meaning and importance.
Apologists of modern technical innovations convince nothing terrible is happening, because the possibilities of our brain are used only by a few % and it can still be loaded and loaded … And loaded.
Probably, they are right. But only – how to load? What is our mind to transform? In an ultra-fast switch of incredible amounts of information or in an instrument for getting deeper, 3-dimensional ideas, solutions and insights? It seems that all modern technical developments should be aimed precisely at freeing the mind of a person, unloading it, taking on a maximum of routine work and enabling the brain to do what it is intended to do.
2 main problems:
1. We forgot how to concentrate. Our brain is like muscles and needs constant training. If the brain is not trained from the very childhood, then it is not necessary to expect insights.
Tests for the concentration of a large number of office employees show a very mediocre level.
2. There are no conditions necessary for concentration. Too many projects at once, too short deadlines, too complex systems of communication, approval, control
The result: the whole numerous “office plankton” only regroups the information, plays it in ping-pong without any serious output.
There are 3 ways to improve the situation:
1. Reduce the necessary number of “insights” In other words, translate what can be translated into routine activities, do not “reinvent the wheel” where only a proven procedure is needed. Implement habits instead. After all, habit is a way of doing something without thinking.
Example, you invite colleagues to a meeting. Insight 1 – how to do it: by phone, email or by the calendar? You have decided that this will be the calendar. Insight 2 – how to use ” email. calendar, you have not done it for a long time and are not sure which buttons you need to press. Insight 3 – what should be in the invitation to the meeting? Then insight 4 – how not to forget yourself about this meeting and to prepare yourself in advance. So: a typical office “meeting”, which according to statistics can be held several times a day requires a whole chain of “creative” solutions. However, with a clearly defined procedure and implemented practice, all the “insights” listed above become routines that can be performed without serious concentration.
Thus, by introducing step by step more and more routines, we minimize the burden on the brain, giving the opportunity to concentrate on really important tasks.
2. Create time intervals \ office zones \ day schedules allowing employees to achieve that state of concentration followed by “insight”.These can be “relaxation zones” – special rooms where there are no calls, conversations are prohibited.
3. To increase the ability of employees to concentrate on one subject. Through regular training, participation in team managerial games, solving on-line puzzles with prizes, etc.
Catch insight – and enjoy the results of your work.