Idea Report

IDEA REPORT: Building Brain-Friendly Leadership Models

putting together legos

In 2016, Microsoft came to a profound realization about its leadership model. Built on over 100 skills and competencies, which Microsoft expected all leaders to uphold, the model was thorough, to say the least. However, that also meant it didn’t accommodate the natural capabilities and limitations of human processing power.

Or, as we say, it wasn’t very brain-friendly.

In working with NLI, Microsoft came to appreciate the value of being essential, not exhaustive, in how it crafted a leadership model. That model now consists of just six words — Create clarity, Generate energy, Deliver success. Three years later, Microsoft employees use the phrases on a near-daily basis, as the model has pervaded countless processes throughout the organization.

Building brain-friendly models

Leadership models don’t have to be complicated. They can be simple. Short and sweet. But leaders don’t make them short and sweet because they fear leaving things out.

Scientists know this bias as “loss aversion,” in which humans over-weight a choice’s possible losses than its gains. If leaders decide to make this effort, however, NLI’s research presents three criteria that all leadership models should satisfy.

Leadership models should be stickymeaningful, and coherent. Models should be sticky, in that they are easy to recall; meaningful, in that they pertain to leaders’ actual responsibilities; and coherent, in that they relate to the organization’s broader goals.

Our surveys with hundreds of talent and HR professionals have shown that these traits are rare within organizations. However, the organizations that do incorporate the three traits tend to find the most value in their model.

Introducing the latest Idea Report

We have compiled the various findings from our research project in the latest edition of our annual Idea Report, entitled “Building Brain-Friendly Leadership Models.”

This white paper is meant to serve as both a reference guide for understanding key aspects of brain science, and a field manual to start the process of incorporating the science into your own organization.

To learn more about NLI’s research on building brain-friendly leadership models, click the link below and grab your copy of the Idea Report today.

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