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Treat Your Brain Like an Employee

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Boosting productivity organization-wide is an important goal for managers, but what about boosting personal productivity? The brain is designed to take the path of least resistance, and generally speaking, most people’s brains are pretty lazy. When stress is added to the mix, the brain is even more of a slacker, and the first response to a problem it generates will likely not be the best one. This is something Mo Gawdat, the chief business officer at Alphabet’s Moonshot Lab, has considered at great length. His solution? To treat his brain like it’s one of his employees. After the untimely death of his son, Gawdat realized that the negative ideation he was experiencing wasn’t helpful in his recovery, and certainly wouldn’t bring his son back, so he started interacting with his own mind as if it were a direct report. When he was presented with a negative thought, he would actively tell his brain, “Bring me another,” until he came up with something productive. Gawdat says that even stellar employees need to be pushed to do better or to make changes in the way they tackle problems, and the brain is no different.

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