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Leg 8. From Itajaí to Newport (V). Corporate Strategy Renewal is based in our Brain Continuous Learning.

brain capacities.pngGood afternoon to all. Today ´s topic is all about some bits and pieces which will help us to understand the successful brain framework to renew our corporate strategy. And since everything we do in our businesses depend on our brains, we will try to demystify all this idea that people stop to develop their brains after 30 years old, simply because that is not true. Or at least that is my hunch. What I have observed, is that we stop to study and continue learning after 30 years old, and that is the reason why we don´t keep our brain in further development mood. Can we see the difference?

Let´s start with my hypothesis that our brain is capable to develop further with continuous learning. Of course, we all continue learning through experiences after we finish our studies, but I believe we have to continue learning formally in order to create a renewal behavioral context in our companies.

The brain is more complex than what we know until today. Yesterday I show you what we were taught in school and high school about the brain main features and functions… but the brain is more complex than that. Or at least that is what my hunch is telling me.  I have the premonition that many of the “old school” teachings about the brain won´t be outstanding anymore, because the neuroscientists have discovered new things and brain experts are in a continuous learning mood. Our brains functions will be explained differently in some years from now. I believe each part of the lobes and brain systems are interrelated.

With the Internet and new social media technologies emerging, our brains, evolutionarily, “will be pushed to evolve”. Experts have stated that our brains have never been subjected to the amount of cognitive input that’s coming at us”. In consequence, there is a lot to learn about how we learn. There is a lot to learn about how can we train our brains to be wise.

Our past determines how we see our present, and how we will shape our future. That is true, just look at the following video of the next Volvo Ocean Race Prototype boat VOR 60. And this video can show us how we constantly are searching for renewals in our life, businesses, and hobbies. It is part of human nature to evolve. But we have to evolve with “WISDOM”. The Volvo Ocean Race wise experts in conjunction with a multidisciplinary team are building a new boat model:  From past experiences, their present research is giving a hint about the next generation Volvo Ocean Race Boat for the future.

Christopher Bartlett (Harvard) and the late Sumantra Ghoshal (London Business School) wrote a book called “The Individualized Corporation” some years ago. I will share with you a summary of their rationale behind this book. christopher-bartlett-sumantra-ghoshalThese two wise professors teamed up together because they were working towards a new managerial theory of the firm. They were into something. Their thesis is maybe more outstanding nowadays than it was 20 years ago. Bartlett and Ghoshal believe that if a company is to proceed beyond the shrinking spiral of downsizing and rationalization to develop the ability of continuous self-renewal, its real battle lies not in reorienting the strategy, restructuring the organization or revamping the systems, but in changing each of the individual organization members behaviors and actions.  Bartlett and Ghoshal contributions are outstanding particularly because we are thinking about joining  Industry 4.0.

Bartlett and Ghoshal have stated “A self-renewing organization can be built only on the bedrock of people who are willing to take personal initiative and to cooperate with one another, who have self-confidence and a commitment to a company, and who are able to execute relatively routine tasks with the same proficiency as they are willing to learn new skills and ways to take the company to the next stages of its ambition. In summary: the most vital requirement for revitalizing businesses is to rejuvenate people”. And I personally will add something more: It is to rejuvenate people brains. It is all about regeneration.

the individualized corporation.jpgLet´s think for a minute that my firm Eleonora Escalante Strategy is hired to work with Professor Bartlett today, 20 years later after he and Ghoshal published his book. Our consulting mandate objective is to understand the well-being brain status of the corporate board of directors in the world and its relationship with decision making. And our consulting mandate is to find out how the corporate brains perform at the top 500 Fortune companies in the world. We have to check the physiological, aptitudes and emotional well-being of the Board of Director’s brains. How they think, act and lead their companies?  Bartlett, my firm and a multidisciplinary team of people (including neuroscientists) are hired to understand how is it now the behavioral context of those firms. Now, 20 years later after they published the book. Based on the past research from Professor Bartlett, we expect to prove: For each healthy company, there is a toxic one. Either we will find carefully nurtured, deeply embedded corporate work ethics environment, which triggers the individual level behaviors of entrepreneurship, collaboration, and constant learning. Alternatively, we will find toxic companies (which could be profitable) more akin to the polluted, oppressive environment sapping personal energy and creating conditions for apathy.

Let´s check Bartlett and Ghoshal framework first. Let´s read the following slides which I have prepared as a summary from Bartlett and Ghoshal research:

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If you wish to see the last material in PDF slides; click here: Eliescalante Leg8 Corporate Strategy from the past to the future II.

From the past, we may believe (before starting our consulting mandate) the following: We expect to find toxic companies led by corporate brains with pathologies of the past (called by Bartlett as the roots of corporate-sclerosis: control, constraint, contract, and compliance) with an oppressive behavioral context. And we expect to find companies with leading brains which have built a renewal behavioral context that drives a company toward continuous self-renewal, with behavioral contexts of discipline, support, trust, and stretch. This is what we expect, OK. And our mandate will determine if our hypothesis is correct or not. Our present research will give us some hints on how to do things for the future.

I will stop here because I need you to re-read the slides several times. In addition, it is too much material to digest in one piece. You can also read the reference material. Tomorrow we will see a couple of examples to illustrate the three-step process of Corporate Renewal by Christopher Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal. I know we have to hurry up because our 7 teams are moving forward at 20 Knots by now, and now that we are at “our second week of Leg 8, all the fleet have already cleared the Doldrums, crossed the Equator and are back into the Northern Hemisphere and racing north in strong trade winds”.

Thank you for reading me. I don´t know about you, but I need a coffee. Now!. coffee.jpg

18:24 pm – CST – San Salvador.

Inspiration Source References:

Disclaimer: All the presentation slides shown on this blog are prepared by Eleonora Escalante MBA-MEng. Nevertheless, all the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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