Fascinating new research provides more insight into why efforts at changing organizations usually meet with resistance from older leaders and employees.
Up to now, most have attributed the resistance to the fact that older employees have invested in past ideas and aren't interested in new ones. But the Wall Street Journal reports a new finding was discovered in an effort to track the progress of children who grow up too fast. Here's what they found:
"In an experiment published in 2011 in the journal Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Dr. Wilbrecht and a colleague discovered that young mice learn more flexibly than older ones. The researchers hid food at one of four locations in a pile of shavings, with each location indicated by a different smell. The mice quickly learned that the food was at the spot that smelled, say, like thyme rather than cloves, and they dug in the shavings to find their meal. The experimenters then reversed the scents: Now the clove-scented location was the correct one.
"To solve this problem the mice had to explore a new possibility: They had to dig at the place with the other smell, just for the heck of it, without knowing whether they would find anything. Young mice were good at this kind of exploratory, flexible 'reversal learning.'
"But at a distinct point, just as they went from being juveniles to adults, they got worse at solving the problem. Instead, they just kept digging at the spot where they had found the food before. The experiment fit with earlier studies: Like mice, both young rats and young children explore less as they become adults."
The line "They just kept digging at the spot where they had found the food before" is what hit me. After all, how many meetings have you attended where—for many certain employees—the answer to every problem is to continue doing what they've always done? So it's not always pride, over-confidence or resistance other leaders. It may be DNA. It's built into our systems. Sadly, this simply confirms what many of us believe: that as we grow older, we tend to rely on past experience to get us through new challenges.
But that doesn't work. The study called it "reversal learning," and it describes how we should always be ready to change gears, look at the problem in new directions, and be open to alternatives. Otherwise, we sit on our laurels, remind ourselves of how great we used to be and, like the mice in the study, slowly starve to death.
What are you doing to keep the creative juices flowing as you get older?
An internationally known writer and speaker, Phil Cooke has actually produced media programming in nearly 50 countries around the world. In the process, has been shot at, survived two military coups, fallen out of a helicopter, and in Africa, been threatened with prison. And during that time—through his company Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California—he's helped some of the largest nonprofit organizations and leaders in the world use the media to tell their story in a changing, disrupted culture.
For the original article, visit philcooke.com.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.