Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mind Pops

A recent article on Scientific American.com talks about a cognitive phenomenon we have all experienced but may not have had a name for.

The idea is that something we were thinking about hours or days ago remains unresolved and so our unconscious keeps picking at it.  At some point, a small cue, even one we might not be aware of, triggers it into active memory and we get a “mind-pop.” 

They usually appear when we are doing something routine, boring, or otherwise takes very little of our attention.  So there is a lot of capacity left over for our brain to get back to picking at the unresolved issue.  And then all of a sudden – mind pop.

The research that the article cites suggests that “super-primers” who have mind-pops more often than the rest of us are better problem-solvers and more creative. 

I don’t think I experience these enough to be a super-primer, although the article also says that often we are unaware when they happen.  But it is good to have a name for it.

Extraordinary Leadership

Taking a break from McGonigal’s book today because I seem to have misplaced it.   Oops.  Anyway, some good ideas have crossed my desk today – all very worthy for sharing.

Geoffrey James has a great piece on Inc.com describing eight attributes that define an “extraordinary” management philosophy.  Usually, I find these kinds of lists to be either so high level that you can’t actually follow them without doing all the work yourself or so low level that they don’t apply to any business other than the one in the article.  But this list does a pretty good job of giving good, generalizable, and actionable insight. 

There still is a large gap between advising leaders to “inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community–and company–at large” and actually doing this.  But it is more actionable than the title of this attribute, which is “A company is a community, not a machine” which is the usual claptrap.