"Communication"Do you have as a fundamental element of your leadership training a course on “having the hard conversation?” Perhaps you have training on “Crucial Conversations” or “Critical Conversations.” If you have these programs, you are defining your culture in ways that will not pay off for you in the long run. You are training your leaders to be tough and to have judgmental conversations, whether you intend to or not.

Let us imagine a truly high performing culture. The leaders in this organization talk with each other regularly about the business and challenge each other when Old Brain interruptions to success happen.

This means they recognize when they are being territorial, when they are blaming someone else, when they are focusing on what is wrong to the exclusion of all the things that are right, and when they are simplifying complex issues in order to expedite to unrealistic or imaginary deadlines.

Within this same organization, employees are a natural part of critical conversations. Leaders work hard to include people where helpful, and focus on how to continue learning as a general state. There are continuous conversations about what people are doing and why it matters, and how actions of others tie to each other.

A culture like this will have several key elements:

• Self-Monitoring.

People at all levels in the organization will monitor their own behavior, moods, and Old Brain energy, as well as their own work performance. People will take the initiative to resolve the common and expected scrapes and bumps that can happen when two or more people get together. This self-monitoring will be expected for everyone and it will be supported and reinforced daily.

• Asking for Help.

Because our Old Brain energy is so prevalent, difficult to spot, and potentially troublesome to us and those around us, people will ask for help. “I don’t feel helpful here, what am I doing?” We can all be part of the problem, every day, whether we know it or not. The high performing organization reflects knowledge and understanding of this and works to recognize opportunities for different and better behavior and influence it.

• Commitment to Learning.

The best way to fit in and thrive in this organization is to make a personal commitment to do your part. Making a commitment to drop your certainty, be open to new ideas, and continue your personal learning helps offset the Old Brain energy that can hold us back. Remember, your story is just that – a story.

If this sounds impossible, unlikely or ridiculous to you, stay where you are. If you recognize in this the potential for your own greatness and an understanding of your own humanness, you hold the key to the amazing organization of the future. Begin your own learning today.

By Diane Marentette and Richard Trafton, Ph.D., authors of “A New Brain for Business” and founders of The New Brain for Business Institute, www.newbrainforbusiness.com, where they translate good science into good business. For more information, please write to us at info@newbrainforbusiness.com