Despite our protestations otherwise, we all have a conformity compulsion. If we sense that the herd is going in a particular direction, we instinctively fear being left behind or stranded. Part of this is likely a hangover from our tribal past as humans.

The compulsion to mimic and copy others is deeply rooted in our need to belong. By complying with social norms and collectivist views, we gain the acceptance of the tribe. Breaking social norms or dissenting is dangerous as it can see us expelled from the group. Or at the very least, shamed and embarrassed.[1]

HYBRID WORK IS HAPPENING: SO WHAT’S THE OUTCOME?

Thu Nov 10 2022 Michael McQueen

Hybrid work is underway. Incentivising the return to workplaces has been a struggle for leaders as, for many workers, the freedom and flexibility offered by remote work makes it a high priority. The set of challenges that faces leaders, however, is not simply finding the right incentive to get workers back to the office. Rather, the hybrid work world has created a new set of priorities in employees regarding both their teams and their leaders.

Microsoft recently released a trends report, highlighting the statistics and numbers that emerged from research into workplace relations within hybrid work models[1].

Here are 3 key insights from their findings.

HOW TO GET THE STUBBORN TO BUDGE

Mon Oct 31 2022 Michael McQueen

There are few things more frustrating than an opponent who won’t budge. We’ve all experienced those conversations with a voter on the other side of politics or a friend who is endlessly stubborn, in which any amount of evidence is insufficient in moving their position. Our natural impulse is to do just this: begin big in our persuasive efforts, believing that a barrage of information and evidence will knock someone from their position instantly. But, contrary to our aim the result of this approach is usually the other’s deeper entrenchment in their beliefs and a defensiveness that inhibits any further dialogue.

Far from being the rationally operating, pragmatic agents we like to believe we are, more often than not our decisions arise from the seat of our emotions. Our sense of certainty in reaching conclusions and making choices is far more connected to our impulses, emotional reactions and bodily sensations than we think. Rather than being quickly overridden by rational analysis, our emotions are a driving force in our behaviour, and are often the surest guarantee of our response.

Everybody wants a diverse team. Recent years have seen diversity become a new priority for businesses, often above other values – and for good reason! While quotas are a matter of some controversy, the contemporary push for diversity leads to some great results.

Psychologist Irving Janis argues that the lack of diversity in a group insulates it from outside opinion and convinces members over time that the group’s judgment on important issues must be right. These kinds of groups, Janis suggests, share “an illusion of invulnerability and a willingness to rationalize away possible counter-arguments to the group’s position.”[1]

DEBUNKING THE MYTH OF “MIND OVER MATTER”

Wed Oct 12 2022 Michael McQueen

We all like to believe we put our mind over matter. Overall, we are rational agents with free will who have control over our bodies, impulses and sensations. However, more and more studies are emerging that prove this belief to be far from the truth.

Researchers across disciplines and cultures are showing that our bodies are far more involved in our thinking than we like to believe. Our cognitive processes are embedded in a system that involves various parts of the rest of our body, from our heart to our gut.

The human instinct to avoid social humiliation is deep. Psychologists point to shame as being one of the deepest fears held nearly universally by human beings, coming close to the fear of death. We all have the impulse to save face, and many of us get particularly defensive, aggressive or withdrawn when that impulse is challenged.

This fear of losing our dignity plays out in important ways in our everyday conversations. It is this very fear that is often the cause of us advocating opinions long after we have abandoned them, for fear of embarrassing ourselves by acknowledging our prior ignorance.

We are already seeing the metaverse transform things. All the way from work to play, this immersive and interactive version of the internet is engaging users across every field of life.

It’s worth noting that as recently as July 2021, the word ‘metaverse’ was nowhere to be found in the world of business and technology. While the term itself had been used by science fiction writers previously, the idea of a metaverse entered the mainstream lexicon in late 2021 when Mark Zuckerberg and others began to tout it as the way of the future. Facebook’s high-profile rebranding as Meta in October 2021 only solidified this idea.