In her book, Seeing Red Cars, Laura Goodrich points out something we’ve all experienced. If you buy a red car, suddenly you start noticing all the other red cars. The act of that purchase heightens your sensitivity to and awareness of all the other cars that share your shiny new car’s color.
And this fact could be a key to transforming individual behavior and group culture in your workplace.
The underlying phenomena here is that your brain is constantly getting rewired by your experiences. When you spend time researching or pondering or experiencing a specific topic, your brain becomes more and more attuned to that topic, even when you aren’t actively focused on it.
Mostly this happens by accident. You buy a red car. Suddenly you notice other red cars. You didn’t set out to get better at seeing red cars. It just happened.
But this can also be done intentionally.
You can wire your brain to get better at all sorts of things. For example, the practice of meditation is essentially a brain rewiring process to build self and other awareness, patience, calm, compassion and more.
Yet most people don’t actively work to wire their brains. And even fewer organizations provide the resources to do this, which is a shame. Because the rewiring process can be as simple as asking a question.
Questions direct attention and awareness.
So what if you could ask a question, not just once, but repeatedly? What if you could get people in your organization to spend just a couple minutes every week answering a question that rewired their brains to be more aware of something? Anything.
What would you ask them to get better at noticing?
My favorite answer to this question is:
In almost 20 years of working in leadership development and executive coaching one of the most common organization maladies I’ve seen is environments starved of positive feedback and encouragement. Even the best organizations could benefit from more of this.
So imagine an organization where every week people spend 2 minutes reflecting on what people around them have done well.
It’s not just those 2 minutes that are affected. Just like that red car you bought, those two minutes every week rewire your brain to get better and better and better at noticing people doing things well.
This is why we created a weekly recurring exercise to prompt people to answer this question every week. Every week you receive an email with a link to where you can reflect, record what you’ve noticed, and rewire your brain to get even better in the week ahead.
Click to create your own recurring recognition brainstorm to prompt you to get better at noticing the greatness around you. Best of all, it’s free!
By Noah Blumenthal, founder and CEO of SavvyRoo, Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and ukulele enthusiast.