The “smart” business uses the dopamine approach

A powerful and complex neurotransmitter, a real energy booster and kickstarter, dopamine is a simple molecule that enables remarkable achievements. Too much or too little creates addiction or impatience, but in balance, it can make success happen.

Elite sportspeople understand this and use it to their advantage. Time and results are pressures they overcome by reinventing themselves constantly. This requires access to analytical, intuitive, creative, adaptive and positive energy resources created by the production of dopamine and connected molecules. Simply put, these naturally-present molecules ease the shift between the default mental mode  – the comfort zone – and the adaptive mental mode – the growth and change zone. In an increasingly competitive, faster and more demanding  environment, this shift allows sportspeople to condition themselves for success, each in their own way, before they even start to compete.

Currently “slow thinking” is paradoxically highly regarded in this context. The sportsperson takes a calm moment to stop the clock and breathe consciously. This breathing creates the space to shape a “master project” for success, face up to fears and transform them into tools, visualise new solutions, develop a “small steps” strategy and infuse the body with dopamine from the projected success. At that point, they’re ready.

Industry 4.0 demands speed and agility from businesses. It requires each business, each team and each person to be ready to reinvent business processes while maintaining everyday production. It might be a long-term process with sprints, aiming to create tomorrow’s business model, be it integrated, connected, smart, de-siloed or interfaced. In the context of this wide-reaching revolution, neuroscience and cognitive sciences can play a role, making their own smaller revolution happen by showing that reducing the pace can increase speed, and that fears can be transformed into tools.

Whether SME or multinational, local or global, all companies face the challenge of reinvention, with the associated risks and fears. In “Even Eagles Need a Push”, David McNally sums up this complexity in the insightful question “why does the pleasure of flying have to start with the fear of falling?”. New advances in neuroscience, learning from professional sport and the experiences of pioneering companies, have built a kit of dopamine-boosting tools that lay the foundations for individual and collective success. The challenge is to democratise them, allowing each business to make the necessary shift, the smart change that takes the time needed to prepare and condition itself to succeed.

Original article (in French) Agefi (16 December 2019):