Getting to Yes, And

Friederike Fabritius: The Brain-Friendly Workplace


Friederike Fabritius

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Kelly welcomes Friederike Fabritius back to the show. She is a neuroscientist and trailblazer in the field of neuroleadership.  Her new book is called “The Brain-Friendly Workplace: Why Talented People are Quitting and How to Get Them to Stay.”

One of the more sobering things you note in your new book is that the vast majority of DEI training just doesn’t work.

“Exactly. And I think that's a painful thing if you think about how much money is spent and how much good intentions people have about these training programs, and then, when you measure results, it's hard to find them. Not much has changed and even more so, when you remind people of their biases, as badly as this might sound, it can reactivate those biases.”

This book talks about people different neural signatures and one of the differences you write about is systems thinking and lateral thinking. Tell us the difference.

“Basically, if you enjoy math and technology, if you enjoy solving logical problems, then you're probably a good system systems thinker. While lateral thinking is more intuitive, and it's more about, for example, recognizing patterns in seemingly random data. So, this is a process that is very important in creativity, because you sometimes have these aha moments these eureka moments. But in the business world, it's frowned upon, because for every decision that's made, people say, ‘show me the signs. Show me the data. Show me the proof.’ And I get why you want to minimize risk and you want to improve profit. I get it. I totally get it. But if somebody just says I had a hunch I had a gut feeling people would laugh at you.”

You talk about using a theatre game to get cancer patients to tell you why they didn’t like a certain drug when the rest of your team just wanted to send out a survey.

“We would have never gotten that answer if we just had sent out a survey. I'm a lateral thinker, and I have a background in neuroscience. So, to me, it's clear that people often don't know why they're doing something. They intuitively make certain decisions.  And so, I convinced my colleagues to go with my theater playing approach. They thought I was completely crazy. But it worked very well. We found the solution. We changed our approach, and it was very helpful.”

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