T80pxtreewo themes collide this week.

The first was a serious look at how to help the boardrooms of businesses ‘get’ the idea that old systems of thinking and planning and ‘managing’ are just that – old. Clever people talk of changing mindsets, of having to think differently. “The past is crumbling and the future isn’t here yet” observed a contributor at one seminar.

Why are boards, in particular, finding it so hard to build cultures that dance well with change?

The second theme nestled within an episode of David Eagleman’s series on neuroscience. Programmes about thinking about thinking; absolutely compelling.

In this episode, a beautifully designed experiment looked at empathy, at how we are able to feel what others feel. An extraordinary finding was that the body leads the process. A viewers face ‘copies’ the expressions of the person being watched. The then – felt sensation drives the empathic response.

This jewel of a finding burst into significance when working with people who had received beauty treatments – botox – that basically freeze groups of facial muscles. You would expect (rightly) that their faces would be hard to read, that it would be hard to understand what they were feeling. But these wrinkle- free individuals were cut off in another way. They were unable to deduce what others were feeling – because their own facial muscles did not move.

There’s a connection here.

The old pattern of removed, elevated, even rarified boardroom conversations is rather like freezing those facial muscles. Nothing can be felt or understood.

I’m going to keep my eyes open for this. Business Botox.

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