Dr. Brynn Winegard is an award-winning professor, speaker, and expert. Brynn completed her formal education in Neuroscience, Psychology, Marketing and Strategy (HSBc, MBA, PhD), coupled with over a decade in corporate marketing working for Pfizer Inc., Nestle Inc., and Johnson & Johnson Inc.
Professor Winegard retains positions at Faculty in the Schulich School of Business, DeGroote School of Business, and University of Guelph. She has also dedicated herself to helping others through speaking about ‘Building Better Business Brains’ to groups, organizations and companies. Utilising her research, which combines business and neuroscience, to help organisations improve productivity and ultimately, the bottom line.
Dr Winegard has an interesting story, in that she is somewhat a pioneer in merging the world of neuroscience and business. She graduated in neuroscience and wanted to merge what she had learned with business, so she completed an MBA. Her next move made people think she’d lost it, when she proceeded to integrate the two in a PhD.
The PhD talk occurred in the early 2000’s, so you can see why we consider her a pioneer. She proceeded to work and study full-time, which is no mean feat. At one point, it became too much to juggle so she focused on her research, eventually becoming a professor.
Continuing on this path, she noticed she was getting requests to consult businesses and organisations on how to manage employees, clients and utilise neuro-marketing strategies to improve business outcomes. With time, she made this into a full-fledged consultancy and set out on the entrepreneurial path.
Accommodating Increasingly Demanding Consumers
Dr Brynn quoted the famous Henry Ford, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”, referring to the fact that you can’t always put the consumers’ wants at the forefront of your product or your idea. Therefore, solely focusing on the consumer may work well, but eventually you will end up behind the eight ball.
A noticeable trend that she highlights, is the death of outbound sales and the rise of inbound sales. Outbound sales involves broadcasting or outcasting content onto an audience whether they want it or not. Consumers are now being turned away by such methods, due to the lack of interest in some cases.
Inbound sales is much more effective as it allows them to explore things that are of interest and minimises noise. Hence, majority of the material they receive is of interest and they are more likely to engage with it.
Dr Winegard makes an excellent point about customers, especially relevant to our modern day climate, ‘if we offend a consumer’s sensibility around personal agency and freedom of choice, we’ve offended a customer for life.’ Nonetheless, she mentions that this is not to be viewed as a negative. It is a positive that customers are being more specific, making it easier to give them what they want and catering for their needs.
Employees in the Modern Workplace
There is a difference between the way employees of yester-year and those of today perceive their workplaces. Previously, employees were happy to go to work purely on the basis of remuneration. They didn’t seek things such as fulfillment, intrinsic value or purpose from their employment.
On the contrary, employees of today like to see employment as the reason they wake up in the morning and preserve a sense of personal agency. It makes things difficult when it comes to employment, because they’re no longer just looking for a pay packet. They are also seeking work that is fulfilling and inspires them to work towards a purpose-driven goal.
On the flip-side, it’s great because if you find a candidate that is intrinsically motivated to do their work and wants to be there, it’s the holy grail. Companies need to adapt from providing a comfortable environment at work, to making a workplace meaningful for employees and a means of pursuing their purpose. This makes for more invested and engaged employees, leading to higher likelihood of meaningful contribution.
It is without a doubt that changing workplace environments is difficult. In fact, neuroscience tells us this is due to the reinforcement of certain neural pathways when we become familiar with something. Therefore making new connections is difficult and resisted.
This new breed of employees has allowed companies better economies of scale, as it has meant people are happier to settle for less if they feel intrinsic value in their employment. It used to be considered in addition to monetary compensation, however in many cases today it is incorporated into the pay packet.
Perseverance is the key. Whatever is worth doing, it’s worth doing well and whatever is worth starting, is worth finishing. This taps into the ability to see beyond the current difficulty you are experiencing, keep your vision in mind and stick with it till the very end.
It is also important to have a base level of enthusiasm. Passion helps give meaning to your work and allows you to be more productive. Also helps get you through those times where you just want to throw in the towel. If you are in-charge, this is especially important as the human brain designed to mimic other human brains around it.
You’re not that susceptible to what someone says, but more what they do and even more so how they feel. Remember to put one foot in front of the other and look for progress even if it seems insignificant.
We thank Dr Winegard for her wonderful insights into the human and organisational brain and for helping build our business brains. ??
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