Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People


10 thoughts on “Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do

  1. Erika RS Erika RS says:

    There are books that make me wish that pamphlets were a viable publication medium This book has excellent content which anyone involved in leading or motivating people should be aware of However, even at 170 pages of not dense text, it felt longer than it needed to be Since this is a common failing of the business book genre, I am rating the modelthan the book Thus, expectlike 2 3 star read but great ideas.This book discusses motivation in the workplace It covers the same terri There are books that make me wish that pamphlets were a viable publication medium This book has excellent content which anyone involved in leading or motivating people should be aware of However, even at 170 pages of not dense text, it felt longer than it needed to be Since this is a common failing of the business book genre, I am rating the modelthan the book Thus, expectlike 2 3 star read but great ideas.This book discusses motivation in the workplace It covers the same territory as Daniel Pink s Drive, but in a framework that feelsactionable The models are similar enough that it is worth comparing them directly caveat I haven t read Drive in a while, so I m going off of memory here Drive models intrinsic motivation in terms of autonomy, mastery, and purpose Alive at Work focuses on self expression, experimentation, and purpose I ll go into how Cable defines thosein a moment These two models are not dissimilar You can even squint and look at these aspects as being really the same, although I think it s a stretch Autonomy covers the freedom aspects of experimentation and self expression Mastery covers the depth that comes from learning through experimentation and utilizing your personal strengths However, I think it suseful to look at autonomy, mastery, self expression, experimentation, and purpose all as ways to activate what Cable calls the seeking system Humans are intensely motivated to explore, learn, do important things, and be curious We find this sort of behavior intrinsically rewarding Both the Drive model and the Alive at Work model are about ways of activating people s seeking system Activating the seeking system makes people happier andcreative That s the real goal Thus, my preference for the Alive at Work model is mainly because it feelsactionable in the workplace Why should leaders care about motivating employees There s the ethical reason and the business reason We ll start with the business reason In a factory based job, motivation was less important than predictability However, asemployees focus on problem solving, businesses need solutions that are creative and exploratory They need the exact sort of thinking that comes along with an activated seeking system.More importantly is that people are happier and healthier when their seeking systems are activated We spend a huge fraction of our lives at work, and as leaders, we should care about the human impact of the choices we make People are not cogs in a machine They are living breathing individuals much of whose happiness depends on the workplace As leaders, we have an ethical duty to create environments that are beneficial to the wellbeing of those who spend time there Helping people love what they do is a way to fulfill that ethical duty Yet, at the end of the day, businesses exist to accomplish some mission Thus, we cannot give people free reign to go wherever their seeking system points them This is one of the challenges with autonomy as a top level goal The job of a leader is to provide a frame within which people have freedom The frame provides boundaries, and it points toward goals It is an oft repeated piece of advice that constraints can help prod creativity The goal of leaders should be to provide the useful constraints that will allow people to work creatively toward a goal without getting too scattered by all of the possible directions we could go.Three ways of activating the seeking system are to give people opportunities for authentic self expression, provide room to experiment, and give people a clear sense of purpose.Self expression is how Cable describes the strengths based perspective on self development For those unfamiliar, strength based development is based on the idea that once you are above some minimum required for basic competency, improving your weaknesses is less valuable than learning how to better utilize your strengths No one is strong at everything, so utilizing strengths allows you to find areas where you can really shine rather than being average on everything From the perspective of work satisfaction, strengths have a separate advantage we tend to find using our strengths to be energizing To get people to utilize their strengths at work, they first have to spend time discovering their strengths through reflection and asking peers Assessments such as this one can also help although they are not necessary.The most fundamental way to encourage self expression via strengths is to help people modify their role to let them utilize their strengthsThis doesn t mean allowing people to do a job that isn t their job although sometimes it may be a role change they need Rather, it means acknowledging the breadth that most roles and the way that people complement each other in a team to find ways for people to better utilize their strengths Strengths become evenpowerful when they are shared, not private This can be accomplished through fun changes like encouraging self reflective titles mine is Solution Synthesizer It can also be accomplished through discussion of people s roles and strengths One important note Cable talks about the importance of self expression when it comes to diversity The research on diversity both claims that diverse teams do better and that they do worse What this difference depends on is whether or not a team is able to utilize the different perspectives and life experiences of the group If members of a team do not feel like they can express themselves on their team, then diversity causes worse performance because of an increase in friction and resorting to least common denominator norms i.e., people become afraid of saying the wrong things But if a team can openly share their perspectives and build an understanding of each other s strengths, then diversity can be a boon because the team will bringto the table leading tocreativity and better outcomes.The second way to activate the seeking system is through encouraging experimentation People learn better when they can experiment when they can try new things without worrying that failure will cause serious consequences such as losing a job Experimentation here does not mean a framework for trying N different things What experimentation means in this context is allowing people to play, to have fun, to do things without knowing how they will turn out This is not fun as a glossy coating on top of an otherwise fear inducing situation Rather, what helps activate the seeking system is to deeply integrate play into the process of change Contrast this with the fairly common way of introducing change through rules and processes Such rigid systems are not very fun and they create their own fears over compliance failures.One way to allow experimentation is to give people opportunities to work on passion projects that are aligned with the broader goals of the business However, companies need to take caution here Forced participation or too much overhead can suck the fun out of these sorts of experiments quickly Another risk is that events like these will seem fake unless there is some chance of the outputs of the process becoming real Not everything needs to become real, but there needs to be a path to doing so with understandable, transparent criteria for what will make the cut.Although it is only somewhat related, the section on experimentation ends with a good discussion of what it means to be a humble leader The connection to self expression is that a humble leader gives people space to have ideas and experiment But it goes beyond that Humble leaders see their role as acting in service to their employees This has repercussions across the dimensions of self expression, experimentation, and purpose The third area for helping people feel alive at work is to inspire a sense of purpose What I like about Cable s perspective is that meaning is a narrative we each tell ourselves This has several consequences First is that meaning is personal A leader can set up situations to help people discover meaning e.g., meeting with customers but individuals themselves have to discover the meaning that is motivating for them Second, purpose does not need to be some grand pursuit A grand pursuit can be meaningless if you cannot connect it to what you do Just as importantly, a pursuit that seems minor in the big scheme of things can be meaningful if you understand how what you do has a positive influence on others One example of this is that some people find meaning in helping their teammates even if they work in a boring industry Finally, purpose is a narrative we can craft intentionally It requires thinking about your own values and how those values connect to what you do We can choose a higher level, positive purpose and choose to structure our work around that Doing this doesn t just help motivation on the job It can help make your whole life better


  2. Tomas Ramanauskas Tomas Ramanauskas says:

    This slight book is built on a theory that activated seeking systems are crucial for our happiness at work It yo yos around it for 150 pages, reminding that a great article might not make a great book Blinkist was invented for books like this one.


  3. Mark Blanchard Mark Blanchard says:

    A good analysis of the actual processes that can produce meaningful engagement with our work Written primarily for organizational leaders, this book outlines how to promote neural activity by tapping into the individual s responses to opportunities for self expression and a deep understanding of the purpose of the work Supported by several corporate examples described in an easy narrative style, the author demonstrates both theory and practical application Probably a bit longer than it needed A good analysis of the actual processes that can produce meaningful engagement with our work Written primarily for organizational leaders, this book outlines how to promote neural activity by tapping into the individual s responses to opportunities for self expression and a deep understanding of the purpose of the work Supported by several corporate examples described in an easy narrative style, the author demonstrates both theory and practical application Probably a bit longer than it needed to be and a bit short on application examples for those leading smaller organizations Most of the stories were of significantly large entities Regardless, the book has something for all leaders seeking to better support the most important resource we have


  4. John Stepper John Stepper says:

    Though it s a simple, fairly short read, the book delivers a compelling and compressive view of what it takes to feel alive at work The research notes alone are worth four stars.


  5. Moh Moh says:

    Excellent guide on how to improve employee engagement in a sustainable mannerAs a people manager, I think about employee engagement all the time It s something that s on my mind a lotthan delivering results As such, I decided to read this book after it was recommended to me by a colleague.This book does a great job of breaking down the engagement problem into a simple lifecycle that ties self expression , experimentation , purpose and seeking self It does a great job at elaboratin Excellent guide on how to improve employee engagement in a sustainable mannerAs a people manager, I think about employee engagement all the time It s something that s on my mind a lotthan delivering results As such, I decided to read this book after it was recommended to me by a colleague.This book does a great job of breaking down the engagement problem into a simple lifecycle that ties self expression , experimentation , purpose and seeking self It does a great job at elaborating on each of the concepts above with real and relatable examples, and always tying them back together throughout the book I also appreciated the use of scientific evidence and research when arguing certain matters.In summary, the book talks about how it is important to let employees express themselves freely and give them space to experiment Moreover, helping employees discover purpose, by interacting with their customers, leaves a long lasting impact on their productivity and overall satisfaction.My only criticism of the book was that the anecdotes, while helpful, were often very long and unnecessarily detailed Shorter anecdotes would have helped me finish the book much faster


  6. Stan Stan says:

    Alive at Work don t we all wish we were Cable has given us a very accessible presentation of research on neuroscience and how it applies to employee engagement in the workplace This is the first book of this kind that I have read It was a breath of fresh air.As a supervisor, there are several take aways that I will be putting into practice The main question I m asking those I supervise is what they need from me to do their jobs well Their own answers are not always the things I see That i Alive at Work don t we all wish we were Cable has given us a very accessible presentation of research on neuroscience and how it applies to employee engagement in the workplace This is the first book of this kind that I have read It was a breath of fresh air.As a supervisor, there are several take aways that I will be putting into practice The main question I m asking those I supervise is what they need from me to do their jobs well Their own answers are not always the things I see That is important to know.The book offers several points that I won t go into here, but are worth your time to dig in a discover It is not a long book Some thought it should have been shorter Personally, I was surprised it ended when it did Every point is shown through the experiences the author has had in the real world too This is not theory in the abstract this is theory applied Definitely the kind of book you want to be learning from.On a personal note, I thought there wasmention of human evolution than was necessary Whether one believes in evolution or intelligent design, neuroscience is neuroscience Beating one worldview drum over the other is not necessary.Anyway, grab a copy of this book, give it a read, and enjoy


  7. Natalie S Natalie S says:

    A lot of people proudly proclaim that they work to live and not live to work Daniel M Cable is a social psychologist and professor of organisational behaviour at the London Business School and he has seen this kind of thing in practice There are an alarming number of people who claim to be completely disengaged from their work In Alive at Work The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do, Cable explores this phenomenon and presents some possible ways that we may rectify this is A lot of people proudly proclaim that they work to live and not live to work Daniel M Cable is a social psychologist and professor of organisational behaviour at the London Business School and he has seen this kind of thing in practice There are an alarming number of people who claim to be completely disengaged from their work In Alive at Work The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do, Cable explores this phenomenon and presents some possible ways that we may rectify this issue This book is an informative and important look at human psychology and behaviour.To read the rest of this review please visit


  8. Rishat Muhametshin Rishat Muhametshin says:

    A very light read that is lacking a consistent storyline, except for the mantra activate the seeking system The book presents a couple studies and supplies them with unscientific factoids like when people fulfill their purpose, it gives meaning to their lives not an exact quote, but you get the point , and overall the material is pretty shallow Alive at Work could be potentially recommended to first time senior managers or those who re just starting out in consulting, in my opinion, and A very light read that is lacking a consistent storyline, except for the mantra activate the seeking system The book presents a couple studies and supplies them with unscientific factoids like when people fulfill their purpose, it gives meaning to their lives not an exact quote, but you get the point , and overall the material is pretty shallow Alive at Work could be potentially recommended to first time senior managers or those who re just starting out in consulting, in my opinion, and that s probably it


  9. Ben Shee Ben Shee says:

    Pop science organisational behavior is one of my favourite genres The idea of experimenting, havingplay, having a purpose at work these are all things I m attracted to but I ve always wondered if it s all wishful thinking from the perspective of an employee I would still recommend many of the things in this book they resonate in the same way Google s Work Rules book did I d like to see some of these principles in practice in my workplace.


  10. Liam Tran Liam Tran says:

    An interesting book of short stories about how managers activate what is known as the seeking system in their employees The seeking system is basically a neuroscience term describing the state of pleasure and curiosity generated when we do certain work I cannot stop relating this to some moments happening to me in the past when I was as if hypnotized by an unknown force and ended up spending several hours working designing a website, making a logo or drafting a story without any awareness An interesting book of short stories about how managers activate what is known as the seeking system in their employees The seeking system is basically a neuroscience term describing the state of pleasure and curiosity generated when we do certain work I cannot stop relating this to some moments happening to me in the past when I was as if hypnotized by an unknown force and ended up spending several hours working designing a website, making a logo or drafting a story without any awareness of time..Even though the book is managers oriented, I think it is helpful reflecting on how our brain works and apply the knowledge to self trigger our own seeking system


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do [Download] ➺ Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do By Daniel M. Cable – Buyprobolan50.co.uk BRAND NEW, Exactly same ISBN as listed, Please double check ISBN carefully before ordering BRAND NEW, Exactly same ISBN as Work: The PDF ´ listed, Please double check ISBN carefully before ordering.

  • Hardcover
  • 256 pages
  • Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do
  • Daniel M. Cable
  • 12 February 2019
  • 1633694259

About the Author: Daniel M. Cable

Dan Cable is Professor of Organisational Work: The PDF ´ Behaviour at London Business SchoolHis research and teaching focus on employee engagement, change, organizational culture, leadership mindset and the linkage between brands and employee behaviors Dan was selected for the Thinkers Radar List, the Academy of Management has twice honored him with Best Article awards and Academy of Management Perspectives ranked Dan in the Top Alive at PDF or Most Influential Management ScholarsDan is also a founding partner at Essentic, an organization dedicated to helping people discover their potential and enabling organisations to offer truly personalised fulfilment in the workplace Essentic assessments offer individuals evidence of their distinctive strengths and the moments when they have the greatest impact on people close to them colleagues, family and friendsDan s newest book, Alive at Work: The MOBI ò at Work, will appear in March through Harvard Business School Press Dan s first book was Change to Strange and he has also published two edited books andthan articles in top scientific journals His most recent research was published in Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Academy of Management Journal and Administrative Science Quarterly This research has been featured in The Economist, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, The New York Times and Business WeekDan has worked with a broad range of organizations from high tech startups to the World Economic Forum His recent clients include Carlsberg, Coca Cola, Est e Lauder, EY, HSBC, IKEA, McDonalds, MS Amlin, Prudential, PwC, Rabobank, Roche, Sanofi, Siemens and Twitter.