Chapter 6

What Are We Waiting For?

Applied Science at Work

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

—Marie Curie

So much research has been done in the social sciences, psychology, and neuroscience that a strong understanding exists of the human factors that yield improved knowledge worker performance. At the moment, most of the research remains “pure science” because it has not been applied. Now is the time to embrace this human understanding and magnify our results, to unlock greatly improved returns on talent. Much remains to be learned, and, like all science, our understanding continues to evolve. But today a wealth of research provides a strong scientific basis for the practices I have successfully used to transform information technology (IT) across companies. I have no doubt that a prosocial and caring social environment is the most productive crucible for deep collaboration and great outcomes.

As one studies the academic research, the mystery of knowledge worker productivity quickly unravels. When the shared emotional needs that underpin collaboration are fully unlocked by authentic, prosocial leaders, who focus on the needs of their producers instead of their own, anything can happen. Every organization can benefit from more empathy, caring, trust, and a positive vibe. The warm glow of success can belong to every company. In this chapter, we review some of the relevant findings, although ...

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