Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 11

SRINI PIL LAY, M.D.

SCIENCE OF
LEARNING

HOW WILL YOU MANAGE
BEHAVIOR CHANGE CHALLENGES
POST COVID-19?
Many people underestimate the
challenges associated with behavior
change after the COVID-19 pandemic.
This change is unprecedented because
the pandemic poses specific challenges.
1. Post-pandemic change activates the
conflict detector in the brain: Change
activates the conflict detector in the brain
- causing cognitive dissonance. Following
the pandemic, this activation will already
be high. Any kind of change will be a
challenge because the brain is uneasy.
For example, you might find it is harder to
get employees to adjust to being part of a
multifunctional team.
The usual reframing - i.e., "Look at this as
an opportunity" - does not work. When
anxiety is reflexive, as it is in a pandemic,
reframing increases amygdala activation
rather than decreases as it does when
anxiety is less instinctual. Remember this
if your people feel disinclined to look on
the bright side.
Try starting meetings with mindfulness or
virtual reality. Both of these techniques
get to the root of anxiety quickly, enabling
change to happen more easily. You should
also talk to your team about purpose. This
activates the brain's reward system and
quells anxiety by increasing your sense
of wellbeing.
Learning leaders should attend
mindfulness trainings, as well as reflection
sessions on meaning and purpose.
2. COVID-19 may make it impossible to
dream up a new future: During a lockdown,
cabin fever may cause fear of the passage

of time - called chronophobia. If also
traumatized by the death of someone
close to you or extreme fear of becoming
ill, the future may seem impossible to
imagine. When you have a "sense of
foreshortened future," there is nothing to
change for. This, combined with stress
turning on your habit pathways, keeps you
stuck in the moment.
To combat this frozen attitude, change
will require constant guidance into a
defined future. Start by assessing what
is blocking possibilities, and then design
an intervention targeting the cause - e.g.,
feeling lost or burnt out. Change is taxing
on the team, so it is important to know
what future you are committed to.

CHANGE WILL REQUIRE
CONSTANT GUIDANCE
INTO A DEFINED
FUTURE.
People who expect to revert to normal will
also be resistant to change. Their brains
may not register any payoffs for change.
Research demonstrates that, under such
circumstances, the left frontal cortex has
to activate much more for change to occur.
This will only happen if the brain buys into
the advantages of change. You may need
to spell this out for people - repeatedly.
Learning leaders should determine the
possible thinking of any given individual
(using a scale like the possibility index).
There should also be resources for people
with post-traumatic stress disorder, such
as mental health screenings to foster a
future-oriented mindset.

3. Resilience may hold you back:
Everyone needs to be resilient. But if
resilience is your goal, change may be
impossible. In the same way a float will not
allow you to surf waves, simply protecting
yourself may cause you to lack flexibility.
Sometimes you need to dance in disorder.
This is a form of change that requires
letting go of traditional forms of control
called antifragility.
Instead of relying on an external means
of control, you turn inward to facilitate
change. Imagination, simulation and
imitation guide you. Test your imagination,
and try out a few scenarios. However, it's
not just about going through the motions.
You must be deeply in your imagination,
and if scenario planning, you must be able
to vividly walk through different situations.
Learning leaders should help leaders
develop imagination biologically, as well
as have an antifragile plan for reintegration
and reinvention.
During and after the pandemic, don't
try to encourage change by simply
spelling out what needs to be done.
Use mindfulness, conversations about
meaning and purpose, possibility thinking,
and imagination to guide yourself and
your team to change.
Dr.
Srini
Pillay
is
the
CEO
of 
NeuroBusiness 
Group. He is also
assistant professor (part-time) at
Harvard Medical School and teaches
in the executive education programs
at Harvard Business School and Duke
CE. Email Srini. 

T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MAGAZ INE - THE APPLICATION OF LE ARNI NG 2 02 0 I WWW. T RAI NINGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE

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https://www.trainingindustry.com/magazine

Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020

Consider Application When Redefining Your Training Programs
Table of Contents
Talent Development's Answer to Upskilling and Reskilling For the Future
How Will You Manage Behavior Change Challenges Post COVID-19?
Line of Sight: The Ultimate Learning Transfer Strategy
Behavior Change Is a Function of Proactive Positioning and Immediate Reinforcement
Aligning Games and Activities to Context to Encourage Action and Lighten the Load
Learn On the Job: A Spaced Learning Approach
Practice Doesn't Make Perfect … Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
Harnessing Informal Learning
The Backbone of the Smart Factory: A Network of Immersive Training
The Learning Transfer Elephant
5 Ways to Maximize Your On-the-Job Training Program
Are Keystone Habits the Magic Bullet for Training Outcomes?
How Vanderbilt University Conquered the Impossible: Affordably Scaling Ultrasound Training
Buyer Beware: Don't Invest in Cross-Cultural Training You Don't Need
Hackathons as a Means to Cultivate a Learning Organization
5 Ways to Improve the Performance of Your Learners
How Discomfort Enables Growth
Enabling Ubiquitous Learning: Cornerstone OnDemand Acquires Saba Software
Company News
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Intro
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 1
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 2
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Consider Application When Redefining Your Training Programs
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 4
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Table of Contents
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 6
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 7
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 8
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Talent Development's Answer to Upskilling and Reskilling For the Future
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 10
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - How Will You Manage Behavior Change Challenges Post COVID-19?
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 12
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Line of Sight: The Ultimate Learning Transfer Strategy
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 14
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Behavior Change Is a Function of Proactive Positioning and Immediate Reinforcement
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Aligning Games and Activities to Context to Encourage Action and Lighten the Load
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 17
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 18
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 19
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Learn On the Job: A Spaced Learning Approach
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 21
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 22
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 23
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Practice Doesn't Make Perfect … Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 25
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 26
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 27
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Harnessing Informal Learning
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 29
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 30
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 31
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - The Backbone of the Smart Factory: A Network of Immersive Training
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 33
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 34
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 35
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - The Learning Transfer Elephant
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 37
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 38
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 39
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 5 Ways to Maximize Your On-the-Job Training Program
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 41
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 42
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 43
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 44
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Are Keystone Habits the Magic Bullet for Training Outcomes?
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 46
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 47
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - How Vanderbilt University Conquered the Impossible: Affordably Scaling Ultrasound Training
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 49
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Buyer Beware: Don't Invest in Cross-Cultural Training You Don't Need
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 51
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 52
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Hackathons as a Means to Cultivate a Learning Organization
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 54
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 5 Ways to Improve the Performance of Your Learners
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 56
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - How Discomfort Enables Growth
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Enabling Ubiquitous Learning: Cornerstone OnDemand Acquires Saba Software
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - Company News
Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2020 - 60
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