Understanding the Limits of Cognitive Capacity to Transform how we Work

How limited is our Brain?

How often do we acknowledge how limited our brain is?

Two years ago, the pandemic hit us. We all felt a shock back then. When our brain feels shock then everything locks down and we can’t think. For 2-3 months we didn’t know what to do. We then moved to the pain phase, a psychological pain. This phase lasted for a long time. Now we are trying to move to rehabilitation. We are trying to establish new ways of working.  Our brains are now overloaded and although we would like to deal with every single issue and change everything our brain is not able to do that.

The science says we need to be essential because that is the only thing our brain can handle.

The organizing principle of the brain

The main goal of the brain is to keep us alive. That means it’s constantly scanning for trouble. When we feal threat our cognitive control decreases and the heavier we rely on bias. We become less creative and shortsighted. We can’t help anyone if we are experiencing overwhelming threat. So, we must first manage threat in ourselves if we are leaders to properly motivate the team.

Reacting to a plan change is not the same as reacting to a crisis and that is what we have been dealing with the past few years.

We need to consider the 3 main pillars of neuro leadership.

  1. The limits our brain has for functioning.
  2. Minimizing threat through supporting others through the SCARF model.
  3. Mitigating by highlighting the influence of bias and finding ways to deal with it.

Easier processing predicts how much we like the experience. It is about how easy the information seems so that we can digest the information. About how confident we feel to act. Better processing leads to better work. It’s about presenting things in a way that is easy to understand.

Learn more about Leadership Development in our blogpost.


How easy or hard processing is. The perceptual easy or difficulty with which information is processed. Making things simple and sticky is essential so that people can retain it. High contrast, simple, familiar, short, pronounceable, rhyming. If we remember things, we can change our behaviors.


About how much information we must hold in mind. The brain can be overwhelmed by having too much to process. Quantity, complexity, number of tasks lead to high amounts of information. It’s easier to reconfigure existing knowledge than to process new information. Three pieces of information is the average information is what we can hold at any given time. The strategy is about reducing and chunking and focusing on the essential. It’s about making information visual, simple, breaking concepts into steps and making larger units.


How new information connects to existing knowledge. It’s about structural integrity of ideas. Giving new information based on existing is easier for the new information to stick. Connecting the new with the old makes processing easier. People are only about 27% accurate when they make judgements about how well they understand something. We don’t understand things we think we do. The brain loves novelty, but we don’t retain it easily. We need to create explicit connections to existing knowledge. Relate it to previous solutions.


About how much time we need to process. Processing requires sufficient time. Pausing and digesting is essential to improve processing. Reserve time for complex or abstract information. Allow people to reflect at their own pace. Give short frequent breaks.

If you want to learn more about how to efficiently manage and implement change, contact us or find more information on our site www.jenniekamaradou.com

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