Your team needs to be informed

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Your team needs to be informed. That’s what I try and share in my rambling thoughts in other articles. But sometimes, how they think about the information they are provided with can physically and mentally affect them and their performance.

The placebo effect, or placebo response, has been known for years. A placebo is a treatment that has no active ingredients–no logical reason to have any effect, a sugar pill. The placebo effect is when this inactive treatment provides active results. For instance, placebo has helped alleviate pain, lower blood pressure; and even recently I discussed Alzheimer’s and the perceived value of treatment.

When patients in a recent medical survey were informed that their treatment cost $2000 dollars a shot, their ability to control their movements improved twice as much as when they were told it cost only $130.  Says an editorial in the journal Neurology, which published the study:  ‘This takes the study of a placebo effect to a whole new dimension’

That’s why the best medical studies compare the active treatment to placebo (placebo-controlled).

It can happen to anyone, as a leader I see it frequently. If someone thinks a process or change will cause an effect, it can and probably will, worse perceive affect is suddenly exagerated, the team are actively looking for it.

There are innumerable studies, some showing actually physiological changes in the body–the power of positive thinking, mind over matter.

But what happens when the opposite effect occurs?

When adverse symptoms are the result of an inactive treatment, it’s called the nocebo effect. Just read the full disclosure disclaimer found in a non-branded pack of Paracetamol! Or perhaps don’t.  You’ll never pop a pill again!

‘Side effects that can happen when you take the drug are listed, along with side effects of people in studies who took the placebo’

e.g.  ‘drowsiness occurs in 20 percent of people taking this treatment,  19 percent of those on placebo.  Really?  So the drug causes drowsiness in only 1 percent? Or does it?

The drowsiness is real to all, or most.

What you tell your team is real

If we go out of our way to tell our teams the possible, side effects and risks of change, we’re in danger of triggering that nocebo. 

Your team needs to be informed but what you tell them can have a self-fulfilling effect!  Real or not.

Makes you think!

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