Standard techniques from the fields of self-help and salesmanship, repackaged as neuroscience and presented as a method to build effective teams.
Business consultant Comaford (Rules for Renegades: How to Make More Money, Rock Your Career and Revel in Your Individuality, 2007) claims to offer a way to grow businesses into their next phase of activity by focusing on what she calls the brain's “smart state,” rather than its opposing “critter state.” These states are derived from her view of the functions of different physical parts of the brain, brain stem/reptilian part, mammalian limbic system and neocortex. The prefrontal cortex, where “everyone from quantum physicists to voodoo doctors knows there is a huge untapped potential,” is responsible for advanced behaviors. From these divisions, Comaford proceeds to discuss how to mobilize the powers of the smart state to take advantage of inflection points that arise in the course of a business' development. Like the exponents of sales and closing techniques marketed in real estate, the author offers herself as “your scout and your coach, not your professor.” Her emphasis is on the practical, and she concludes each section with a wrap-up, featuring action points and expected returns—but little substantiation for her claims. Meanwhile, such techniques as “mirroring” and “matching,” which involve copying physical movements and postures of others, adopting their tones of voice and inflection, and inferring personality types from word use, are neither new nor related to neuroscience but rather are established parts of a salesman’s repertoire. Not surprisingly, creating more effective marketing and sales messages is one of the projected results of adopting these techniques, along with closing deals faster.
Comaford has experienced undeniable success in the business world, but she fails to adequately translate her methods into a compelling narrative.