The Mirror

There is a topic I’ve been meaning to cover for months now but just haven’t tackled it. It is more research based and certainly isn’t Citrix related (yet) but it so interesting that I had to write about it.

Earlier this year I found about Mirror Neurons and when I learned more about the topic, everything just made sense. The great thing about scientific research is that you are bound to hit something good with your persistence. Please take the time to explore the PBS site for Mirror Neurons and watch the video clip. It was first released in early 2005 but because they have done such a good job producing it, it still seems fresh.

This concept of having a section of our brain that empathizes with others actions explains so much. Most learned activities are committed to memory from having seen someone else perform them. The original name of this concept was “Monkey See, Monkey Do”.

The best part about this discovery is that it happened by accident. Researchers were doing brain research on monkeys and accidentally discovered the connection between seeing and doing in these neurons. The best way to describe this phenomenon is that doing and seeing become the same thing in the brain.

Personally I always find it easier to learn from someone doing it that just from words. This is especially true of any detailed instructions of assembly. Most fathers at some point have experienced this and most likely with the construction of either a bike or swing set the night before a birthday or holiday. Words just don’t convey the meaning as well as the sight of someone successfully doing the task.

This empathy is strong even when things go wrong. How many times have you averted your eyes when something bad is about to happen? Sometimes I can’t even watch what happens on TV even though it might be fictional. The mind can’t help but become entrapped in the illusion of being what it sees.

The video clip shows sports fans going absolutely crazy about their teams. This state makes sense once you assume that these people so closely associate with their players that they become the players in their mind.

This is where I try to introduce some Citrix angle to make it more interesting for those Citrix followers out there.

It isn’t so easy to cheer a programmer on, I can confess to saying. It is possible to become a believer in a company’s products and goals. I’ve seen that a number of times. It is always humbling to meet customers that believe so strongly in the Citrix story that they can see no wrong. That is where the pressure comes to try to live up to those expectations.

Knowing how this kind of stuff works, it would be wise for Citrix to build a story that would better resonate with end-users. Many companies use Citrix and many IT staff are full aware of what Citrix does, but most end users aren’t sure what they are using. I’ve heard remarks from family that they think they know people that use Citrix but not completely clear if they are. Usually a few weeks later it is confirmed (most likely from asking someone in IT).

The point is that if you have a good story and are visible to the users, the users will most likely use their “mirror neurons” to not only put themselves into the position of seeing the story of Citrix but also that they will think that they are part of Citrix. I think this is the secret of keeping things simple so that people can better understand and have empathy about your organization. I suspect that Apple understands this well.

They say good leaders don’t dictate. Good leaders do. The people follow by doing the same things. Words have little meaning when you can see what you want to be.

Here’s to the mirror. Let us all see a bit more clearly that which we should be doing.


Live near Brisbane, Australia. Software developer currently focused on iOS and Android. Avid Google Local Guide

Posted in Favourite, Research
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