Joanna Dodd Massey, Ph.D., MBA has more than 25 years of experience in the media industry at companies, such as Condé Nast, Lionsgate, CBS, Viacom, Discovery and Hasbro. She’s an experienced C-level communications executive and Board Director. Joanna has managed brand reputation, corporate turnaround, crisis communications, culture transformation, and multi-million-dollar P&Ls. She’s the author of two books, "Culture Shock: Surviving Five Generations In One Workplace" and "Communicating During a Crisis: Influencing Others When the Stakes are High"

Top 3 Takeaways

  • Our brains are wired to detect threats in our environment—whether those threats are real or imagined.
  • When your brain switches into threat mode, it begins to shut down executive functioning—the part of the brain responsible for rational decision making and strategic thinking.
  • During times of change, you may get better results as a leader if you can understand what’s naturally happening inside the brains of those affected by the change—be empathetic and avoid making change more difficult by pushing your followers too hard or moving too quickly.

From the Source

“When we are in what's called an amygdala hijack which is basically when the amygdala is in charge, it is incumbent on the company, on the leader, on the manager, on the boss to dialogue with employees in a way that is going to get them out of the fear place where the amygdala is running the show and back into the rational mind so that they can look at it more rationally and not from fear and stress and upset.”

“Human beings have a very predictable response to change, and what's even more predictable is the type of change that will trigger them.”

“The one guarantee in life is change, and yet human beings are hardwired to resist change. We gravitate to that which is comfortable and familiar and similar to us, and we reject that which is different  and makes us uncomfortable.“

Connect with Joanna


Book: Culture Shock: Surviving Five Generations in One Workplace

Book: Communicating During a Crisis: Influencing Others When the Stakes Are High