Unlocking Balance In Decision-Making
Heart over Head- Recognising Emotion in Decision Making: Rebecca Stephens MBE at TEDxSPS [Source:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNFJ3Zhy0Z4]
It's strategic planning time, ladies and gentlemen. So put on your decision-making caps.
As long as many of us can remember, corporate strategy has been all about decision-making of a rational, structured nature. We crowd into a room with a whiteboard and chart out where we want the organization to go. This activity is as old as the hills. It's not to be confused by a parallel development in the corporate world - the creative brainstorming session. Whether we're aware of it or not, we wear a different cap for this process.
Is it possible to put on the two caps at once? What I mean by this question is if we're able to make decisions that combine the tried and true structure of rational thought with intuition. There's a new school of thought that says business leaders are at their best if they can use both parts of their brain at once - the conscious half that governs rational thought and the subconscious, where we make our gut decisions.
Easier said than done, right? The sheer act of consciously balancing your decision-making process suggests you're allowing the rational, structured side to dominate. There's a trick to letting the subconscious mind work its wonders as well, say neuroscientists. And that's by giving your brain a well-deserved vacation.
Have you ever faced a momentous decision in your professional or personal life? Maybe it was deciding on which house to buy, or whether to hire someone to fill a significant position within your company. Many of us have approached such a decision by "sleeping on it." Delaying a major decision so that your subconscious mind can analyze the pros and cons of a situation can help you make a far better assessment.
Scientists and management gurus alike say that the part of the brain that governs subconscious thought has a far greater capacity to process information. One expert I read about likens the brain to an iceberg. The conscious part of your decision-making is above the water line. It's impressive enough. But below the water lies a far bigger chunk of decision-making power.
By combining these two capacities you're getting the whole iceberg, as it were. You start out by making a careful, rational analysis of the situation and then follow it up with a short break to let your creative juices flow. This method of decision-making might not be earth shattering. But it does play on a relatively recent school of research known as the "new consciousness." I find it interesting that management theorists are as taken by this new research as psychologists are.
Every big enterprise has its own core set of management principles. Some Silicon Valley firms focus on innovation. Industrial companies try to stick to productivity measures and quality control. Whatever the industry or sector, executives are taking a fresh look at those corporate principles. They're aware of the "new consciousness" area of research and its focus on the interconnected and complementary nature of all parts of the brain.
So the next time your colleagues finish writing on the whiteboard and declare that it's time for your committee to make a decision, suggest that everyone reconvene the meeting after a 10-minute break for coffee. Don't force big company decisions.
Without even being aware of it, you and your colleagues will be continuing to bat about the elements of strategic analysis in your subconscious minds. Once that part of your brain is allowed to take a swing at the issues at hand, your decision-making will be of a higher quality than had you not taken a short respite.