Monday, August 6, 2012

Sleep On It

When faced with the decision to capture Osama bin Laden. President Barack Obama decided to ‘sleep on it’ before authorizing the raid that would eventually see the death of Al Qaida’s terrorist leader.

Most of us won’t make such huge calls in our lifetimes, but research from Harvard Business School suggests that when faced with complex decisions, letting the unconscious take over isn’t such a bad thing.

The conscious mind is great when you need to play within certain rules. For example, you are told to buy a car that is below $30K. On the other hand, the unconscious is good for more complex issues. You need to find a car that suits your lifestyle, which your husband will like and that is fuel efficient, so you school yourself in the facts and then put the decision off to tomorrow.

Every day, executives face challenges that can be solved with a little creativity. Often you are dealing with complex personalities and factors beyond your control, but the buck stops with you and something needs to be done/said. Taking time out to go to the gym, or listen to music - or just doing something that is completely unrelated - gets the unconscious working.

Thanks to Pedro Simko, Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland, for the article. It works for me.

1 comment:

Bruce Nicol said...

Kevin, I mentioned this approach to you some years ago. You were kind enough to reply, but still we do not explore, or practice this enough.
In NZ we are so far behind the most recent human technology, in even the most basic ways of negotiating, or dealing with low-level conflict in our productive sectors to increase our wealth and well being.
My approach was in the Financial Times, six years ago, in relation to classes I took for VUW's MBA courses.
I reckon we need an institute of Authentic Leadership, like our High Performance for Sport, giving anyone the skills to be that imaginative person to sell NZ products and to be more mature in our productivity.
We can see it in sport, but need to give more people the chance to fulfill their authentic potential, with fun and creativity in the workplace.
Most of our best have gone overseas, and those left behind enjoy shaming and blaming, wasting huge amounts of energy, when it would be so easy to turn that around.
Kindest regards
Bruce Nicol