How Your Brain is Letting You Down
Professional athletes know that to create the most consistent and sustainable performance, it's not about big changes to game strategy or mastering new skills or techniques. When it really counts professional athletes get back to basics. That's right, extra time in the batting cage, on the putting green, or at the serve line focused on motion, speed and body alignment are consistently reported by professional athletes as having the most powerful impact on increasing their performance statistics. In fact, a whole new industry has emerged with the development of video technology that records movement and gives real time corrections to body position, body motion, etc. Why? It's simple - over time athletes unconsciously make subtle changes to their form. These changes erode their accuracy. At first, it is only a small variance, but as these changes are repeated over time, they become habit and form into new muscle memory so that the form errors become the new normal.
As a business owner or executive, your success depends on intellectual versus physical skills. As humans, however, our intellectual skills are subject to the same slow and subtle erosion described above. The model below outlines the individual steps that form the mental pathway to information processing, decision making, and ultimately personal action.
Our erosion happens because our brains are designed to fast-track our intellectual processing by skipping steps whenever possible. In practice, this means that we unconsciously use previously formed assumptions, conclusions and beliefs to make sense of new data and that this shortcut becomes self-reinforcing making an individual "blind" to seeing a situation differently. Sometimes, this amazing adaptability of our brain is an advantage, allowing us to "be ahead of the curve" or to seize opportunities. Unfortunately, it cuts both ways. Sometimes it keeps us "stuck in a rut" or prevents us from correctly interpreting market shifts resulting in losses.
As we head into Fourth Quarter, it is an incredibly busy and often stressful time for business owners and executives. Depending on how the current year is shaping up, you may be feeling the pressure to meet your goals and commitments. Additionally, it is time to assess the broader environment and build the game plan for the coming year. Here are some questions to ask yourself: