Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What It Really Means to Use Your Head

Continuing from our last post, why is using only half your brain the same as leaving money on the table?

Take Responsibility for Convictions Through Awareness

Emotional intelligence as a necessity for adults was a hot topic for a year or so. In fact even accountants have been known to argue that emotional intelligence makes one a better CPA (and in much the same vein as I do -- see the Journal of Accountancy).

Adults and Kids: Is the Height the Only Difference?

Remember what we do for small kids? First we ask them how they feel about something and then ask them to consider the implications from the feeling? By high school, the concept of feeling states is denied in favor of thinking states, as though one could exist without the other? When the hormonal issues rage enough to make even simpler questions difficult?

If culturally we believe emotional reactions are less valuable than intellectual ones, and if we believe that the latter exists without the former, in fact, feeling states become repressed.

We might go into automatic pilot. In any case, we forget that our belief systems are as much emotionally generated as intellectually and find ourselves rationalizing fear of the unknown as intellectually sound business practice. Back to David Firth's technologists.

The only way back to well reasoned decision-making is to acknowledge both what we feel and what we think -- and find the connections between them before acting when (or if) we don't know why.

And So?

Belief systems are complex. We don't come by them entirely intellectually, and it's important to know why things are important to us. Good business decisions -- in terms of technology, hiring, investing, and so on -- are dependent on an awareness of all the factors that go into each choice.

Back to Effective Thinking: Feeling States and Effective Decisions

For one thing, if sustainable curiosity is necessary for ongoing innovation, emotional awareness is essential for both. Curiosity is fed by understanding what turns us on, what drives us to find out more. It's a state fed by an inseparable combination of feelings and intellect.

In fact, awareness of one's own thought processes are essential for all the other disciplines that constitute effective thinking as well.

To discover insight, one must understand the relationship between observation and analysis.

Only by acknowledging personal investments can we see the multiplicity of possibilities. Only by seeing outside our own familiar contexts can we see things new.

And that's good for business.

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