Friday, September 24, 2021
This week, my six-year-old MacBook Air died. Strange vertical lines began forming on the screen this past Sunday that progressively overtook the display as the week progressed. When the situation finally became unworkable, I made an appointment at the Genius Bar to diagnose the problem. Learning that the display needed to be replaced, at a cost roughly equal to half that of a new machine, it became decision time. Having already made one life-extending call of similar magnitude in my Mac’s past, the choice to do it again weighed heavily upon me.
I loved my Mac. I’d circumvented the earth with that machine, written a book on that machine and solved my version of the world’s problems using that machine. It was truly a part of my life. The thought of having to switch to a new machine seemed unthinkable to me – in part because of the inconvenience of it all, but moreover because of the simple, but profound, attachment I had for the old one. But after thinking things through, with a purposeful voiding of any emotion, I came to the conclusion that a newer, faster, more capable machine was a far better decision than dumping another $500+ into my old one.
As I sat there at the Genius Bar coming to terms with the fact that life with my old Mac had just drawn to a close, it occurred to me that my computer decision wasn’t all that unique. Every day of our lives presents us with choices, and the best ones are always those we make with the least amount of emotion.
And that’s the point for the week.
Emotion can be a good thing. It impassions. It motivates. It inspires. Of course, used improperly it can also tear down, frighten and create barriers. But positive emotion expressed in the furtherance of human relationships and organizational progress is almost never wrong. It’s when emotion of any kind starts to creep into the process of decision-making that things can go awry.
Emotion can cloud judgement. It can, like with my Mac, cause one to cling to a suboptimal solution, an unhealthy alternative or an ineffective resource for far too long. It can create blind spots around, over or under which we are unable to see either opportunities or threats. Emotion can create false feelings of stability. It can cause us to postpone actions we know need to be taken and which are likely already past due.
But when we park our emotions at the doorway of each decision, we will decide with greater clarity, improved judgment and unmolested analysis. As a result, we will make better decisions and we will make them more quickly. Too, we will develop more trust-filled relationships with those around us who will learn that we can be counted on to decide issues on their merits unbiased by feelings or human attachments. And with trust comes engagement, commitment and improved business results.
By detaching emotion from organizational decision making, caring leaders implicitly reinforce the value of purpose-driven behavior that is aligned with team goals which, when achieved, result not only in improved lives for everyone in the building but great enthusiasm for the work of the whole.
And therein lies the paradox of it all: when emotion is disappears from where it doesn’t belong, it shows up by the armload right where it should be – like in the ear-to-ear grin that develops the moment you realize that your new machine enables you to accomplish more in less time than the one you almost wasted $500 fixing.
So, remove emotion from decision making.
To pre-order Phillip Kane’s new book, please follow this link: https://www.amazon.com/Not-Subtle-Art-Caring-Leadership/dp/1789049083/ref=sr_1_2?crid=QUDAF27WXC5G&dchild=1&keywords=the+not+so+subtle+art+of+caring+book&qid=1631587703&s=books&sr=1-2
To learn more about the author, click Day Job