“The Power of Thinking Without Thinking”
Most of us would agree that good decisions are made with good
data and lots of time to consider it.
just finished Blink1 by Malcolm Gladwell where I learned the
term “thin slicing.” Thin slicing is when we train
ourselves to make decisions from our “adaptive unconscious,” the
part of our brain that tells also us to jump out of the way of
a moving truck. The amazing revelations in this book are how we
trust and then sometimes disregard our own “adaptive unconscious,” and
how we can teach instinctive reactions.
In this book, Gladwell explains that we should pay attention to
our instantaneous impressions and conclusions because decisions
made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously
for example, is demonstrated by medical malpractice suits. Even
when simultaneous medical information and medication
were shared between patient and doctor, the study revealed that
50% of the doctors were never sued and the other half had been
sued at least twice. Those who had never been sued spent only three
minutes longer with each patient than those who were sued (18.3
minutes vs. 15 minutes). “The difference was entirely in
how they talked to their patients.”
First impressions are powerful; therefore, our
first impressions can be educated and controlled. Gladwell cautions that several
factors, such as height, weight, hair color and style, age, and
gender can derail our judgment. This theory can be applied to hiring
practices. Even though each company has slightly different hiring
practices, employees are often hired based on first impressions.
As an example, orchestras were typically dominated by white
men. In the summer of 1980, the Munich Orchestra changed its
audition practices to “blind auditions.” By changing
their audition processes, they realized that “blind auditions” helps
judges to fairly assess each musician on their performance and
talent without being distracted by other factors. Not only have
more women and minorities gotten into top orchestras, but the
music is better.
Blink is a fascinating read that offers a lot of thought-provoking
insights. I suggest you grab this one!
Director, Business Institute
The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell, Little,
Brown and Company, New York 2005
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