S02Ep05 – The Elephant in the (Board)room

Paul Smith

In this episode of Boardroom Hustle, co-hosts Paul Smith and Anna Byrne flip the script and interview Anna herself, to discuss her fascination with decisioning – the cognitive process we undergo with every single choice we make. But how much of this process is subconscious? Are we really making decisions (in the boardroom and in life) based on new information, or are we merely running on autopilot? And could technology possibly replace decision-making for us? Understanding this intricate process is key in unlocking higher cognition, which can lead to making better choices and, ultimately, creating a greater impact in what we do.

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Anna has an avid interest in cognitive neuroscience, and she takes us on an interesting journey in which she explains the importance of “training an elephant” to cultivate clearer decisioning. Anna developed a love of neuroscience at a young age, thanks to her mother’s psychiatric career path, and she has such an easy, natural way of explaining tricky subjects – like the mechanics of the brain – that just about anyone can understand. So, if you’re eager to hear more about this elephant and peek behind the curtain to see how we make decisions, as well as how you can apply certain tricks and tips to your own cognitive thinking to create the best possible outcome for your life, and how you can improve your board through doing so, give the episode a listen.

You’ll also dive deep into the following:

  • Decisioning, the cognitive process that leads us to choose the things we choose
  • Why we can lose up to 75 percent of our cognitive functioning if we try to avoid how we’re really feeling
  • The positive and negative impacts that technology can potentially have on human-based decision making
  • How we can use technology to enhance, rather than replace, our humanness
  • Why we need to understand the complex, fascinating process of decisioning, and how we can use it to our advantage
  • The three lenses we use to view decision-making
  • Common problems that are often seen in small groups of powerful people (and what you can do to solve them!)
  • The danger in constantly referring back to habitual perspectives
  • How our brains are controlled by two systems that have very different approaches to problem-solving
  • Changing your narrative so you can take on a brand new perspective
  • Wasting valuable bandwidth with emotional reactions, and how we can get more time by taking control of our decisioning

Top 3 Action Items

  1. Label your emotions and experiences. Be specific about what your elephant is feeling, so you can get your rider to focus on that and relieve the pressure that comes with experiencing that feeling.
  2. Physical movement can be a great way to bring your mind inwards and reflect on how you’re feeling and change your approach if you need to.
  3. Traditional techniques such as meditation and mindfulness are hugely effective in strengthening your rider’s grip on the reigns, and can help you build a sense of equanimity and balance.

If there are topics that you’re particularly interested in or any new buzzwords floating around, we’d love to hear from you so that we can talk about these ideas on the show. Email Paul at psmith@futuredirectors.com or Anna at anna.byrne@neuropowergroup.com.

Future Directors Website: https://futuredirectors.com/
NeuroPower Group Website: http://www.neuropowergroup.com/
Paul Smith LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/futurepaulsmith/
Anna Byrne LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-byrne-13901262/