Psychology in Practice: Train your brain to make better decisions

@Gabriel Rodriguez

Forward-thinking universities are already taking responsibility for the new context in which psychology in practice produces better decision makers who are more valuable to companies. According to Kenneth Freeman, Dean of the Boston University School of Management, business advantage today is achieved by those organizations which have built teams of engaged people who both think and perform better. With knowledge and innovation knowing no borders, this is precisely the new competitive advantage that informs many companies’ recruitment processes. Just as important as the technical know-how behind a start-up is the confidence to be able to build and lead its workforce, or effectively market it.

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We are constantly bombarded by so many outside influences. As a result, taking control of the processes that inform our decisions, be they the daily and mundane or fundamental and even life-changing, is more challenging than ever. Everything from innovation to terrorism can shift the paradigm, making flexibility and adaptability essential traits in decision-makers.

While rational thought was behind the Scientific Revolution, today this bombardment of outside factors brings with it confusion and a greater need to resort to intuitive decisions, but does that make us more susceptible to making the wrong ones?  If the left side of the brain is responsible for rational thought and the right for intuition and creativity, leading business thinkers like Martin Reeves of the Boston Consulting Group are championing the latter. Instead of being really good at doing one particular thing, companies, and by extension their employees, “must now be really good at learning how to do new things,” he says.

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The secret to successfully gaining competitive advantage, it seems, can now be found by creating a workforce that is, in essence, less rational, more engaged and given an environment where they are able to take better decisions in order to ultimately perform better.

Looking from the other side of the jobs market fence, Lee Newman, Dean of Human Sciences and Technology at IE University, argues that companies would be better off looking at behavioral traits such as mindfulness, self-awareness and empathy in their recruitment criteria, and that graduates would do well to pursue this “emotional intelligence”. Role-specific skills remain important in the short term, but technical know-how will only get you so far and these are now the personal attributes considered to fit those most capable of greater career progression in the long term.

**Written by: The Report Company