Yesterday, I traveled from Munich to Ottawa. Perfect time to get some reading done. Daniel Goleman, psychologist and author of the famous book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ recently published a quick follow up on his ubiquitous book. It is called The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights and you can buy it on on Amazon.com for your Kindle.
There is an interesting chapter in the book. Goleman talks about the role of self-awareness in decision making. Research found that you need excellent self-awareness to make good decisions. He describes the story of a highly intelligent lawyer who underwent surgery to get a tumor removed from his brain. Unfortunately, the part of his brain that helps with self-awareness got damaged. Despite an excellent recovery, the person ended up not being able to make any decisions anymore. His intelligence was still intact. Even small decisions like: “When should I meet with my Dr” were big hurdles for the poor guy. Goleman writes: “….in order to make a good decision, we need to have feelings about our thoughts.” Data and information alone therefore do not necessarily guarantee good decisions. The human factor is still there.
Goleman describes a study of highly successful entrepreneurs. They were asked how they make decisions. Goleman found that there is a common theme:
“First, they were voracious consumers of any data or information that might bear on their decision, casting a wide net. But second, they all tested their rational decision against their gut feeling – if a deal didn’t feel right they might not go ahead, even if it looked good on paper.”
Indeed, Business Analytics play an important part in decision making. The technology and processes deliver the raw materials for these ‘voracious consumers of data’. As a matter of fact, one could argue that business analytics enable people to become ‘voracious information consumers‘. Without the data and information, it becomes difficult to make good decisions.
While this sounds so obvious, it is important to keep in mind when it comes to building a business case, for example. Maybe you can use this small insight for your next meeting. A few weeks ago, I wrote about a similar story: Creativity and Innovation. Analytics are indeed an important enabler.