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Executing Strategy in Uncertainty: What Happens in our Brains?

May 17th, 2012 by Steve Barry
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“How can we keep people engaged and productive amidst so much uncertainty and perceived instability and risk?”

We frequently hear this question from clients.  In fact, over 1300 people registered for our recent webinar on this very topic.

While we explored the topic from a leadership and behavior perspective, Dr. Srini Pillay, Harvard neuroscientist and CEO of NeuroBusinessGroup, explored this topic from a brain perspective.  His May 16th webinar is packed with insight (a.k.a. ‘Neuro Nuggets’) on how fear impacts our brain, and subsequently our ability to make decisions.

Dr. Pillay uses Forum’s Strategic Speed framework – Clarity, Unity, Agility – as a means to discuss the conscious and unconscious aspects of strategy execution.   It really is a fascinating talk.  Among the more compelling takeaways:

  • The four stages of learning, capped by the concept of “switch cost” – the cost brain must pay to go from old action to new action.  How can we encourage employees to pay the switch cost, through training?
  • Statistics on what people think in uncertainty vs certainty –  75% in uncertainty overestimated the bad things that would happen
  • How emotional intelligence contributes to Strategic Speed and team cohesion

For more on this topic, check out Forum’s May 29 webinar on managing change and complexity, this time for our audience in EMEA.

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