Is a bias for taking action costing you?
He(she) must make a decision before the ball is kicked. Soccer players who take penalty kicks shoot one third of the time at the middle of the goal, one third of the time at the left, and one third of the time at the right.
Surely goalkeepers have spotted this, BUT WHAT DO THEY DO?
They dive either to the left or to the right. Rarely do they stay standing in the middle – even though roughly a third of all balls land there.
Why on earth would they jeopardize saving these penalties? The simple answer: appearance. It looks more impressive and feels less embarrassing to dive to the wrong side than to freeze on the spot and watch the ball sail past.
This is the ‘action bias’. Look active, even if it achieves nothing.”
Why do I share this passage? Let me explain:
I often observe executives in pressured interactions – for example, when being asked a question – who prefer to immediately answer the question. In effect, to ‘look active’ even though that quick action may not serve them.
In my ‘Listen and speak under pressure’ programme my clients have profited from using the acronym SODA*.
S = Stop
O = Observe
D = Decide
A = Act
SODA is a schema that can be productively used when fielding questions and for other types of interactions. For example, when a person asks you a question in a Q&A session, rather than quickly answering the question (‘the action bias), use SODA. That is, Stop speaking for a moment. Observe the situation. Decide on the best action. Act on that decision.
At the Observe step you might decide to label the question as a ‘Tough one’ or you may decide that you’ll need a moment to think, to frame a response.
Under pressure most people rush. To have more presence and composure, slow down the interaction by using SODA.
Your CALL to action/HOW to apply for this post: Trial the SODA schema, first in safe situations, and see if it pays off for you.
p.s. The ‘action bias’ reminds me of Blaise Pacal’s famous quote: