Is a bias for taking action costing you?

 In Mindset

“In a penalty situation in soccer, the ball takes less than o.3 seconds from the player who kicked the ball to the goal. There is not enough time for the goalkeeper to watch the ball’s trajectory. AdobeStock_51384973 (WinCE)

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.”

The above passage is from the book, The Art of thinking clearly by Rolf Dobelli

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:

“All of humanity’s problems stem

from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

*SODA is an adaption of John Boyd’s OODA loop. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop

Check out a prior post on the ‘Overconfidence bias’

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