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Logic vs Emotion

By Joey Havens

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The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly altered our course and coping with a new business model focused on managing a productive remote work environment is our new reality. This is on top of the technology transformation that is already underway in our profession and for all business enterprises. We have a new norm overnight, and that means things will be hard and we are going to make mistakes. 

We will have ample opportunities to second guess our direction. Our emotions, our inherent desire for certainty, our fear of failure and simple frustration can and do influence our logic. We are wired to try and map this new norm to a past experience so we can cope with less stress.  

Our greatest risk is not making a mistake — it is allowing our emotions to create bad logic that causes lots of bad decisions. For example, if it’s hard, slow and uncertain then it must be the wrong strategy or direction. The reverse logic is it’s the wrong direction/strategy every time if it’s hard, slow or uncertain. Do we really believe this or does our brain want us to believe it?   

In defining moments like these, our skill of practicing true open-mindedness and being persuadable are critical leadership tools. Our brains are wired to find the easy route and conserve energy. To protect us from undesirable feelings and to map this to a past experience. It’s an important time for us to proactively test our assumptions and beliefs, analyze our emotions and ask questions about our logic.

We might need to change, simplify or clarify our direction. It’s folly not to first test our assumptions and analyze how our emotions are influencing us. Wonder why we are hesitant to do so? Learning to be truly open-minded takes lots of practice and the courage to test ourselves.

What facts, assumptions or opinions have we collected to consider that are different from our own? How are we proactively testing our direction against these?

A quick illustration on logic versus emotion. In my life, I know CeCe’s opinion always matters. Does that mean CeCe’s opinion is the ONLY thing that matters? Did I really write that? Love you, CeCe!

I can only hope one benefit of the new norm focused on remote work will be the destruction of this pet peeve — the belief that our successful business model is built on the chargeable hour.  Therefore, the chargeable hour is the only way we can be profitable. This is the perfect example of the emotions we get from comfort, control, success and past experience tying us to bad logic. Are our brains fooling us? The chargeable hour is not the business model for our future and COVID-19 may just point us in a better direction.  

Today, with exponential change all around us, our true north is going to be filled with hard, uncertain and slow progress at times. We are going to make more mistakes than we have in the past. Think about it, we are chasing a moving target today. Watch out for emotions overriding logic!