The Power of Attention to Transform Decision Making
Meeting the increasing challenges of our ever more complex and demanding external environment requires decision making capabilities that go far beyond those that were sufficient just a few years ago. Leaders will only cope by developing inner resources that are sufficiently evolved to cope effectively with the outer challenges. This involves some incredibly difficult elements, such as:
- Overcoming feelings of attachment to familiar ideas and concepts.
- Reducing our tendency to routinely overlook highly relevant, easily accessible, and readily perceivable information.
- Noticing how emotions may be influencing our thinking.
- Becoming overly focused on things we are already familiar with.
- Accessing deeper levels of intuition and creativity.
There is a single solution that can enable improvements in all of these areas (and beyond), all at the same time. If we can learn to direct our attention in an intentional way, it promotes many of the qualities of mindset required for great decision making. Tom Davenport, former director of Accenture Institute of Strategic Change, summarised the power and importance of this approach when he suggested that, “Understanding and managing attention is now the single most important determinant of business success”.
The power of attention derives from the fact that, just as our muscles can be developed with strength training, the brain responds powerfully to focused and deliberate stimulation. What we pay attention to literally changes the structure and function of our brains, and in very predictable ways.
This workshop will examine the science behind the idea that learning to pay deliberate attention may be the most valuable skill we can develop, explaining why it underpins and maximises not just our capacity for creative decision-making, but also any other form of adaptive learning. By the end of this session participants will:
- Understand why deliberate mental practice can be guaranteed to improve decision making.
- Know why we tend to adopt a completely different mindset when making decisions for others, and how to capitalise on the many instructive lessons this offers when deciding for ourselves.
- Know how to make their brain more powerful, responsive, efficient and productive.
- Be able to reduce the harmful effects of the ego.
- Be able to increase their emotional balance, empathy, creativity, concentration, comfort with ambiguity and happiness.
- Be equipped with some simple practices by which intentional attention can be developed.
Updated January 2019.