If you think managers are irrational, you're right. According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, probably 95% of the managerial thinking that drives decisions and behaviours occurs unconsciously. Zaltman is exploiting this theory commercially with his ZMET tool, which allows people to understand their thinking more fully, and to recognise how unconscious thoughts can lead to illogical behaviour. For instance, we often buy branded painkillers rather than cheaper versions. We illogically trust the brand more, even though we know that both are chemically identical. In the same way, managers succumb to illogical fear over what first step to take to deal with a situation. So encourage them to confess their ignorance, because that's where 'learning and constructive action begin'.
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