Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink presents some interesting ideas on rapid decision making in business Blink, the book by New York Times bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell introduces its readers to a whole new way of making effective rapid, split-second decisions. The lessons learned from this book especially hold good for small businesses that have more direct interactions with customers and stakeholders when compared to multinational companies. While businesses think about employing complex decision-making techniques, Blink offers a refreshing take on the cognitive aspects behind snap decisions.
The book mixes wit and everyday examples to enable one to practice better decision making within a few seconds. This book is for decision-makers from various walks of life who deal with time and financial constraints, apart from an overload of information that they need to scrutinize in order to reach conclusions.
What Blink is not about is intuitive, rash or emotional decision making. The author tries to drive home the point that, “there are moments, particularly in times of stress when haste does not make waste, when our snap judgments and first impressions can offer a much better means of making sense of the world.” Gladwell provides plenty of examples of these from science, sales, advertising, music and more.
Practice makes perfection attainable
While practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect, it does bring one close to perfection. Blink urges its reader to practice exposing themselves to newer experiences; to move out of their comfort zones in order to break mental stereotypes, redefine normalcy and to be very conscious about the kind of preconceived notions one holds when they approach people or situations. This makes it easier for a manager’s snap judgments to be more rational and less biased. It also gives the decision-maker fresher angles while looking at a challenge.
Less is more
In a world filled with excessive information, arriving at a decision can be a Herculean task. It has also been scientifically proven that the human brain can effectively only process a maximum of seven pieces of information at a time. Small business decision making can be especially challenging. While more information adds to confidence in the decision-making process, excessive information and over-analysis can be detrimental to the decision making process. The author calls this phenomenon “analysis paralysis,” where information surplus can lead to self-doubt.
Here come the disclaimers. Like all other decision-making tools and techniques, Blink is not without flaws. It is very easy for a manager to get carried away with his or her gut feeling and make a reckless decision without considering the repercussions. Snap decisions are not recommended under volatile and risky circumstances. It is recommended for people who can keep calm under pressure situations and people who can quickly identify and push aside any prejudices. So to repeat- practice does make rapid decision making come close to perfection.