Leadership Distinction #34: Committed

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We often choose first, then reason why

Leadership Distinction #34: Committed

“Follow your gut.” “Follow your heart.” This is the advice you’ll hear from friends and allies when you share with them the pressure you’re feeling about an important decision you need to make.  Not that it wouldn’t perhaps also be helpful, you won’t hear them say: “Well, net out the pro’s and con’s and then, etc., etc.” 

That’s because we recognize that people make big decisions from the ‘gut’. Only then do we give the mind time to air out its reasons pro or con. And by then we’re looking for our cognitive powers to get on board behind the heart’s commitment. Similarly, we don’t commit to follow a vision, or to follow the behavior of another, on the basis of logic.

There is no thinking apparatus in the ‘gut’, of course. When we use the term we are referring to the oldest intelligence we harbor, that which concerns itself with our oldest human concerns, like whether we are put at mortal risk — on how we will survive. Neuroscientists have reduced its source to the amygdalae, or the brain stem, — primitive evolutionary beginnings of the human brain. So be it.

‘Gut instinct’, as we sometimes refer to that native, guiding force, affects nearly all levels of decision-making, including even matters of law. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, writing in his influential 1880 work, The Common Law, said that “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.” Judges decide, then deduce.

If you are to inspire followers to commit to your mission you need to connect at the ‘gut’ level, the emotional core of the person you hope to attract. When it comes down to how you propose to reach your objective, the mind of the follower will duly assess the reasonableness of your strategy. If your notions pass muster then hearts and minds may align. And in that alignment, there can be no greater force for effecting intended change than the conjoined power of the Committed.

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Episode 33