Beyond the Path of Least Resistance | Mantle

05 Apr 2024

Beyond the Path of Least Resistance

Beyond the Path of Least Resistance

In business and life, we often try to solve big problems with the simplest solutions.

In fact the pattern-recognising capability of our brains tend to prefer known and simple

When we are faced with countless decisions every day, it seems more efficient to rely on our experience, assumptions, and quick judgments. In fact, it is almost impossible to work at pace without this capability.

After a period of time, this can become our habitual approach, skating quickly over the formation and moving forward at pace.

It’s an understandable adaptation to a fast-moving environment and high workloads.
But what if the easy way out isn’t the best way? And what if the easy way is riskier than we

Let’s talk about why facing complexity head-on can actually be better for your business!

These are some of the common thinking traps and biases that we fall into:

1. Looking for Quick Fixes:
When things get tough, it’s tempting to find the quickest way to fix them. But the
biggest challenges—like the financial crisis or the Covid-19 pandemic—show that
quick fixes can miss the mark. It’s better to take your time and get it right.

2. Over-Simplifying Things:
It’s easy to think that big problems have simple causes. In reality, big achievements
and big issues usually come from a mix of many smaller factors. Understanding this
can help you tackle problems more effectively.

3. Being Too Quick to Judge:
We all find it easier to see mistakes in others than in ourselves. Recognising this can
help us be more understanding and make better decisions.

4. Thinking Your Way is the Only Way:
Everyone sees the world differently. Realising that your perspective isn't the only one
can help you make better decisions by considering different viewpoints and going the
extra mile to try and understand them too.

5. Preferring Stories Over Facts:
Stories are great, but they don’t always tell the whole picture. Mixing real data with
personal stories can help you see things more clearly.

6. Leaving the Tough Decisions to Others:
It might feel easier to let experts make the hard choices for you, but understanding
why decisions are made can help you learn and make better choices in the future.

7. Being Overconfident:
It’s uncomfortable to think about uncertainties, so sometimes we act more confident
than we should. Learning to be okay with not knowing everything can actually help
you make smarter decisions.

Taking the easy road might seem like a good idea at the time, but it’s the tougher, more
thoughtful route that often leads to new thinking and real solutions that drive better results.

Step out of the Performance Zone!

The most effective people and teams in any domain do something we can all emulate. They
go through life deliberately alternating between two zones: the learning zone and the
performance zone.

The performance zone represents a state where individuals execute tasks with relative ease
and proficiency, relying on existing knowledge and skills. In contrast, the learning zone
embodies a state of challenge and growth, where individuals engage in tasks that push their abilities beyond current proficiency levels, leading to new learning and skill development.

The reason many of us don’t improve much despite our hard work is that we tend to spend
almost all of our time in the performance zone. This hinders our growth, and ironically, over
the long term, also our performance.

To mitigate the risk of moving at pace, we need to build in reflection time to evaluate the
impact of our decisions. When we slip into reflection, we shift into a potential learning zone
where we can learn from our experiences and incorporate that learning going forward.

Without adequate time to reflect, we will likely continue making assumptions
working at pace and deploying known and past methods to today’s challenges.

Worse than that our brains self-validate our decision-making (confirmation bias) putting more focus on why we are right rather than contemplating why we might be wrong.

By facing complex problems head-on with a broader perspective, asking hard questions, and balancing between these zones, strategically challenging oneself in the learning zone to expand capabilities while leveraging strengths in the performance zone to execute tasks
effectively you may find better and novel ways to overcome challenges.

At Mantle, we’re all about helping business leaders like you tackle big problems with smart,
well-thought-out strategies. Check out our website to see how our programs can help you
and your team get better at dealing with complex challenges.

This podcast is also a great and informative listen. 

Join us to get better at solving the tough problems your business faces, turning challenges
into opportunities.