Your Highest Intention | Doing What You Believe is Good

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There is a rising trend for companies to prioritise short-term profit more than ever before. McKinsey's research shows that the same companies are well aware that long-term results are much better for the company and the world. However, they do not give priority to this. So why don't the companies do what they really want?

This is a study in which 1000 top managers of large companies all over the world were interviewed. Nearly 80% say that they focus on the highest possible profitability in the shortest possible time under pressure from investors. 75% of all respondents experience this pressure as very high and would rather opt for a more sustainable and longer term approach.

Are you going for the long or short term?

There is a YouTube movie circulating in which 3 professional footballers compete against 100 youth players. Which team do you think will score first and which team would you choose? Which team would you choose? If it were employees, would you hire the 3 professionals, or the 100 enthusiastic youth players? If you choose for the 3 professionals, it would seem that you, just like the top managers, choose for the short term profit. If you choose for the 100 youth players then you probably belong to the 20% long term thinkers. The chance that in the medium term this team will develop into a harmonious whole and will be able to defeat any trio is very likely. It only requires investment in training and team building.

If you choose for the 100 youth players then you probably belong to the 20% long term thinkers. The chance that in the medium term this team will develop into a harmonious whole and will be able to defeat any trio is very likely. It only requires investment in training and team building.

Why don't top managers often do what they believe in?

There is a famous "string" experiment called Asch's experiment. Based on earlier studies, Van Asch knew that if an issue could be explained in more than one way, then a person generally chooses the choice of the majority. This could therefore also explain why top managers choose for the short-term gain. However, if it is so clear that a long-term strategy is better and they acknowledge this themselves, why don't they act accordingly? This is exactly what Van Asch experiment is all about.

The Van Asch experiment

A test subject was invited to sit in a room with 7 participants. On the table were 4 strings of different lengths. The differences were not very big, but just enough to estimate from a distance which was the largest and which was the smallest. The participants had to decide individually which rope was the longest. The other 7 participants decided to take turns indicating that the second longest string is the longest one. The test subject was the last to give his opinion. To everyone's surprise they gave the wrong answer in more than 30% of the cases, despite the fact that they knew better! This research has been repeated in several countries and each time the same result emerged.

The of Asch experiment II

Following on from the previous experiment, in the second experiment the test subject was asked to write the correct answer on a piece of paper. The percentage of incorrect answers fell, but not substantially. However, it turned out that the more people at the table express the correct answer, the more often the test subject also dares to write down the correct answer.

These research results from Asch indirectly imply that we need to provide top managers with feedback more often in order to do the right thing for their company and for the world.

Doing What You Believe is Good

Regrets when you know you're dying

It seems so logical to give desired answers and to do what others expect of you. You are more socially accepted and the chance of rejection is reduced. However, research shows that most people who know that they will die soon, really regret one thing:

People who are almost dying regret they didn't had the courage to live a life true to their own intentions and values instead of living as others expected of them.

Match and mis-match

There are three ways in which you can be more or less a matcher or a mismatcher. This is not who you are, but how you generally react to situations or subjects.

You can match or mismatch with

  • Your posture and behaviour
  • Your thoughts and ideas
  • Your voice and spoken words

Posture and behaviour Matchers pay attention to their environment and adjust their posture and behaviour. When everyone is seated, they will generally also sit down and if everyone walks slowly, they will be inclined to also walk slowly.

Thoughts and ideas Matchers will easily be inclined to take over ideas from others and reject their own ideas.

Voice and spoken words Matchers will - sometimes unconsciously - take over the word usage and speech tempo of others. In an environment where there is a lot of abuse, they will also use those words rather than mismatchers. And where everyone is whispering, they will be tempted to start whispering as well.

A person can score on all three aspects in a scale of 1 in 10. It also happens that someone scores a 10 on speech, for example, on matching and a 10 on attitude and behaviour on mismatching.

The advantage of Matchers and Mismatchers

Real matchers en create harmony. If all people on earth were 100% matchers, this would prevent a lot of war, suffering and misery. We would understand each other much better.

Real mismatchers lead to progress. They create disruption and new insights through their deviant ideas and behaviour. The downside is that if everyone in the world were a 100% mismatcher, we would probably live in a continuous state of war with each other. However, without mismatchers we would never have landed on the moon and we were still on horse-drawn carriages instead of an Electric Tesla.

Let's do good for ourselves, the company and the world

Entrepreneurs and top managers have a major impact on the well-being of people and the world. In their own interest - so they have no regrets when they know they are dying - and in our own interest, we should help them to translate their highest intention into action. We as consumers are in the majority, and based on the above, most executives choose what the majority want. So let's rise and express ourselves and act according to what we really want.

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