Fast-paced vs. Deliberate Thinkers: Who Wins? (A Quick Analysis)

Department of Organizational Life Basics: 

SITUATION: Two people are discussing a potential solution to a problem.  One person is faster-paced in their thinking and the other is more deliberate or reflective in their thinking.

ANALYSIS:  Haste makes paste out of effort misplaced. The faster-thinker often has a structural advantage which leads them to being more successful in the long-term, especially in the eyes of senior stakeholders.

Bartolemeo Scappi -16th Century - Clockwork Spring-driven SpitOne reason for this advantage is that the faster-paced thinker is typically a bit more persuasive in the moment of the conversation — the situation demands that time and effort are not wasted — and  so their approach to the solution is adopted. Often, both people will then need to move on to thinking about something else. If and when they re-visit this solution/problem together, they may have to re-start their thinking process… and the same process repeats.  So while it’s true that the quicker thinker runs the risk of an (ultimately) more wasteful solution, the structure of the situation allows the quicker thinker to run more iterations of the solution… provided that conditions allow for easy testing and revising.

While the thinking behind the quicker answer won’t be as solid as the slower answer (and therefore more likely to result in an sub-optimal solution), the quicker thinkers gives themselves more chances to try things out and succeed.

METAPHOR:  Complex machinery works by effectively connecting quick-spinning and slow-spinning gears. If an organization (or a civilization) wants its most important decisions to be most effective, its faster-paced and more deliberate thinkers need to know how to connect better.

IMPLICATIONS FOR YOU:  If you’re the faster-paced person, recognize the risk you have in blinding yourself. Festina-lente-dolphin-anchor-make-haste-slowlyAlso, recognize the risks of your approach, especially at those times where your operating environment is less error-tolerant.  Listen better and ask questions when you have the opportunity for input from a more deliberate colleague. If you can utilize their hard-won analysis as part of your implementation, you will win short-term AND long-term.

If you’re the more deliberately paced person, recognize the risk you have in confusing yourself. Also, be realistic about how much deliberation is really necessary given current conditions and budget. Hold some variables constant, track them, and allow for rapid, iterative testing. Structure conversations so that they take place over several installments, giving yourself the time to reflect. Most of all, learn the art of persuasive language. If you do this, you will soon find yourself outperforming your peers, those fast-talkers who used to steamroll you… and you may even outperform your former self.


About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on January 7, 2013, in Analytics, Business, Career, Coaching, Collaboration, Communication Skills, Learning, Life, Metaphors, Negotiation, Risk Management, Talent and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply -- for humans only, no spambots

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: