I was walking along the road and getting close to someone who had stopped on her bike, to see to her two children. As I got close she set off again, and it was clear that she had not looked round to see if anything was coming.
OK, so it was the end of a close, so very few cars, but of course most accidents occur near home (and at home of course). It struck me that this was an example of things being on or off your radar screen.
Many big mistakes occur when we drop some kinds of signal from our radar screen. So with the person we love, and/or live with, we stop listening to warning signs, we assume too much, and in the end don’t even notice the big signs, which in the movies may be things like “I am leaving you”, met with utter non-comprehension.
With the enemies on our borders, we feel over secure, we fail to see any similarities from our history, or the history of others.
At work, with market share going up and profits going up we fail to notice employee dissatisfaction, or customer complaints, and then we get hit.
We have different minds for different jobs, otherwise our minds would be working on everything in the same way, which would not be very efficient. But every now and then we need to wake up a bit and ask, am I alert enough to what is going on around me?
This is a Left Brain and a Right Brain Check. The Left Brain (admittedly this is being very simplistic) can carry out the check from the list. So on your bike, am I listening, am I looking in every direction, am I thinking about all the things that end thinking about, like leaves on the road or ice?
The right brain is checking that the left brain is checking. Very easy to go through a list in ‘tick box’ mode, yes, yes, yes, oooops!
A simplicity/complexity check is good. Is this the same kind of simple journey or is it more complex than usual?
A known versus unknown check is useful, if I really open my feelings up, am I detecting anything different? Is my relationship creeping along in the wrong direction?
Being aware of what is on your radar is a healthy thing, not all the time but on a regular basis checking on your thinking and feeling and where your signals are coming from and if you are giving them the right weight.
Judging the weight of signals coming in is how decisions are made, our job is to be paying attention to where the radar signals are coming from and asking if they are the right signals to be paying attention to.
More on judgement and decision making in my books – Judgement Day and How to Advise The President