Managers tend to make decisions on logic and facts, whereas leaders make decisions primarily on ‘heart and gut’ – “The data says we go this direction. My gut says we take another route”
Several years ago, I presented a workshop in Chicago. The keynote speaker was Gene Kranz, Mission Control Director for Apollo 13. This was the Apollo mission that went horribly wrong.
Whilst on track towards the moon, there was an explosion on the craft. Kranz asked all the engineers and scientists to quickly assess the situation and come back to him with a plan of action. Time was of the essence as the Astronauts lives were at risk as the craft hurtled towards the moon.
Their decision was to activate rocket boosters and reverse the craft’s course towards the moon. From their calculations, it was clear the astronauts were going to either run out of oxygen or die from carbon dioxide poisoning.
Against the tide of advice, Gene’s gut said NO. “We will allow the craft to continue on its course”
His decision based on gut, saved the lives of the men. Later evidence revealed the craft most likely would have exploded if Gene followed the logical advice of the scientists and engineers.
Leadership challenges the status quo, often taking enormous risks in the direction they want to take others. Logic is sometimes not the best or right course to take.
Have you made decisions based on gut? What were the outcomes?
Be cautious to over rely on logic, analysis and ‘the past experiences’ to dictate your future decisions.
Leaders can be mavericks, rebels – mostly wanting to make this world a better place.
Bridgeworks Leadership NOW program on Lady Elliot Island in Queensland has seen nearly 100 managers challenged around their ability to lead and influence others.