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Real pressure reveals the real you

A recent study found that when time for decisions and action is short, a person’s real nature is revealed.

The study of US and German citizens found that when a game common to behavioural studies was played, the key factor in behaviour was time. More time gave people a chance to consider what they knew of other players, and to assess their possible plans and those of others. It also gave them time to review their own biases.

When less time was available, they went with their natural instinct, or gut feel.  The selfish became more selfish and the altruistic more altruistic.

This helps explain why some organisations seem to fall apart in a crisis – while others thrive. The flaws you see in your board, executive or other teams will be multiplied by pressure.

On a different note, this line of research also suggests that the success of communications will be affected by the time people have to consider what you’re saying or asking them to do. The more complex your message or the behaviour change sought, the more time people will need to consider it.

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