Response vs. Reaction: Conditioning the Human Mind to Deal with Risk
Risk is a constant in our world, and so are risk-takers. Organizations are made up of risk-takers. When we talk about organizational development and change initiatives, what we are actually interested in is bringing about a change in these individual risk-takers.
Kurt Lewin’s Force Field Analysis organizational development model suggests that individual behavior is a function of personal factors and the impact of the social environment. The model explains why training-oriented change efforts aimed solely at individuals often fail. It has long been believed that if individuals are motivated enough or provided enough incentive to be safe, they will be safe. Motivation alone, however, is not sufficient to lead to lasting change.
The human mind has the ability to react or respond to risk quite rapidly in any given situation. Risk reaction is our intuitive, automatic, gut instinct based on our preconceived notions and past experiences dealing with similar risks. Risk response is our deliberate, considered choice on how to manage the risk. Both risk reaction and risk response are driven by perceptions. How do individuals perceive and interpret risk in their daily lives? How do we condition the mind to consider a group input to change individual decisions? How do we consistently apply risk response techniques in situations where we tend to use risk reaction? That will be the focus of this session.