People under pressure don’t think better

A camera in macro mode focuses on the details, but blurs out the big picture. Only a softer focus can bring the scenery in the background into sight.

We focus under pressure. We are able to see the details but lose sight of the big picture. Our best ideas come not when we are focused, but when we enjoy a relaxed moment, diffuse our thoughts, and we are able to put things in perspective.

There is an inherent trade-off here between focus and relaxation. Between pressure and its absence.

Putting teams under pressure focuses them. A focused mind doesn’t always think better – it needs to combine with moments of relaxation. However, teams under pressure don’t have the luxury to step back and take a deep breath. Therefore, they don’t think better.

The best thinkers are those who can stay ahead of a crisis by seeing it appear on the horizon rather than wrestling with it when it is face-to-face.

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