I listen to a variety of podcasts when I’m in the car for any stretch of time. They range in subject from NPR feel-good stories to tech news to startup podcasts and each one captures my interest in a different way. One that I listen to somewhat infrequently is from the organization Reboot that centers around conversations one of the founders, Jerry Colanna, has with entrepreneurs and other CEO types. Jerry is sometimes referred to as “the CEO Whisperer” because he has an ability to quickly break down a leader and dissect their strengths and what’s holding them back.
A recent episode was titled the same as this post: “The Space Between Stimulus and Response” and aligned very closely to what we deal with in business continuity, specifically around crisis management. Jerry starts off with a quote: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” In a crisis, how powerful is it if we focus our thoughts and our pre-planning around the moments between an event and how we respond to it? Do we have time to stop and think or does “muscle memory” kick in and we respond without conscious thought when an event takes place?
Jerry’s interviewee on this episode, Nicole Glaros of Techstars, introduces the parallel of boxing to the discussion. Through careful yet repetitious practice, boxing becomes second nature and the responses come from the limbic system instead of the pre-frontal cortex in the brain. There isn’t time to stop and think, one just reacts to the blows as they are coming at you. But what happens when you can slow the time down between the initial event and your response?
The tie-ins to crisis management run deep here as both areas seek to build and extend resiliency through properly measured and timed responses. When we plan for and exercise crisis management plans, how much thought is put into the evaluation process before we respond? More importantly, how can we maximize that time so that we consider all of the options yet get out ahead of the story before it’s told on our behalf and have a sense of self awareness about our messaging?
Jerry says it nicely when he refers to the classic Mike Tyson quote about having a plan: “Resiliency is the capacity to recover when punched in the face.”
To listen to the original podcast, please go to https://www.reboot.io/episode/79-space-stimulus-response-nicole-glaros/