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Behavioural Economics- Focusing on a single point can let opportunity slip by

On this rainy, Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend the Tech@State: Moneyball Diplomacy event at George Washington University. One panel in particular on behavioral economics stood out.

Take a look at this video (many of you may have already seen this). Count how many times they pass the ball around:


Did you see anything strange? If not, watch it again.

How does this concept of focusing so hard on a single point affect your organization? Is your company/agency/group too focused on the small picture that they sometimes forget to look at the big picture?

I think many times we are often wrapped around a single idea, that we forget what the ultimate goal is. How do you get your employees or colleagues to recognize the gorilla in the room?

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Sabrina H. DeLay

I had previously seen this video and really enjoyed the concept. Initially, I didn’t make the link to its applicability at my organization. Thanks to your post, its got me thinking.

1. The instructions and even the context we provide in addressing issues within our organizations can concentrate the focus too much. We miss the gorilla, simply because we weren’t told to look for it. In a lot of ways the work that gets done in my office is like counting the passes of the ball. Your concern is on getting the right answer, or close to it. When a gorilla isn’t even in the realm of correct answers maybe we are asking the wrong questions.

2. There are people who’s natural strengths and talents allow them to recognize and think about the big picture and ultimate goal. Can we build better teams utilizing the strengths and talents of our workforce to assist in identifying the gorillas?

Erik G Eitel

Thanks for the comment Sabrina! I think you raise some great points as well. Maybe identifying the strengths of team members could lead us to find the gorilla in the room. Is there a gorilla on every project?