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Should you trust your gut feelings or instinct?


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According to the research reviewed in this video, the answer is yes and no.

Yes, if the decision might have too many and complex variables for most people to process. This is a form of “fast” thinking that is an unconscious pattern recognition.

No, if the decision is a straightforward one or if it involves being empathetic to someone else. This is a form of “slow” thinking that is conscious and effortful.

Two days ago, someone I know reached out to me via a private Twitter direct message to ask for some advice. I offered to meet in person and we had a two-hour chat.

I realized that my contact could get better information from two other people I knew, so I offered to make connections while not promising that they would say yes. After all, I had not chatted with one of those people for a few months and the other for over a year.

I contacted one of them by WhatsApp and the other by email. I received replies within minutes while I was walking home. I had just enough time to compose replies to thank them and to make the connections by the time I got back.
 

 
When I reflected on why the two people responded to my request, I remembered that I also had the equivalent of two-hour chats with them previously. The time we invested in making connections built trust. The trust remained even though we did not connect regularly.

Some people, particularly those who charge by the hour, like to say that time is money. I say well-invested time builds trust. No amount of money can replace that.

I experienced a series of unusual evenings last week. These were not something I could do if I was not my own boss.
 

 

Last Thursday night, the TEDxSingapore Brain Trust met to discuss an ambitious project. We had met before and this was the first time we remembered to capture a moment.

Not all the folks in the photo are board (bored) members. A few were guests. But all wore their passions on their sleeves and had wonderful ideas. It is uplifting to meet people with positive and practical ideas for the future.

The next evening, I met a core group of #edsg members for a tweetup at a public space in Fusionopolis. We met to plan an informal online project we hope to implement soon.

Many thanks to @rachelhtan, first-time visitor and impromptu photographer, for the snapshot.
 

On Sunday evening, I attended the inaugural Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) as keynote speaker and judge.

I have not received any photos yet.

I also did not get to deliver my keynote as we were short of time and it was late. We had to make a decision for the good of the audience. But I might outline some ideas I had for the keynote in an entry tomorrow.

It was lovely to meet such passionate people at the event. I was very encouraged by the ideas and enthusiasm of the participants. It gave me hope for the future of education in Singapore.

It was a shame that there had to be winners and losers at the event. But this practice was still more authentic than a test.

In fact, I look forward to a day when tests become unusual and irrelevant fossils studied by future educators as something that plagued us and stunted possibilities.

OPEN by mag3737, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  mag3737 

 
I have had a draft of this reflection sitting in Evernote for such a long time I cannot remember exactly why I wrote it. 

Let us say that you have a complex problem to solve. Some will lock down while others will open up.

One benefit of being strategically open is that it can create more transparent processes. This in turn can build trust.

Being more open with problems, ideas, or policies can result in greater feedback and critique. While doing this might result in slower implementation, you are more likely to get better inputs by crowdsourcing.

I think one reason some people do not like being open is that they fear that others will not understand the complexities of the issues at hand. But how are others expected to understand if you are not open in the first place?

Other times people worry that the process is messy and that being transparent is a sign of discord or weakness. But I think that it takes trust to build more trust.

You have to share some information that you might have withheld in the past. This leads to a more informed group that now knows the context, background, or the reasons why.

If you manage the situation well, it creates trust whether you succeed or fail during implementation. That trust is more important than the problem you tried to solve because it helps with the next problem.

Now I remember why it remained a draft. I was just rambling mentally.

Whenever people talk about the principles of managing change, you will invariably hear things like communication and leadership. You will not often hear about faith and trust as core change principles.

I am not referring to religious change management but to any change.

Before you have a track record for change, it takes a lot of faith for someone to give you the go-ahead to implement change.

Sometimes that leap of faith comes from an inspired or informed decision-maker. Sometimes the faith bestowed upon you is a matter of good timing. A change agent can seed the inspiration or provide timely information instead of leaving things to chance.

After establishing a track record, you might earn some trust for managing change. You can take on bigger or fuzzier projects because you can rely on past accomplishments. But I think that is a dangerous modus operandi.

Every change initiative, particularly those mediated by educational technology, can be different. For example, you cannot transfer exactly the same strategies and principles from a school initiated 1:1 programme to a BYOD programme. The desired end result might look the same (a device for every learner) but the journey is different.

In cases like these, you need faith in yourself as a change agent to keep the passion going and trust in your team that they will overcome obstacles.


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