written by MO.com Subject Matter Expert Ruth King
I wish that I had said that because it sums up what I’ve always believed and taught: you can’t make rational decisions when you are emotional.
“When you become angry you become stupid” was said by Dr. Ned Hallowell on the May, 2012 Success Magazine audio CD. He feels, as I do, that to make good decisions you have to get emotion out of the decision.
When you first find alarming things that your financial statements are telling you, you might not believe them, you might get angry, you may feel like you’ve been kicked in the stomach. If you find someone has been stealing from you, your initial emotions totally overtake your rational thought. If one of your personnel does something totally stupid, you get angry.
My rule has always been to never fire someone when you are mad or upset. If it’s the right thing to do when you are mad, it will be the right thing to do the next morning when you are calmer.
You’ve got to get rid of the emotion to make rational decisions. For some people, getting rid of the emotion takes minutes. Others it may take days or even weeks. The key is to get rid of the emotion as quickly as possible so you can take the steps necessary to resolve the issue before it blows up into a major crisis.
In my first book, The Ugly Truth about Small Business, every business owner I interviewed went through horrible business situations and survived. The initial reaction to the event, for everyone, was emotional rather than rational. Each person dealt with it in their own way. Dr. Hallowell suggests that you do 75 jumping jacks, run up and down stairs, or some other strong physical exercise for three minutes. You’ll feel better.
As a runner, I’ve gotten some of my best ideas on long runs. And, if I’m totally stressed out, there is nothing like 45 minutes running full out to make me feel better. And yes, I usually don’t want to get on the treadmill to start. However, usually10-15 minutes into to run I’m already feeling better.
I’ve used red, Styrofoam bricks for years. (These are similar to the Nerf balls that we used as kids.) You can throw the bricks and something and not hurt it most of the time. You can squeeze them and you can do crazy things to make you laugh. The point is to laugh. You can’t be mad and laugh at the same time.
I don’t mean to suggest that an angry customer is as devastating as some business problems. However, the idea is the same – getting rid of the emotional stress is critical to being able to function rationally.
At some point, logic and rational thinking begin to emerge. This is when you can plan and when you get the good ideas to resolve the situation. You begin dealing with the fear and the unknown.
Tempers get short as people get busy and tired. Get rid of the anger and get rational. It’s better for your employees, you, and your company’s profitability.