Brené Brown’s brand-new book, “Atlas of the Heart,” is about “mapping meaningful connection and the language of human experience.” This extraordinary book utilizes research to provide us with a roadmap for understanding, managing, and embracing our emotions and relationships. The book is loaded with great advice and insight on how critical our word choices are in everyday relationships and experiences. It also provides excellent, research-backed recommendations on how to improve our mental health in this post-pandemic world. Specifically, it notes, we must understand the language we use every day and know how it can be used to better manage and enhance our relationships in the workplace, at home, and in our communities.
We wanted to point out just one of the many concepts from Brené Brown’s research that applies directly to the market research profession. She expresses a fundamental theory: the role emotions play in decision-making. So much of market research is about providing insight to make better decisions, but how often are we attentive to the factors external to our insights that can play a role in how our team makes decisions? Specifically, she tells of two instances that we need to be aware of in managing decision-making.
First, we need to know that when decision-makers are feeling “overwhelmed,” they are not performing at their highest level of decision-making ability. Specifically, “there is a body of research that shows that we don’t process emotional information correctly when we are overwhelmed, and this can result in poor decision-making.” We cannot afford to let people engulfed in emotions make big decisions until we can bring them some sort of relief from their feelings of feeling crushed with unmanageable situations. “The big learning here is that feeling both stressed and overwhelmed is about our narrative of emotional and mental depletion – there’s just too much going on to manage effectively.”
Second, a growing body of research indicates that expressing gratitude improves decision-making ability. In general, we see that gratitude is “good for us physically, emotionally, and mentally,” It is correlated with “decreased entitlement, increased creativity, and increased decision-making skills.” Research has shown that “gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value, we extract more benefits from it; we’re less likely to take it for granted.” So, when we express gratitude in our daily jobs, we effectively give extraordinary benefits to ourselves and our co-workers. When we express gratitude, we are helping ourselves and others with increased decision-making skills.
These two simple cultural guidelines can help market researchers and those who work around them improve their decision-making performance. Making sure that we are attentive to people in our organizations who are feeling overwhelmed and that we regularly express gratitude can make a big difference in ensuring that we perform at our very best. These two simple guidelines can also ensure that our organizations perform at their highest level in decision-making.