EP5: Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, Author of Never Go With Your Gut on Crisis Decision Making (with discussion on Covid 19)

In this episode, Nick spoke with Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts and Author of Never Go With Your Gut. In this discussion, Dr. Tsipursky explains why gut instinct introduces all sorts of unknown biases into the decision making process. He further explains how crucial it is for individuals and teams to comprehend what their biases are and how to create strategies and tactics to neuter or balance those biases. We discussed real-world examples including the Covid 19 pandemic.

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Transcript

Nick
Welcome back everyone to the Coverager Podcast. This is somewhat of a special episode the timing couldn't have been better or worse, depending on how you think of it. My guest this week is Dr. Gleb Tsipursky. Dr. Tsipursky is the CEO of the Disaster Avoidance Experts LLC. He earned his PhD from UNC Chapel Hill go Tar Heels, where he researched at the intersection of psychology, behavioral economics, cognitive neuroscience, in the history of business and civic settings. His research focused focused on decision making, emotional & social intelligence and meaning and purpose which is all of those is like really interesting close to my heart. He's the author of several books, but the one one in particular that kind of struck me as noteworthy and why I reached out to him is this one...Never go with your gut. Dr. Tsipursky, thank you for taking time on your weekend for me.

Dr. Tsipursky
Thank you so much for inviting me, Nick is indeed an appropriate time, but a sad time.

Nick
Yeah. As I said before, we before we started, the timing couldn't be better or couldn't be worse depending on how you look at it. You know, setting this up and so we are going to talk about Covid 19 in this because a lot of decisions were being made on that. Let's start let's start with the book. Let's kind of warm into the topic before we get really deep into it. Now, "Never go with your Gut" seems counterintuitive because growing up I think A lot of folks are told to kind of lean into your gut instincts. Why Is that wrong?

Dr. Tsipursky
It's very wrong. Unfortunately, our gut instinct says the cutting edge research on this topic has shown that our gut instincts are very much not adapted for the modern world, our gut instincts, our intuitions are whatever you call it, your heart, your primal savage state that's what Tony Robbins would say be primal be savage, that's adapted to the Savannah environment, when we were hunters and gatherers living in small tribes of 15 people to 150 people, and our primary threat response to disasters is the fight or flight response. It's perfect for dealing with intense...in the moment, the life or death situations when we need to jump out 100 shadows to get away from that one saber toothed tiger, but you might notice there are many less saber toothed tigers in the modern world. And then unfortunately, people still react to threats as though they're saber toothed tigers using that fight or flight response which is primal response, we have to make quick, immediate decisions that are either fight aggressive decisions, or flight, the flee. So let's say you get an email from someone from a client that's critical of what you're doing. The immediate reaction, the intuitive reaction, depending on your personality is to either flee, which means ignore the email deleted, pretend never happened, or fight right back, say, No, you're wrong. I'm right. You're a jerk, whatever, that those are the immediate responses, and whether you know, same thing to when your boss gives you constructive, critical feedback. Now, neither of those is actually helpful in making good decisions going forward. That's going to hurt you. What you need to do is step back, calm down, calm your emotions, figure out what's going on the situation and address it appropriately. Calm down your clients, whatever managed situation, and then change your behavior in accordance with what's going on. But it's completely counterintuitive. That's not the thing that feels good to us. Similarly, we'll talk about Covid 19 later, but slow moving train wrecks like Covid 19, we're very much better adapted to dealing with them. And we make very bad decisions as a result. So these are many situations where in the modern business environment, in the modern professional environment, we are very much not adapted to use our intuition or gut reactions to make the right decisions. That's why you should never go with your gut, you should always check with your head before making a business decision.

Nick
Yep. And I have a recent example just yesterday, you said dealing with a client, not a client, but stakeholder where I did I lost my cool, huh, you know, and I probably have a reputation of losing my cool and those kinds of situations where I you know, things get critical. How, how, how do you overcome that? That's my, that was a gut reaction that kind of took over could feel the hair on my neck standing up before that. So how does how does someone in in hindsight Gleb in hindsight, I knew immediately that was the wrong thing to do. Right? I shouldn't have done that. But it's it's the instinctual reaction. So what can somebody do when they know that they have a tendency to use their gut instinct in certain situations where they shouldn't?

Dr. Tsipursky
Well, your mom might have told you, count the time before you make reaction. Research shows that actually does work. So delaying your decision making delaying your reactions, and taking time to process think about what would actually be the best course of action, the situation that is actually quite helpful. So taking the time stopping yourself before reacting. Now, if it's with an email, some people write an email and save it to the draft folder and then revise it reread later. We can talk later about strategies. If it's in the moment, it's more difficult. What really helps is a certain framing of mind to think about being the emotional adult in the room, whatever you're dealing with any stakeholders, think of yourself as the adult and think of anyone you deal with as a five year old kid. How would you react to a five year old kid, we would not, you know, shout at the kid unless you're kind of a really a jerk. And then a fleet of five year old kids, they make mistakes all the time. They're dumb, they're stupid, whatever. You should not chat with me. That's not good parenting. So thinking of yourself as the emotional adult in the room, really helps you manage the situation manage your cool, manage your emotions. Now, of course, that a person is an adult, but that framing that frame of mind is very helpful to making good decisions. And it helps you take that external perspective from outside the situation. And that's been another research based techniques that really shows that it's very helpful to take that perspective from outside the situation as the emotional adult in the room to make good decisions.

Nick
Yeah, you did discuss strategy. I don't think we have to wait to get into that. And I am one of those people, I do have a timer on my email. So no emails go out for at least two minutes. That way, you know, in the heat of the battle, I have two minutes to sort of catch my breath, simmer down before going to retrieve it and stop it. What else can people do? Like? How it maybe maybe you don't have to talk about like specifics, but just how do they recognize...in the heat of the moment you said, count to 10 seconds, but how do they recognize in the in the bigger picture, the macro picture, that they have these tendencies and they can sort of structure things to try to counteract that. What would you add any sort of recommendations in that regard?

Dr. Tsipursky
So what you want to do is learn about your specific tendencies. So you need to know yourself to be it's kinda hard for you to manage yourself in a moment, right? That's a weakness of yours. For me a big weakness is called the optimism bias. So we all of us are are prone to certain cognitive biases. cognitive bias is the specific name that cognitive neuroscientists and behavioral economists like myself give to the deviations from the right decisions, the systemic patterns of deviations from the right decisions we that we make, because of how our brain is wired because of our intuitions, our feelings, our emotions, reactions, whatever cognitive biases you can look them up, there's a list of over 100 and Wikipedia, my book, "Never go with your Gut", how the best leaders make the best decisions and avoid businesses as theirs. talks about the 30 most dangerous cognitive biases and how you can avoid them in business settings. So what you want to do is learn about what's particular for you. So the optimism bias is the worst for me. Optimism bias refers to the fact that I tend to think the world is nice, better, the future will be good. I tend to have high expectations...too high of myself and other people. You know, I have 20 ideas before breakfast, and I think all of them are brilliant. You know that that's I've learned that that is not the case that I have too high expectations, I am risk blind to my ideas not being great. And I had to learn that. So that's one of my biggest weaknesses. And everyone has certain weaknesses that they're more prone to. So the book "Never go with your Gut", in chapter seven has an assessment, helping you go through the kind of cognitive biases that we all experience that are the most dangerous ones in business settings, and figure out which ones are most prevalent for you. For example, the first question on that asks, of all the projects that you've done in your workplace in the last year, what percentage of them have gone over time or over budget? So that's a simple question. And you just want to think back to that and think about what's the percentage so whenever I asked that group of executives, I hear people say something, you know, ranging from 5% to six weeks ago, somebody said, 98%!! 5%...that's not bad. 10%...It's not bad...when you're getting into the 30s that's becoming more serious, you know. 50s Oh, that's very serious. 98% is way, way, way bad! So when that happens, because we tend to think we are good people, and our plans are good, and we're confident about ourselves, and we don't imagine all the problems that go wrong with our plans, although these issues. So we fall into what's called the planning fallacy. And that's one of the cognitive biases. So you want to learn about all of these cognitive biases, and then the specific strategies to avoid each one. So I can talk about each of avoiding the optimism bias and to learn how optimistic I tend to be and calibrate myself by decreasing my optimism. Also for major ideas, I run them by people who are pessimistic. So I run a company of six people, Disaster Avoidance Experts, and I make sure to hire not simply optimists. I like working optimists. It's fun to work with other optimists, but it's not going to be helpful for making good decisions. So make sure to hire pessimists and run late 20 brilliant ideas before breakfast by them and they'll say, you know, maybe these three are worthwhile to do and then we go forward with these three...after they fix the problems.

Nick
It's funny how some of the biases sort of link into one another because that bias would could easily link into the confirmation bias where you would hire people who would basically confirm the same feel the same ideas that you have. So by hiring pessimists, you can help avoid a different bias as well.

Dr. Tsipursky
Yes, exactly. So that is there's a number of benefits to hiring other people, people who are different than you on a number of categories. So you want to learn about all these cognitive biases and make sure to have cognitive diversity on your team people who have different thought patterns, who would not simply exacerbate each other's weaknesses, but complement each other strengths. And having a pessimist on my team helps to that. So that those are there are specific techniques to address all of them. Now, there are a couple of techniques that are described in the book that you can Institute as part of a policy for yourself and for your organization to actually make much better decisions. One is for everyday casual decisions that you make, that you don't want to screw up, like, let's say, meeting with a client and making sure not to go off on that client or stakeholder. And another is more major decisions, more serious ones, let's say, launching a major product or something like that. So the first technique only takes a couple of minutes. If that asks you to ask five questions about the decision. The other technique takes about an hour, because it's much more thorough, you want to get as perfect answer as possible. So I'll go for the quick technique right now. So five questions that you ask about any decision. You don't want to screw up. It's not meant to get the perfect man to get you the perfect decisions, but just minimize problems.

First question...what important information didn't I yet fully consider? So what evidence that you take into account, Nick already mentioned the confirmation bias, where we tend to look for information that confirms our beliefs and ignore information that doesn't. So you want to look specifically for information that goes against your preference, so it goes against the choice that you want to make. If you can't prove that you're wrong, that's great. Then you're more are likely to be right. And if you can prove that you're wrong, that's also great because you make a better decision. So let's say you're writing an email to a client, let's say, let's take that scenario. And you It's tempting to ignore information of the client won't do what you want the client to do. But if you actually incorporate that look for that information incorporated into the email, then you have a much stronger email and the client is more likely to do what you want to do if you address their concerns in advance. So that's one...

Second...what dangerous judgment errors haven't you fully considered? So what cognitive bias is haven't you addressed? If you tend to be let's say, optimist, if you tend to be pessimistic, you might not you might have too negative of a perception about this email. And so you want to address that maybe you should have better expectations that the client will do what you want them to do, and make a bigger request than you would usually tend to do. It's especially a problem for women who don't request as much as they should in client negotiations. So that's one thing to free to consider.

Third one...what would a trusted objective advisor tell you? This is a really useful question. You think about what that little angel on your shoulder will tell you take a step outside the situation, what would you tell a trusted friend to do in this situation? And of course, call the trusted and objective advisor or if you're a millennial, text that person.

Four...how have you addressed all the ways this decision could fail? So let's say you're writing that email and your client is right now stuck at home due to the Covid 19. And they have their kids crawling over their heads. They're in a bad mood, they're distracted, it's really hard for them...think about reading the email from that perspective, from being in a bad mood and being distracted. Make sure to clarify the email in such a way that even people in a bad mood wouldn't be negatively interpreted and draw attention to the most important parts of the email for distracted clients.

And finally (5), what new evidence would cause you to change your mind? so what would cause you to re evaluate The situation for the email, you could say that you can have an evaluation point, you could say, if I don't hear from my client in a week, I'll call my client. And that will be very helpful for you because then you can just go out and do your other things. I'm sure you have plenty of things to do as the all of us. Otherwise, you'll just be kind of, it'll be in the back of your mind, you'll be waiting to hear from your clients will be wondering what's happening. It'll be drawing time, attention, energy, away from you, it'll be causing your stress, rather than having a clearer evaluation points, but it can completely let it go and go forward. So those five questions will minimize the problems that you make in your decision. And they're really helpful for you as an individual. And if you get your team as a whole, to use those five questions for any decision, it makes for much quicker and more effective team decision making meetings can be structured using the agenda, those five questions, so it's very helpful to use those.

Nick
So you're actually recommending to use that sort of question structure in a team meeting as well.

Dr. Tsipursky
Absolutely.Yes, people found find these very helpful in team meetings, you have all my clients do this, because it takes you through the very important steps to minimize problems. This, again is not maximizing success, but it's minimizing problems and just of your everyday decisions that you're making in the workplace are about minimizing problems...removing risks.

Nick
Yeah. So there are two types of decisions that are completely fascinating. interesting to me, in this will kind of segue into our Covid 19 discussion, the first two set of decisions are dealing with the types of outcomes that can occur generally, you know, in good versus bad outcomes. It's fairly easy to make a decision. You know, we want the good outcome. We don't want the bad outcome. I'm especially interested where there are no good outcomes. It's I have a bad outcome, and I have an even worse outcome. And I'm always amazed at, in that sort of decision making, how difficult it is for the person or the team making the decision for a bad outcome. It's so difficult and inevitably becomes a worse outcome. Right. And that sort of goes into our Covid 19 discussion. I there's a there's another set of decision making that kind of leads into that as well. But that's essentially what we had here. Right. Like we had, back in January, we had the decision to basically shut everything down then before there was any evidence here in the States that we needed to do anything, which would have been a bad outcome. And now we're getting the worst outcome. Yes. Right. And so I'd like to get your color and your context on that sort of decision making. Because it's not it's not easy to deliberate on that. You're If you're if you're purposely choosing something bad to happen, like everything was running smooth as clockwork, up until the end of January, and then it's kind of deteriorated rapidly. So when things are going that good, it's hard to just say, Hey, I'm putting the brakes on this, and we're gonna, we're gonna be really harsh about what we need to do. But we ended up getting it anyways, and probably even worse. Can you talk about that?

Dr. Tsipursky
Sure. So we definitely got the situation much worse than we really should have given the evidence that we had available. I mean, the health experts who are looking at this, saying that we screwed up majorly royally especially with the testing, because the CDC, under the direction of the political administration has chosen not to adopt the worldwide test kit that was actually effective and instead shipped out really bad kits that we invented here at home that were technically deficient. so screwed up testing, and as a result, we did not catch the disease in nearly enough time, so we don't know where it's going on. And because we don't have nearly enough information about how, where it's going and how bad it is, we've had to do a lot more shutdowns. And we've had a lot more people who are sick than they should have been. If we're able to do testing, and then get the infected people in the population isolated in the timely manner, then we wouldn't have to have these shutdowns. So we really did screw up very majorly. Now, I want to go back to the kind of concepts we're dealing with here. It's very uncomfortable. So we're talking about gut reactions, gut reactions have to do with feelings and feelings are about comfort and discomfort. It's very uncomfortable for us to ponder a situation that's uncomfortable. That's bad information. Bad news, when everything seems like it's going well, when everything seems like it's going smoothly, and this leads so many leaders into disastrous situations, Toys R Us thought that everything was going smoothly when it chose not to invest in Online retailing and it had good sales and firstly in the stores, and of course, Amazon overtook it and then it went bankrupt. And that's a story for a number of stores that chose not to do online retailing. So it's uncomfortable to invest into something new into something different when everything seems to be going hunky dory. Now, there was an interesting study done on boards of directors that fired their CEOs. So CEOs who are fired boards of directors, 1087 board, boards of directors members interviewed from 286 companies and other organizations. And they found that one of the top five reasons for firing the CEO on the top five reasons 23% of the CEOs were fired for denialism. Denialism, meaning to ignoring negative information about the reality of the situation. And this is exactly what happened. This is ignoring negative reality. We knew that the Covid 19 was spreading. We knew that we had situations going on and the the health care authorities under the political administration in this country effectively ignored this information until we kind of got into a really screwy situation where we had to do much more lockdown/shutdowns and pain to the economy. I mean, this is what's happening right now all these shutdowns are a result of inadequate testing, inadequate problematic testing and the deaths that are coming from now are a result of inadequate testing. Right now, other countries have had better much better testing like South Korea, even though it's spread pretty quickly in South Korea. It's right now very much slower because they had very good testing. And they didn't have to do these shutdowns. So South Korea is much better off in the US because of this.

Nick
Yeah. And I almost think gut instinct did play a role. Of course, you mentioned you mentioned, you'd mentioned the uncomfortableness, the bad feelings but also I would say As much as as much as there's a lot of people now patting themselves on the shoulder saying, Yeah, I, we predicted this. I think most people were sort of in the camp of how is this different than the flu? Was this different than the SARS epidemic? We survived that why do we have to shut down the contrary, there was a lot there was a lot of that and I will be the I will be, you know, I'll volunteer and say, you know, put myself in the, in the, in the shackles of being wrong here. That was my first instinct was, you know, it's probably a more infectious type of the flu we survived this will be will be fine. And I think it wasn't until, you know, Italy began locking down that I said, Oh, no, it's probably something worse. You know, so my, my kind of envision that I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of politicians, that a lot of them probably felt the same way. And it was uncomfortable to Think about what needed to be done. But the gut instinct was we've seen this before. You know, and and it wasn't it wasn't that bad before will survive. You know? How wrong Am I thinking that way?

Dr. Tsipursky
Yes, it's definitely a problematic thought pattern. And I think here what's going on is that many people didn't realize that will Wuhan is a city that's about as developed as the North. And I mean, it's a city of 10 million people. It's about as developed as Italy. It's about as developed as most cities in the US. So more developed than most cities in the US. So, I mean, I was looking at Wuhan and I was already earlier, you can see my state public statements, saying that this is going to be bad. We really need to prepare and have been beating the drum for a while. So I'm not going to put myself in the shackles here, because most people don't recognize how developed China is and how good of a place that is. I mean, the Chinese government in that sense, and I am not saying in terms of democracy, that's horrible and terrible in terms of the surveillance, lack of democracy. But economically, China, many places in China, including Wuhan are about as developed as most places in the US. So if what was happening in will Wuhan in December, in the late December, early January, it was very clear that it was going to spread it was going to be bad anywhere when it landed, because of how good of an infrastructure China has in terms of health.

Nick
It just goes to show you that like how bad gut instincts are, yes, like in all this, because I think most people, their gut instincts about China is that as soon as you get out of the, you know, I know, it's like a billion and a half people, but I think folks think there are a handful of very large cities, and once you get inlands it's, it's mostly farmland and peasants that are living there. And that's actually not the case like that. That is an old stereotype that doesn't actually fit anymore. And again, that gut instinct Is that something like that could be very harmful? Because you're completely misinterpreting what is actually happening there.

Dr. Tsipursky
You are. And I think it's especially bad from the perspective of politicians. I'm not taking sides here, politicians on all sides are getting briefings. For top politicians, Democrats, Republicans, everyone are getting briefings out regularly on the Chinese industrial capacities...on the Chinese economy. So they should have very well known that who Wuhan was a very well developed city, equivalent to 10 million people. I mean, it's equivalent to LA, Chicago, New York. So it's really a highly developed city, they should have known and they should have taken steps earlier. So I fault politicians on all sides for who weren't beating the drums. And you know, I didn't really see many politicians on either side beating the drums here.

Nick
Yeah. And, and so that leads us to, given what is happening, what will happen and how we kind of emerge from that, what do we learn? I'll my my sense is that we will learn a lot of wrong lessons because of gut instinct. We will do some things correct. But that gets into the other second set of decision making outcomes that I'm most focused on, which are these low frequency, high severity outcomes, to really difficult to prepare for because, as I mentioned, before we started recording, I saw a tweet today where someone was saying, you know, we have a National Petroleum Reserve, why don't we have a national ventilator reserve for something like that? And I don't know if that's the right decision. Like I don't know if you know, this sort of pandemic, with the, you know, low probability of what it is and what it does. Should we have the reserve to fight these sort of pandemics on the fly, like what should we be as a society actively preparing for these types of pandemic in the in the in the macro aggregate, like basically a set of warehouses all over the country that have masks and ventilators and garb? I don't know what the answer is, I'm just saying is the what are the lessons we're going to learn on this? And it just gets to, you know, dealing with earthquakes in California, or floods in other areas, these low frequency high severity things? How do we prepare for those types of how do we make decisions in light of you know, that kind of outcome?

Dr. Tsipursky
Well, I'm first going to question the presumption of a tweet because the tweet is actually wrong. We do have a national ventilator reserve. It's about we have about 10 to 12. We don't know I don't know the exact numbers because they're kept up Federal secret their national secret. But we have somewhere between 10 to 13,000 ventilators actually available in the federal government stores and stores a bunch of masks and so on. So we do have a reserve of things as a preparation for panda.

Nick
Yes, exactly as I didn't know that.

Dr. Tsipursky
Okay. So there you go. Well, we do have, we do have that it's not going to be nearly enough for this of this severity. But it's going to definitely help having those 10,000 ventilators. So that's going to be good, then that can be rushed to any area of the country. Now going back to whether we should have it. It's a matter of how we invest our resources and preparing for pandemic. I think the government has been very slow in getting the industry to prepare and address the pandemic. So that's been something that could have been done much earlier. So something that we don't know all the ways you know, everything from an asteroid strike right to happen. demmick two major flooding global, you know, typhoon or something like that all of that stuff could happen. And we don't know what the specific problems will be. So while we should certainly invest some resources, I think that having 10,000 ventilators is a reasonable amount. What we should have actually, in addition to that is a much quicker capacity to produce more ventilators to retool our industries to produce whatever we need to address the situation. And the current administration is really not able to do that in the fact that the national epidemic Task Force was disbanded a couple of years ago, that was really bad. Why disbanded. I mean, it's not like it was a drawing much of a salary. It's not like it was really a serious situation, the leadership, that is we didn't have the leadership we didn't have the responsibility. So having plans and having someone in place who is able to implement these plans is much cheaper than producing, you know, 100,000, ventilators. And it's arguably more important, because those people who know what the plans are having planning, having capacity, being able to respond quickly on the fly to the situation is much better than not, then just having a variety of suppliers, that's going to be very expensive. So having that capacity to respond, retool having leaders in place who are able to do so that's what's really needed, I think,

Nick
yeah. How would you, counsel when this is done? No, it'll be done at some point. How would you get to the other side? How would you counsel let's say you could get in a room with leadership, and you could counsel them? How How would you counsel them on gut instinct on avoiding biases? So I one versus just giving advice?

Dr. Tsipursky
Sure. I want to first talk about when this will be done, just to make sure that I get this out there because I think this is a really important point. A lot of people think this will be done in a few weeks, or a couple of months, completely unrealistic by people who think that are falling into what's called the normalcy bias, where they're judging the immediate future that by the past and in the past, the epidemic, SARS and so on, have been pretty short term and even, you know, they have not really continued and harmed a lot of people. Now, this is going to be a really different situation. We very clearly see that this pandemic Covid 19 coronavirus pandemic will be actually going on for much longer than most people think it will be going on until we create a vaccine. It's not it doesn't look like it will fade by the summer. You know, it's spreading in areas like Florida pretty quickly. And Florida is very nice and warm. It's the kind of temperature that most of the northern United States gets in the summer. So it's not likely to disappear in the summer, it's likely to get even worse and in the fall back in the fall. So what will likely Have is having the situation continue until the Covid 19 continue in the US until we have an effective vaccine and that effective vaccine, it'll probably take a couple of years to create an effective vaccine and make it enough of it to for a wide audience for everyone, probably about 18 months, actually, that's the perfect scenario would be getting 18 months for an effective vaccine, and then maybe another year or so to get enough fluid out there for everyone. And that's the ideal scenario. So a couple of years is the ideal. more realistically, the first vaccine won't be very effective, maybe 50% effectiveness, or something like that. And then it'll take a few more years to create an effective vaccine. So we'll be in this for the next several years. And what business leaders and professionals and everyone needs to do is prepare for it to be around for the next several years and change their business model their approach to their whole business or career in order to adapt to the situation effectively. So I want to make sure to talk about that how a lot of people are greatly under estimating that kind of thing. The impact that this situation will have on their business and on their careers.

Nick
Yeah, let's talk about that. I mean, that's I fall into the normalcy bias. I have a science background and my instincts are that, yeah, it'll, I can't I can't knock that feeling that this is somewhat related to how we how we dealt with SARS, or the flu or something like this. And, hey, by the summer, we'll have a lot of this under control. But yeah, it makes perfect sense that it would flare up again, that we wouldn't be able to kind of bottle it up. So how do people prepare let's let's assume that both of us need to go to offices with executives that need to make decisions for their for their businesses, and you were suggesting you're going to need to change your business model what how would what do you what? How should they start thinking of this?

Dr. Tsipursky
So far, executive speaker Who are in leadership positions? They need to start thinking both internally and externally. So internally, right now, you know a lot of people are working from home, right? And they think it'll be a couple of weeks working from home and then we'll go back to the office. That's the assumption. That's what people are thinking, overwhelmingly, this is not going to happen. What will happen most likely is working from home for a month or two, then maybe there'll be some listing restrictions, and then coronavirus will kick back up again, and there'll be a tightening of restrictions, they'll go back to working from home for a long time until trying to go back to the office, though, so you'll have kind of a yo yoing effect going on. Now you can realistically keep the current internal structure of your company with a yo yo in situation where you're spending a great deal of time working from home. So you need to think right now about how your company will change its internal structure. There are so many problems that you that are taken care of by someone dropping into somebody's office and having a quick chat and addressing it. You know, maybe Have you over the meeting in the hallways over the watercooler? Those are not going to be happening anymore. So how are you going to be knitting a lot of these problems, miscommunications, misunderstandings in the butt, that are naturally happened right now in the office, how are you going to make sure that people are accountable, you know, right now for a couple of weeks, people can work at home. But in the long term, it will be hard to make sure that people are accountable when they work from home. So you as a leader, need to create accountability structures that would be appropriate to people working from home, changing your everyday reporting your everyday what however you hold them accountable right now, you're not going to be walking for the office and checking out what people are doing right, which is right now what a lot of leaders are doing and it's not a bad thing, it's a fine thing. That's an appropriate way to hold people accountable. Make sure the boss the leader is seen and visible and checks out how everybody is doing, but you are not going to be able to do that. So you need to change your internal structure. So dress that you need to change your internal structures to make sure that people can collaborate together effectively, again, a couple of weeks working from home is fine. But how will you over time make sure that people can collaborate effectively, when they're not working? When they're not in the office? How will they brainstorm new ideas? How will they adapt to creating new products, that those are all things that you need to be thinking about, and addressing going forward how you problem solve digital problem solving, collaboration is very different. So you need to train yourself, you need to put your resources, your money into training your staff. So changing your internal organization, figuring that stuff out, getting some professional development yourself, or how this works in virtual companies that do most of their stuff virtually, and training their staff on a lot of internal developments. Because if you don't, if your company will be mainly virtual, which it looks like is going to be the reality for the next several years, you will really need to train people on doing things very differently than there used to be doing. And of course, there was separate part about external service delivery, but I'm going to stop right now. See if you have any Question about internal structural optimization?

Nick
Yeah, well, I mean, just from, from what I've heard, I spoke to a brokerage firm yesterday that has offices scattered all over the United States, one of the largest in the country. Everyone's not working from home. And they weren't, they're not set up to do that. So as they logged in, the system crashed, nobody's working. And so it is a retooling of every aspect of the business model. There's there, you literally have to think about how every, every facet of the company, every employee, how they used to work in an office environment, is now going to transition to something that's different. And as someone who has worked from home for the better part of three years, collaboratively, collaboratively working with a team, it's incredibly different.

Dr. Tsipursky
It really is. You know,

Nick
like, it's just the collaboration part just having in an office environment, being able to stand up, walk to a quiet room with a whiteboard and discuss ideas. Yeah. Do we get in zoom is great, but it's not the same. It's really not. It's it's hard to build momentum as well. You know, so. Yeah. So like, just that part of it. Gleb is concerning to me. I think I think of like executive leadership, and this is they have to not only manage their team, but manage themselves because they're going to have to, as you said, they're going to have to learn themselves how to do this. You'll see they're going to really struggle. their gut instinct getting back to that their gut instinct is going to be really bad. Yeah. in this situation for how they reward how they chastise. You know how they make people accountable. They're going to Doing it from the vantage point of an office just very different.

Dr. Tsipursky
You're absolutely right. Yeah, and this is a big problem subsetting all, literally all aspects of internal structure have to be changed. And we're not even getting into that stuff, you kind of mentioned it crashing, there's gonna be a lot of more hackers who are trying to access sensitive information. And of course, everyone's home computers aren't nearly as protected as their work computers. So you'll also have to be thinking about all of these security things. But anyway, all of these things will have to be reconsidered. That's internal. And of course, your external structure will have to be reconsidered. Now, then let's talk about the insurance business that is based on trust. You need to sell if you're selling insurance, if you're working on insurance, you need to get your client to trust you and keep trust in your time to have an effective collaboration. That's so that is very important. Insurance is based on trust. How will you get your clients to keep trusting you if you're not having those face to face meetings, which are interesting To building up trust, you're not going to have though you know, you're not going to have those face to face me worse.

Nick
Yeah. Then worse. How How do you prospect?

Dr. Tsipursky
Yep. And that's the whole one whole one? entrances. Yeah. One is retention, which is the first thing you should be focusing on is retention right now, that's definitely the first thing. You know, it takes much more money and time to get a new client than it takes to retain an old client. So retention, and the and you need to learn how to retain clients because those are somewhat lower stakes environments than prospecting, prospecting. You don't have a basis of trust. So one is you current clients, you have a basis of trust. So you need to retain that trust. That's easier to do than building up trust with a prospect who you can only have these Videoconference with. Right? You're not going to have those face to face meetings. So how will you build up that trust? How will you have that whole like you said sales process with in the context of virtual conversations, that's going to be very different, a lot of people a lot of your salespeople Whole are very much based on person to person interaction, you need to train them on this, you need to prepare them for this and some of them won't be able to make the transition and then you have to be realistic about that. So that's a big complication. Right? Then you also want to be thinking about how will you maintain relationships with stakeholders who aren't clients, or vendors, so on? How will you maintain those relationships with other people in the business, other insurance professionals, your networking will not be going on and associations anymore, those association meetings, yes, they'll still have the virtual webinars, and that will be great for training on the information from the association. But you know, you're not going to be able to go to the local, let's say Rams meeting brisket and insurance management society meeting that will have the in person interaction that will where the back of the hallway conversations will enable you to collaborate with each other effectively for networking. So you need to be able to replace that as well. So all of these external aspects of your business model will need to be replaced as well. And that's something that you need to be thinking about right now. Because you it will not, this thing will be around for the next several years, you need to start right now sitting down shifting your strategic plans. That is the most important thing that you need to be thinking about as a leader, as an executive, as a manager, a supervisor, need to be thinking about the strategic plan for your business unit or for your organization as a whole. So how will you change your strategic plan going forward for the next three years for the next five years can be around for the next five years? How will you change your strategic plan for the next five years to incorporate all of this? And then you also want to be thinking about, hey, as I'm going forward, my competitors who are very short term oriented, they have that fight or flight response, and they are thinking they're working from home for just a couple of weeks. They will be hobbled, they will be falling behind. So how will you be able to seize market share from your competitors who are not going to be well positioned for this new brave, brave new world? That's fine. ourselves and so seizing market share from them should be part of the strategic plan. And that's something that right now that's it's hard for you to think of, it may be hard for you to think of seizing market share. But this is something that when I bring it to my clients, I've been talking to a whole bunch of clients about this, of course, they realize how they can position their business to seize market share from competitors, if they have a good strategic plan for virtual service delivery, and internal organization.

Nick
Yeah, and the more you're talking, the more they're continuously racks up additional line items of Wow, I hadn't thought about this. Just you know, you mentioned the local rooms. What about the the annual conference where there's 10,000

Dr. Tsipursky
fans has been cancelled, that was going to be a speaker there.

Nick
But But now, think of going forward. It's gonna change a lot, right? Like there aren't any conferences anymore where you don't have the whole point of view. During conferences, the networking aspect of it, and now there's software, where you go to these conferences, and it can link you and you meet at this table. But if you can't meet face to face, like all of that needs to be replaced, Yep, exactly.

Dr. Tsipursky
replaced, and you need to figure out how to replace it. And there are ways you can do virtual, of course, video conferencing, you can do LinkedIn conversations, but that needs to have a lot of professional development. And it won't be the same in many ways. So you need to be thinking about these like, you're absolutely right, Nick, and that's

Nick
wild. I want to I want to end this conversation by getting back to your book because we talked about saber toothed tigers, right, which, you know, gut instinct, and that's when it was valid. But do you find that there's still a use for gut instinct, when should we use gut instinct when isn't valuable? Because evolution did give us that ability. It probably still has some useful value somewhere. What pockets of decision making can Where can we use gut instinct as a as a valuable tool?

Dr. Tsipursky
Well, one area is when you have a bus hurtling at you, you don't want to be sitting there standing there and going questions? Should I move out of the way or should I not? That's okay.

Nick
I'll go along with that.

Dr. Tsipursky
Yes, that's a good time. Another one is when you want to, there's a similarity. So when you're in tribal environment, you were in a small tribe with your tribal members for a long time. So that was another aspect of that evolutionary environment of the ancestral Savannah, of being hunter gatherers. So when you've been with somebody for a long time, you know, their mannerisms, and when you send something is off, that's the time when you can also trust your gut instinct more that hey, you know, I know this person for a while, but right now what they're saying, based on my knowledge of their previous interactions with them, there's something's off Something's Weird, maybe I'll question this business deal. This prospect, a little bit more than I usually would, because I have a long standing relationship with them. Now that's going to be much more complicated, of course, for virtual connections. And I think that that's going to make it much more difficult to actually use any tools that our gut reactions are providing for us in reading people. Because kind of interactions that people have online, through video conference. It's very hard to be confident about our read on people, just because other people may be uncomfortable. But then because they've just started using zoom, and they have never used zoom before, and they're not sure what's going on, you know, and they're not confident about you know, how weird they're looking or their backdrop or something like that. So, these are things that you can be even right now, in this brave new world of the pandemic. There's less use for the gut instinct than there used to be in our regular face to face interactions. Yeah, yeah.

Nick
Thank you so much for spending time on a Saturday. That was helpful. My guests This week has been Dr. Gleb, supper ski. Man, we learned a lot and I appreciate it. And I leave this particular conversation more optimistic because I feel like I have a better toolkit to use. But in the sad environment, it's just it's hard to be too optimistic. So, yeah. Thank you so much. Appreciate you coming on.

Dr. Tsipursky
Thank you so much for inviting me back that I appreciate the opportunity to share about this with your audience. Okay. Thank you.