I Think I Need Some Leadership Chocolate

We’re going to talk about “decision fatigue” during LeadershipChat this week (8 pm ET Tuesday), and for me, this is a timely subject.

Rarely will I strongly recommend that people read a long, in-depth newspaper article. However, the basis for our topic is this fascinating NY Times article on the subject of decision fatigue by John Tierney, which outlines a fascinating premise – that our capacity to make decisions declines over time as we become fatigued by decision after decision.

There’s also some great justification toward the end of the article for keeping some chocolate at hand if you’re a decision-making leader…!!

I’ve done manual labor, which is physically fatiguing, and I’ve done mental labor, which creates its own weariness. But nothing has created more fatigue for me than being a husband and father, while simultaneously being an entrepreneur.

Responsibility. Leadership. Decisions. Initiative. 24/7.

As the article describes it, you get to a point where resistance becomes low, and the default/status quo gets chosen more often out of sheer fatigue.

While I haven’t had a chance to think it all the way through, I suspect that two other streams of fatigue can exacerbate the problem:

  • Failure fatigue – where professional setbacks outnumber successes, and
  • Delay fatigue – where success or goal fulfillment seems to perpetually stay just out of reach.

I don’t have any great answers here, but I certainly see the problem in my own experience! And I hope our discussion during the chat can provide a boost of much-needed leadership chocolate.

Be sure to read Lisa Petrilli‘s take on decision fatigue in her post, The Best Time to Ask Your Boss for a Raise (hint: it’s not late afternoon!)

Make your decision to join us at 8 pm ET Tuesday nights for LeadershipChat on Twitter. You’ll find a very smart and highly-motivated group of professionals who want to bring humanity and reality to leadership!


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Ad-Tech NY Tues. Mid-day

Context is King – Publishing in the Digital Age Roundtable


– Search is a blunt instrument

– Increase relevance! Pool of information is massive.

– Internet users increasingly skeptical of user-created content

– Context – must be relevant, must resonate, must be actionable

– Role of professional editor evolving

– Inside out and Outside in – the new mantra for aggregating content.

Moderator-Pam Horan, President, Online Publishers Association

Betsy Morgan, CEO, Huffington Post

John Byrne, BusinessWeek.com

Vivian Schiller, NYTImes.com

David Morris, CBS Interactive

Robin Steinberg, MediaVest

– Vivian S – Curating the entire web to aggregate content from many realms, including other publishers (Topic pages). LATER THIS MONTH – NY TImes will launch NYTIMES.com TIMES EXTRA – an alternate home page you can choose to see a much broader base of web content. Also TimesPeople – a semi-social network area you can sign up for.

– John B – new initiative called BusinessExchange was launched in Sept. Allows community to decide what you want to create and follow. A conceptual mashup of wikipedia, digg, Flickr. Engine pulls web info together on your chosed topic of interest. No preference to BW content. Content organized around people, who form communities around their interests. Community determines what content rises to the top. Already 700 topics. Seeing what others are valuing. Links to your LinkedIn profile, imported in to your BE profile. Great advertising performance because of targeted audiences. Well-indexed by Google.

– Betsy M – 2,000 bloggers contribute to HuffPo. Mix of curated news and blogs. All they do is curate. Big News page for major people/events (such as Sarah Palin – using her as a prime case study). Huge number of views of Couric/Palin interview from this Big News community. The Palin angle lives on in lots of buckets – not just Politics, but Style, etc. From 3 mill to 22 mill unique monthly visitors to HuffPo from October-October. HuffPo is there to feed people’s Obsessions.

– Robin S – the emotional connection of trust. Lots of magazine brand sites have not kept up, or do not provide the right type of experience (compared to more progressive environments like those above). Need to take a diff. editing philosophy – this isn’t about getting monthly or weekly readers, it’s DAILY. Contextual targeting is the big winner.

How to creatively create new engaged communities? How to connect consumers with each other (and advertisers) around shared interests?

[SW – the tools are out there, and growing. The content is out there. I think the new value-add people are going to be the on-line “community organizers” and content aggregators, with connections to highly relevant advertising and action-taking opportunities. This is really a new business model. This is what was happening with the presidential campaign.]