During the Summer, awe-inspiring, ex-fighter jet pilot, Mandy Hickson chatted to our CEO Jeff Dewing about decision making in high pressure situations.

For a fighter pilot, these extreme scenarios can occur at a moment’s notice because of the speed at which they’re flying. Mandy explained how she made those decisions when she had almost no time.

The answer? Practice, practice, practice. Mandy would spend hours upon hours in the flight simulator going over emergency situations, of which she was required to respond to. She explains that what they’re trying to create from the simulator environment is automated responses to outrageous situations that would need a lot of thought processing and processing power. So, if she is able to automate those responses then she can free up the creative space in her brain to be thinking about things.

The other element that Mandy was taught, through a human factors training programme, was a decision-making model called DODAR. It is used across the entirety of the aviation world, commercial and military, and DODAR stands for: Diagnose the problem, share it with your team.

So often poor decisions are made because one might see something that another doesn’t.  Both have got different mental models. The effective way to overcome discrepancies and poor decisions is to diagnose it, share it, and ask your team for the options, without sharing what you think. The leader should then make the decision based on all of the input. Assign the tasks and review it. This prevents procrastination in decision making and speeds that up as well.

For further insight in to Mandy and Jeff ‘s take on making decisions in high pressure situations, watch the video below.