Does Your Brain Have More Gray Matter or White Matter? And Why the Heck Should You Care?

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Before we answer the above questions, let’s start with a few more.  Have you ever wondered how you make decisions?  Would you like to know so that you can improve your decision making ability?  Would you like to know how your group/organization makes decisions and take some action to improve their decision making capabilities – if you could?

Would you prefer that decision makers (From Black Rock Blog):

 “Focus more on long term goals OR short term metrics?”

“Be thorough and take time OR be more impulsive?”

“Recognize their shortcomings and seek more information and help OR assume they know everything?”

Consider rights of others and be more cooperative OR not worry about that and focus on the task?

Be more inquisitive and see more solutions OR depend on rules, regulations and traditional ways of doing business?

Utilize Cooperation, Collaboration and Consensus-building to make better decisions and more effectively execute decisions OR ummm not?

 If you were leaning more to the left of those questions and want more of those qualities in decision makers, then it’s important that you know the following about these types of decision makers (From Harvard Business Review):

  •  They have 15% of gray matter compared to their counterparts(Gray matter equals information processing capabilities)
  • They have 10 times more white matter than their counterparts(White matter equals connecting the dots between the information produced by the gray matter)
  • The cord connecting the left and right sides of their brain is 10% thicker!!

And in case you were wondering why you should care, here are some corresponding business results (From Science Daily):

  •  Boards with high representation from such decision makers experience a 53% higher return on equity, a 66% higher return on invested capital and a 42% higher return on sales (Joy et al., 2007).
  • Having just one such decision maker on the board cuts the risk of bankruptcy by 20% (Wilson, 2009).
  •  When such directors are appointed, boards adopt new governance practices earlier, such as director training, board evaluations, director succession planning structures (Singh and Vinnicombe, 2002)
  • They make other board members more civilized and sensitive to other perspectives (Fondas and Sassalos, 2000) and reduce ‘game playing’ (Singh, 2008)
  • They are more likely to ask questions rather than nodding through decisions (Konrad et al., 2008).

 It would be very simple if I gave you an easy way of identifying such decision makers and then bringing them into your organization and making sure that their special attributes were being utilized in decision making?  Or, if there were an easy way of identifying these types of decision makers in your organization and then promoting them to make sure you were getting better decision making?  Or, making sure that all your teams have enough representation of these types of decision makers to ensure that teams are making better decisions and executing them more effectively?  We all wish life were that simple, don’t we?  Those that follow us regularly or have been through Strategic Sourcing/Supply Chain “U” with us will quickly remember the significance of decision making as a competency in organizations and why we spend so much time on it.  We have been doing extensive research and writing about decision making and other strategic competencies as being fundamental to the success of organizations.

Oh by the way, I forgot to tell you about another attribute that these types of decision makers share and it might important to note.  They are homogametic.  They are women.

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Dalip Raheja
Dalip Raheja is President and CEO of The Mpower Group (TMG). Dalip has over 30 years of experience managing large organizations and change initiatives. He has worked across the spectrums of supply chain management, strategic sourcing, and management consulting.


  1. Marcia Sheer on

    Dalip, Great article! Could I have your permission to forward it to the women’s group (WISE – Women Influencing Success in Energy) of which I am an officer? Thanks.

  2. Pingback: Just Focus on What They Wear-Throw Away Myers-Briggs - News You Can Use

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