GM Yellow Cabs and Psychedelics (1)

Yellow Cabs and Psychedelics

Expand Your Mindset To Shift Strategies

Executives often face the challenge of maintaining an open mind when considering options. They often rely on familiar strategies and solutions. Left unchecked, cognitive biases cloud their judgment and limit creative thinking. Ironically, ambiguous situations demand that we explore new perspectives if we are to truly innovate and advance our circumstances. But we’re instinctually wired to associate with the familiar and notice when things don’t align with patterns or expectations. It’s much more natural for us to stick to the familiar and then look for the differences.

Advancing, evolving, and innovating requires that we set conditions and consider decision frameworks that force us out of the tendency to “stick with what works.”

The theory of “seeing a yellow cab” is a psychological concept related to selective attention and perception. This theory suggests that once a person’s attention is drawn to a specific object or idea, they tend to notice it more frequently in their environment. In the case of a yellow cab, for example, if someone mentions or points out yellow cabs to you, you are more likely to start noticing them on the streets, even though they have always been there. (Admittedly, this theory predates Uber and Lyft)

This phenomenon is often referred to as the “Baader-Meinhof phenomenon” or frequency illusion. It occurs when something that has recently come to your attention suddenly seems to appear everywhere. In the context of seeing a yellow cab, once your brain is primed to pay attention to this specific detail, you become more attuned to spotting it, leading to the perception that yellow cabs are more common than they actually are.

The theory of seeing a yellow cab highlights the role of attention, expectation, and perception in shaping our experiences of the world around us. It showcases how our cognitive processes can influence what we notice and remember, ultimately impacting our perception of reality.

So, how do you prime your brain or those of the people surrounding you? Stay with me.

I’ve had my own yellow cab moment recently, but it’s specific to the widening acceptance of the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes. In the past month, I’ve had three separate and unrelated connections to the world of psychedelics enter my network (that I know about).

Growing evidence suggests significant benefits of using psilocybin, a psychedelic compound found in certain mushrooms, in the treatment of depression and anxiety. Clinical studies have shown promising results in reducing symptoms and improving overall well-being in patients who have not responded well to traditional treatments.

In Season 5 of Make Your Move, I interview two veterans with direct association to the use of psilocybin, each with experience in the patient or administrator roles. It’s now possible to participate in controlled sessions following therapeutic protocols. These sessions allow the patient to achieve a level of consciousness that promotes dealing with root problems that cannot be reached through their normal conscious state. 

Psychedelic-assisted therapy is typically administered in controlled settings, with trained professionals guiding patients through their experiences. For example, MDMA-assisted therapy has been used in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), where patients are given a dose of MDMA in conjunction with psychotherapy sessions to help them process and work through their trauma more effectively. These sessions are conducted in a safe and supportive environment to maximize therapeutic outcomes. With rare exceptions, these sessions take place outside the United States as the FDA has yet to embrace various aspects of the treatment.

Market analysts suggest the global market for psychedelic therapeutics will reach billions of dollars in the coming years, driven by increasing acceptance of these treatments and their potential to address unmet needs in mental health care. With ongoing advancements in the field and changing regulatory landscapes, the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes is poised to revolutionize mental health treatment.

Don’t believe me?

Consider how the prevalence of anxiety medicines has evolved just since the turn of the century. If you had asked me five years ago if psychedelic drugs would become mainstream, I’d have said no way. But it’s coming. Looking back to the year 2000, would you have predicted marijuana would be so widely and legally available today? Not likely. We have learned things about the way our minds work that were simply not known or understood as recently as 25 years ago. 

It’s Not Just About the Trip

Patients undergoing psychedelic therapy often go through a preparation phase where they discuss their mental health concerns, medical history, and treatment goals with their therapists. During the therapy session itself, the patient is typically given a controlled dose of the psychedelic substance, such as psilocybin or MDMA, in a comfortable and secure setting. The therapy session is usually conducted in a calm and supportive environment, with the therapist guiding the patient through their psychedelic experience.

After the psychedelic session, patients typically engage in integration sessions to help process and make sense of their experience. These integration sessions aim to help patients reflect on their insights, emotions, and thoughts from the therapy session and integrate them into their daily lives. Follow-up appointments may also be scheduled to monitor progress and provide ongoing support.

I’m not endorsing you embrace psychedelic therapy as the way to root out the problems in the work environment. Not at all. But I am endorsing allowing your mind to expand in ways that might make you uncomfortable as you explore situations and solutions. 

You are likely using an old framework in your decision-making.

Do any of these frameworks sound familiar?

1. Interest-Based Negotiation: This framework focuses on identifying the underlying interests and needs of each party involved in the disagreement rather than just positions. By exploring and understanding the interests driving each side, negotiators can work together to find mutually beneficial solutions that address the core issues and avoid unnecessary conflict.

2. SWOT Analysis: SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is a strategic planning tool that can help businesses assess internal and external factors influencing a decision or disagreement. By conducting a SWOT analysis together, stakeholders can gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation, consider different viewpoints, and develop strategies to leverage strengths, mitigate weaknesses, seize opportunities, and address threats.

3. Six Thinking Hats: Developed by Edward de Bono, the Six Thinking Hats framework is a method for parallel thinking that encourages individuals to approach problem-solving and decision-making from different perspectives or “hats” (e.g., logical thinking, emotional thinking, creative thinking, etc.). By systematically considering various viewpoints and factors, teams can explore multiple angles of a disagreement and arrive at more informed and balanced outcomes.

4. Appreciative Inquiry: Appreciative Inquiry is an approach that focuses on positive organizational change by identifying and amplifying strengths, successes, and opportunities for growth. In the context of business disagreements, this framework encourages participants to shift their focus from problems and conflicts to shared goals and aspirations. By fostering a culture of positivity, collaboration, and shared vision, Appreciative Inquiry can help teams navigate disagreements more productively and creatively.

Wake up. Strategy can evolve quickly as well, and it has. But you likely aren’t paying close enough attention. 

Can your line employees articulate ANY connection between their daily contributions and your overarching reason d’etre? 

Can your leadership team (including overhead support staff) clearly connect their contribution to revenue AND profitability? 

Thinking strategically is hard. Sometimes it’s really hard. 

When I help guide clients through their own strategies, it requires spending time:

  • Challenging underlying assumptions, 
  • Assessing where and how decision power flows and 
  • Allowing leaders the space to self-discover that their perspective can hinder them

If you’d like to learn more about strategy that doesn’t require highly specialized preparation, use of treatment centers, or medical professionals, I’m happy to teach with some new tools.

For a copy of my book, Pitching the Big Top: How to Master the 3-Ring® Circus of Federal Sales, and more information on federal sales, visit Capitol Integration.

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