Do You Have A Social Brain Trust?

by Jay Deragon on 04/22/2010

We all make daily decisions that impact our lives professionally and personally. Decision making is a process of choosing options aimed at solving problems or initiating actions aimed at progressive steps forward. The wrong decision can cost time and money which then requires more decisions aimed at corrective actions.

Wisdom would suggest that in order to make sound decisions ones must acquire relevant knowledge needed to insure effective decisions. None of us have all the knowledge about everything needed to insure improvement in our decisions. Those who think they do are considered narcissistic which breeds ignorance, errors and anti-social behavior.

In an ever changing world making the wrong business decision can be costly. The business landscape is filled with examples of organizations, big and small, which have lost market share, key employees, customer confidence and shareholder value due to one or a series of bad decisions.

Individually similar consequences can be seen when we make personal decisions that are wrong. Consider Tiger Woods decisions. Consider personal decisions that cost you time, money and relationships. A reflection of those decisions, both personal and professional, typically reveal poor judgment due to the lack of knowledge needed to consider the risk related to said decisions.

The Value of Having Brain Trust

Many of us have close associates or friends whom we trust for input and advise on critical decisions. However most of us associate with people with whom we have an affinity and affinities can suggest a limited scope of knowledge. Thus when we seek advise from a group of people with common knowledge, verse diverse knowledge, we limit the scope of knowledge needed to make effective decisions.

The wisdom of the ages suggest that “a wise man seeks counsel from the many”. The “many” is a reference to having a small group of people with diverse knowledge as key advisers on relevant and relative decisions we make personally and professionally.  In modern times business leaders and politicians have formed what is known as “brain trust” to advise them on key decisions.

Brain trust began as a term for a group of close adviser’s to a political candidate or incumbent, prized for their expertise in particular fields.  More recently the use of the term has expanded to encompass any group of advisers to a decision maker, whether or not in politics.

Emerging Social Brain Trust

The world of social technology has enabled individuals and organizations to “connect” with more people than ever before in the history of mankind. While the expansion of “connections” increases reach the vetting of connections increases wisdom. We may be able to reach thousands or even millions  of individuals for commercial purposes but when it comes to gaining wisdom it comes down to a “trusted few”.

Much has been written about “trust”. In the world of expanded connections trust gets created from observing one’s behavior, content and circles of influence referenced by the vital few relations we follow consistently.  Within the “vital few” there is a smaller group of people we form true relations with and to rely on for wisdom gained and shared from their diverse knowledge. The synergy, trust and appreciated value formed becomes our “brain trust” from which we can use to improve our decision making processes and subsequent outcomes. We add value to our “social brain trust” by sharing our own knowledge and relations.  We eagerly look to serve our “social brain trust” interest or needs because of the mutual exchange of value created from the wisdom shared and gained.

Social Brain Trust are nodes of small groups of diverse knowledge. Individuals within the nodes may not initially know the other individuals within the other nodes. However, the individual Social Brain Trust are indeed connected but not realized until new knowledge is sot, shared or required for one node to help an individual or organization make an effective decision. The effect of “Social Brain Trust” is hidden but being realized and actualized more and more every day.

{ 21 comments }

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