Decisions under high pressure

    Aviation experts say yesterday’s crash landing on the Hudson River was a “masterful job” and pilot Chesley Sullenberger is being called a hero. How was Sullenberger able to make the right decision under life-and-death pressure?

    Aviation experts say yesterday’s crash landing on the Hudson River was a “masterful job” and pilot Chesley Sullenberger is being called a hero. How was Sullenberger able to make the right decision under life-and-death pressure? Professor Mike Useem is the director of the Center for Leadership at Wharton. He says in emergencies, some people freeze up, others go with their gut instinct, but Sullenberger displayed “presence of mind”:

    “which in summary means, no panic, use the information, the data coming in, and make very good and timely decisions.”

    Useem says having a lot of experience in diverse situations is helpful but learning from past experiences is equally important:

    “not letting them just happen and then recede into your personal past, but to look at them think about them, including the wrong decisions and thus learn from them. ”

    Useem says several of the plane’s passengers also displayed excellent leadership skills in the aftermath of the crash landing, facilitating the safe exit and rescue of everybody on board.

    To learn more about decision making under high pressure, Maiken Scott also spoke with Jonah Lehrer, author of “How We Decide”

    headphonesTo learn more about decision making under high pressure, Maiken Scott also spoke with Jonah Lehrer, author of “How We Decide.” Listen to their discussion:

    [audio:sci20090116extra.mp3]

    Get the mp3 »

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