By | Published On: September 21, 2023 |

Welcome to episode 146 with Constance Dierickx.

In this episode of The Executive Edge, I am joined by guest speaker Constance Dierickx, a globally renowned authority in navigating decision-making processes. With a track record of providing counsel to leaders and addressing audiences in over 20 nations, she is well known. As the founder and president of CD Consulting Group, she serves a diverse clientele encompassing many corporations, private equity organisations and major non-profit entities worldwide.


Constance reflects on her experience during a historic stock market crash and the profound impact it had on people’s decision-making under extreme stress. The crash, which caused a 22.4% drop in the Dow 30, led to panic, fear and mistrust in the financial markets. Constance shares how she observed both her colleagues and clients responding to this crisis, with her colleagues exhibiting a sense of denial while clients struggled emotionally.

Tragically, one client’s extreme stress and financial losses resulted in a violent incident in one of the Miami offices, highlighting the severe consequences of stress-induced decision-making. Constance’s observations and the tragic events she witnessed, inspired her to delve into understanding how stress affects critical decision-making, even among highly intelligent individuals.

What else did we cover?

Our conversation goes on to highlight how stress can further impair decision-making abilities, whether it’s caused by crisis or the pursuit of personal goals. We discuss the biochemical aspects of stress and its impact on the brain, explaining that stress doesn’t simply shut down parts of the brain but affects the entire brain network. We also emphasise the difference between short-lived stressors and chronic stress, with the latter leading to tricky behaviours and psychological suffering.

Constance shares her experience of helping clients cope with the aftermath of 9/11. She highlights how prolonged exposure to traumatic images can impact individuals. She also addresses the tendency for people to self-diagnose with PTSD in response to abnormal situations. This  emphasises the importance of acknowledging and addressing the emotional toll of such events The conversation underscores the need for understanding and managing stress-induced decision-making in various life situations.

That’s all for this week! So, stay tuned for the next episode, where we continue to explore cutting-edge topics in business and leadership.