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๐—ง๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ธ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚โ€™๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜? ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ธ ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป.

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ธ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚โ€™๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜? ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ธ ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป.


Cognitive biases may unknowingly impact your decisions as a startup leader. Here are the main ones to consider.


๐๐ž๐ ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐๐ข๐š๐ฌ occurs when measuring two pieces of equal information where the bad one far outweighs the good one.


For instance, we linger on one bad comment in an otherwise fantastic review.


This bias makes us risk adverse and slow to act by dwelling on potential flaws.


It makes sense evolutionarily. Early humans who worried constantly were much more likely to survive many dangers.


In the news, negativity bias shows with hard-hitting headlines designed to grab attention and thus advertising dollars.


How do we respond to this bias?


๐—•๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Seek positive input from advisors, the team, and experts when tempted to ruminate on a mistake.


๐—ง๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—บ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Recognize and announce achievements since it requires at least five to offset a single bad incident.*


๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Record your accomplishments knowing it will take five of them to offset just one bad event.


If you want to prosper, recognize how biases can impact your behaviors and therefore your success.


* This article explains how five good encounters offsets one bad: http://bit.ly/3iH3EwI


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๐‚๐จ๐ง๐Ÿ๐ข๐ซ๐ฆ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐๐ข๐š๐ฌ describes when weโ€™re inclined to find information and data which supports our own ideas.


This bias makes us less willing to accept othersโ€™ ideas and rules out creative, game-changing recommendations.


In politics, if you see someone in your party say something clever, you think itโ€™s wonderful, but if they make a mistake, you interpret that as theyโ€™re just having a bad day.


How do we respond to this bias?


๐—•๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Encourage and test new ideas. If all ideas get ignored, the implied message will be only you are right.


๐—ง๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—บ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Beware creating vanity metrics (instead of industry metrics) to defend growth. Solicit and compile all ideas from diverse sources to encourage innovation.


๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Ask employees and peers, โ€œWhat could I have done differently to make this better?โ€ in order to grow. This will help push past their desire to agree with you.


If you want to prosper, recognize how biases can impact your behaviors and therefore your success.


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๐“๐ก๐ž ๐๐š๐ง๐๐ฐ๐š๐ ๐จ๐ง ๐„๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ž๐œ๐ญ is when judgement is made based on limited or prevailing information.


This bias causes us to ignore new information and strong ideas in favor of otherโ€™s opinions.


Remember in high school when fashion trends raced through the halls? More seriously, this plays out when trial juries are heavily influenced by one or two members.


How do we respond to this bias?


๐—•๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Avoid following industry competitors all going down the same path if that path doesn't work for you.


๐—ง๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—บ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Combat this bias in meetings by asking attendees to individually submit thoughts beforehand. After discussion, consider ranking priorities privately.


๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Encourage a โ€œdevilโ€™s advocateโ€ when making serious decisions. People hesitate to offer contrarian beliefs, even despite serious consequences.


If you want to prosper, recognize how biases can impact your behaviors and therefore your success.


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๐€๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐๐ข๐š๐ฌ is when we prefer people who appear and think like us.


This bias tricks us to believe that competent employees and great ideas are always objectively measured.


This plays out in discussions about racism and discrimination when unconscious decisions preference certain groups.


How do we respond to this bias?


๐—•๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Ensure hiring practices encourage diverse candidate sources, objective qualifications, blind screening, and unbiased interviews based on work-related criteria.


๐—ง๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—บ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Beware promotions and bonuses being unknowingly influenced and check training, networking, and mentoring opportunities are fairly distributed.


๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Know this bias likely affects you and your colleagues and confirm someone in the company is responsible for diversity and inclusion best practices.


If you want to prosper, recognize how biases can impact your behaviors and therefore your success.


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๐…๐ซ๐š๐ฆ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐„๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ž๐œ๐ญ is the tendency to see any information through the lens by which it is presented.


This bias makes us ignorant to other options by seemingly presenting only one or two ways to view a problem.


The current pandemic is often framed in terms of either 'save the economy' or 'lock everything down'. However, local governments have applied a range of public policy options.


How do we respond to this bias?


๐—•๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ When presented with a problem and single solution, open discussions by digging deeper into why there is concern (stepping back widens the perspective).


๐—ง๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—บ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Frame job responsibilities in terms of achieving company goals, not in terms of whether the person is doing the work the way you would expect.


๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Apply this framework in resolving your own problems. When faced with a tough decision, avoid constraining yourself to one or two options.


If you want to prosper, recognize how biases can impact your behaviors and therefore your success.


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๐‹๐จ๐ฌ๐ฌ-๐€๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐๐ข๐š๐ฌ (also known as Sunk Cost Bias) is that once a decision is made, we would rather stick with it due to an emotional investment.


You may see this framed in terms of resources e.g. โ€œweโ€™ve already spent so much on the project, why stop now?โ€


This bias makes us hesitant to change course once started or to terminate a long-time employee who performs poorly or cannot handle new responsibilities as the company grows.


How do we respond to this bias?


๐—•๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Evaluate programs on a go-forward basis, starting from zero. Continue based on the programโ€™s metrics.


๐—ง๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—บ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Recognize your temptation to hold on to poor performers. One's loyalty should be respected, but others are impacted too.


๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต โ€“ Recognize this bias will make you and others want to stay the course on bad decisions. Momentum may be for the wrong reasons.


If you want to prosper, recognize how biases can impact your behaviors and therefore your success.


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For a full list of cognitive biases, check here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases


Illustration by Elisa Riva who can be found here: https://www.instagram.com/elisa_riva/


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