Discover why leaders need to be proactive about escaping from the prison of their own perspectives. Explore concrete tactics to help leaders fight cognitive bias with strategic collaboration that stretches the concept of teamwork.
- As leaders, we can make every effort to be objective, rational, and open-minded. But there are several roadblocks that may get in the way. The first one is cognitive bias. We simply can't escape its effect. I'll give you an example. You're presented with a new business opportunity. Naturally, you look at the forecast, the potential ROI, but you'll also likely approach it with some gut instincts based on your previous successes or failures. Despite the facts, your decision will still be filtered through the context of your experiences, perspectives, and even your emotions. For better or worse, it's not possible to unring the bell and forget all of that. The key point here is to understand that the decision process never starts from a completely neutral place. And that can be limiting for leaders. The second roadblock to being objective and open-minded is confirmation bias. Leaders may develop a preference for how to solve problems and approach new opportunities. Along the way, they search for evidence to confirm their theories, which means they place greater value on the sources that support their positions, and they gravitate toward facts that reinforce and confirm their thinking. That way, they can rest easy knowing they were correct. Except sometimes, they're not. Confirmation bias can prevent us from making an objective analysis. So what does this mean for today's leaders who are facing intense pressures to make better decisions and accomplish more in less time? They can essentially become stuck in a prison of their own perspectives. If they want to escape these limitations, they have to make some decisive and even counterintuitive moves. The modern leaders who are overcoming this challenge are using some unexpected strategies that may also be helpful for you. First, search for someone who can prove you wrong. That's bold, maybe even a little awkward, but it works. If you want to know whether an idea is really good, invite others to poke holes in it, welcome the disagreement, actively look for other perspectives that can balance out your own cognitive bias, and you'll improve your capacity to make well-rounded decisions. Second, hire for cognitive diversity. Stop looking for people who will fit in and blend with your team's current profile. That's a sure way to end up with like-minded individuals who easily agree on processes and approaches. Shake it up. Search for talent that will infuse your team with fresh perspectives and new ideas. Third, practice strategic collaboration. When you assign projects or form committees, be strategic about the people you choose to participate. Make sure teams are compromised of diverse thinkers. Maybe even bring in outsiders from other companies or other industries to share their perspectives and to spark new ideas. Today's leaders need every possible advantage to succeed in the new era of business. Instead of being limited by your own perspectives, team up with people who see the world differently than you do.
- Adopting the strategic pause
- Disrupting your thinking
- Balancing hard data with soft intelligence
- Reevaluating your to-do list
- Communicating to influence and engage
- Approaching challenges as a novice
- Blazing new trails
- Conquering the chaos
- Enduring leadership attributes