As managers and individuals, we make several decisions daily. Overcoming your biases will however make a huge difference in the quality of decisions you make. Therefore, it is important that we learn how to overcome our biases for better decision-making.
WHAT ARE BIASES?
Biases are quick assumptions that people make that influence their choices. They occur when someone is not objective and shows favouritism toward a particular thing.
We unconsciously exhibit bias majorly because we are naturally wired that way. Most people that exhibit biases tend not to agree but further analysis will show otherwise.
We can see an example of bias in a scenario of a good business opportunity. Which is to sell a family property that was a generational inheritance. The possibility of not even giving it a thought is high because of status quo bias.
We always want things to remain the way they used to be because we do not like taking risks. Our brains do not like the stress of thinking about different possibilities.
Research has shown that we are cognitive misers. In other words, we do not like to spend our mental energy entertaining uncertainties.
Human beings regularly take shortcuts in thinking. if we had to ponder everything carefully, we would collapse from mental exhaustion.
These mental shortcuts can lead to biases because they are often based on images or ideas we have seen or heard repeatedly.
Another example is when people rely on their guts or intuition to make decisions. Intuition is a result of what the experts call “System 1 thinking”. Which is a judgment based on things stored in our memories based on past experiences.
This is a common source of bias, and it can be dangerous relying too heavily on intuition. This is because our intuition frequently leads us astray.
Then, is overcoming your biases possible?
RECOGNISE YOUR BIASES
Firstly, it requires that you become aware of their existence and work towards minimizing their influence on your choices.
It is important to note that the best way in overcoming your biases is awareness. Be familiar with different types of biases so you are conscious of them not to influence your choices
TYPES OF BIASES
There are several forms of biases, but I will be addressing just two of them in this post.
1. Anchoring bias
This bias refers to our tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information we receive. Later information may even contradict these early facts.
An example is when a supplier gives you a quote for an item. And another supplier’s price for the same item is higher. Your first reaction is to base your decision on the first supplier’s quote. So, if the second is higher, you might go for the first one without checking other possibilities.
2. Sunk cost bias
This refers to a tendency to continue justifying a decision because of previously invested resources.
An example is when you felt like you had to finish a meal just because it was expensive. Or you keep putting money into repairs for a car because of the previous expenses on the car.
How to overcome your biases
Here are a few effective ways that will help in overcoming your biases.
- Avoid snap decisions.
- Push back against default assumptions.
- Be open-minded.
- Always view a problem from different perspectives.
- Expand your knowledge
In conclusion, overcoming your biases may look so challenging because your brain is wired to be biased naturally.
However, with significant determination and effort, you can become aware of your biases. Then, work towards eliminating them.
Thanks for reading.