Are you aware that as a human being you naturally suffer from biases? Some biases we adopted them from interacting with our parents, our siblings, some from the community and from our environment e.g social media, culture, socialisation and most importantly books. It doesn’t mean that they are bad, it just means we are human and our environment has shaped our perspective of life, therefore, the way we do things. It is with sadness that I have to tell you that some of those biases are hindering your progress. Below are the few that I think we should discuss today;
This is a bias that keeps us maintaning our prior views despite there being newer information that should lead us to update our beliefs. Simple English, there is something we believe in, we get new information that our beliefs or views are wrong, we don’t acknowledge this information and maintain our earlier stance. If your business is to grow, you need to be able to do a thorough analysis of a view point taken, new information acquired and update new information accordingly. It doesn’t help you to maintain the products of your goods at the price that they were last week, when you have just been informed that there has been a new policy change for consumable goods. As much as the price of your goods was attracting lots of customers, maintaining it at that when you have acquired new information can only hurt your business, not propel it upwards.
This is a bias that keeps us believing that we have superior knowledge, abilities and access to information and as such, we believe we know more than the next person. Generally as “experts” in our fields or products, we tend to think that we know more than the customer or someone in an unrelated field. However, have you ever considered that someone from the outside comes with a very clean and unbiased opinion about your business and can actually add a lot of value to it. There is a reason why people hire consultants, its not because they don’t know what they are doing but they are simply looking for someone to show them the missing link to their business success.
This bias keeps us from growth because we tend to look for information that confirms our existing beliefs. We just don’t look for information that is contrary to our beliefs, e g , someone who suffers from confirmation bias will search for things like, “benefits of being a vegetarian, benefits of home ownership”, they will not look for information that is contrary to their beliefs. When they read an article, no matter how objective the article is, the most points that will resonate and stick with them from the article are those that will confirm what they think. Running a business without objectivity will eventually lead to one’s downfall. Yes, the products that you use are the “best” and you have read lots of articles that confirm your beliefs, why not consciously look for articles that oppose your viewpoint and read them with an open mind. You might find that you might be way off base on your beliefs alone.
A lot of self made people started their businesses themselves and got the business where it is today by the sweat of their brow. Then there are those who inherited the business from parents or grandparents and they maintain the business as is. Some you will find out will not be willing to change the model, management or anything because that’s how the business was always run and the formula is a proven winner. This group of people suffers from endowment bias, they are trying to protect their inheritance as best as they can by leaving the business as is. You find this might not be the best decision possible but the person is doing what they think is best. A bias that’s crippling the business and their networth. Look at yourself, are you suffering from endowment bias. If so, you need to change how things are being done.
Self Attribution Bias
Do you know that person in the boardroom meeting who is always saying, “I did this, I did that, I made the team do this and that”? That person suffers from self attribution bias. Its a real possibility that the person is driving much needed change in the company, but upstaging everyone else in a room full of superiors, makes colleagues look and feel smaller in front of superiors. And nobody likes to be made to feel that way. These people are rarely liked and colleagues prefer team members that attribute success to team effort than individual effort. So if you are a business owner or employee who suffers from this, do not be surprised if people tend to leave the company a lot or are not liked in the company. Time to change your ways.
These are my top five biases that I believe cripple our upward movement without us being aware. Might be a good idea to take a moment and take stock. Which bias are you suffering from?