In the beginning, before noise, there was bias
You’re not immune to making huge, avoidable strategic mistakes, despite the fact that you solicit the input of others, do your research and use available tools. So why are you sometimes so sadly mistaken?
Although you know about cognitive biases, you aren’t immune to them. Olivier Sibony points out that there’s a difference between bias and error: You can learn from your mistakes, but you don’t learn from your biases because they’re unconscious. The two most common decision-making biases are:
- Overconfidence: You know that most business takeovers don’t bring the expected results. But you’re not like the others, and this buyout will be a success. Indeed, 90 percent of people think they outstrip the average.
- Confirmation bias: A candidate made a good first impression and answered the additional questions you put to them correctly. They must be the right person for the job! But did you ask the other candidates the same questions? Did you use standardized evaluation criteria?
Don’t expect to spot these biases in yourself. Ask for someone else’s advice. They’ll have their own biases, but it’s still an opportunity to bring yours out into the open. Do it even if – especially if – you’re sure of yourself!
Lawyerist podcast with Olivier Sibony (YouTube, January 2021).
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