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7 Overlooked Biases That Creep Into Your Work (And Undermine Its Success)

Self-serving Bias

It causes you to claim your successes and ignore your failures. 

This means that when something good happens, you take the credit, but when something bad happens, you blame it on external factors.

Self-serving bias may manifest at work when you receive critical feedback. Instead of keeping an open mind, you may put up a defense when your manager or team member is sharing feedback or constructive criticism.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

7 Overlooked Biases That Creep Into Your Work (And Undermine Its Success)

7 Overlooked Biases That Creep Into Your Work (And Undermine Its Success)

https://blog.trello.com/7-overlooked-biases-that-creep-into-your-work-and-undermine-its-success

blog.trello.com

9

Key Ideas

Biases...

... specifically cognitive biases, are your unchecked tendencies to make decisions or take actions in an irrational way. 

Instead of making decisions based on facts and data, you are more prone to base your decisions on unconscious errors that lead to a distorted judgment of the world. These biases ultimately affect your relationships, work, and worldview.

Biases = shortcuts for processing information

The brain creates shortcuts in order to make fast decisions when it hits information or inspiration overload

These shortcuts form unconscious biases so it’s easier for your brain to categorize information and make quick judgments over and over again.

Survivorship Bias

It's our tendency to concentrate on the people who end up winning  —the survivors—and mistakenly assume that ambitious goals led to their success while removing from pur view all of the people who had the same objective but didn’t succeed.

When you solely focus on success, survivorship bias comes out to play and causes you to think that something is easy because you only hear stories of people who triumphed. 

Confirmation Bias

Is the tendency to trust information that confirms your preconceptions. At the same time, you ignore or dismiss opinions that disagree with your own, even if they are factual and valid.

Anchoring Bias

The tendency to rely heavily on one piece of information (often the first thing you hear) when making decisions.

This is why it pays off to be the first one to offer a bolstering range instead of a firm number when negotiating your salary. The first offer will establish the possibilities in each person’s mind.

Bandwagon Bias

It occurs when you adopt a belief just because more people hold that belief. This bias can lead to groupthink, which is the tendency for group members to over-conform to a leader.

Many work meetings become unproductive due to bandwagon bias and groupthink because team members don’t feel comfortable challenging collective agreement or don’t even realize their level of conformity to the group’s beliefs. 

Planning Fallacy

The tendency to underestimate how long tasks will take to complete. 

On top of it, instead of accepting your own fault, you place the blame on outside factors such as delayed start dates or sick days.

The Bias Blind Spot

This is the failure to recognize the impact of bias on your own judgment.

Despite the extensive research and data supporting the existence of our cognitive biases, many of us disagree and even ignore the effects of bias in our lives even when we’re fully aware of it.

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Confirmation bias

People don't like to rethink their beliefs once they are formed. 

We would rather ignore information that would challenge our ideas than engage with threatening new information. This is ...

Availability heuristic

Our brain likes to take shortcuts to solve a problem when normal methods are too slow to find a solution. 

The problem with this approach is that frightening events are easier to recall than every-day events. We should be aware that alarmist news broadcasts don't help in an accurate sense of events.

Anchoring

We have a tendency to stubbornly hold on to a number once we hear it and gauge all other numbers based on the initial number, even if the information is not that relevant.

For example, if customers are limited to 'four per customer' they are more likely to buy four, even if they did not initially intend to do so.

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Cognitive biases
Cognitive biases

...are common thinking errors that harm our rational decision-making.

We don't always see things as they are. We don't simply glean information through the senses and act on it; inste...

Optimism Bias

Is our tendency to overestimate the odds of our own success compared to other people's. 

Overly optimistic predictions can be dangerous, leading us to waste time and resources pursuing unrealistic goals. In the real world of business, things don't always work out for the best, and it serves us well to know when conditions are not on our side.

How to control the optimism bias
  • Be skeptical of your own rosy expectations for your work. 
  • Assume projects will be more difficult and more expensive than you initially think they will. 
  • Don't trust your good ideas to manifest through positive thinking - be ready to fight for them.
  • Trust the numbers. Numbers are firm but fair, and getting intimate with your business's cash flow can help you make more rational decisions.

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Survivorship Bias

Survivorship bias is a logical error that twists our understanding of the world and leads to a wrong understanding of cause and effect.

We fall into survivorship bias when we assume that suc...

Against the Odds

When we only pay attention to the exception above the normal, we end up misunderstanding reality. While there is much to learn from the anomalies, it would be a mistake to expect the same results from doing the same things. 

Cause and Effect

Survivorship bias leads us to think that coincidence is a correlation. We want the encouragement from survivorship bias so we can believe in our own capabilities, but it results in an inflated idea of how people become successful.

The fact is that success is never guaranteed. It does not mean that we shouldn't try, just that we should have a realistic understanding.

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