Belief Perseverance Misleads Leaders
As leaders, we want to believe our beliefs. We stake a lot on our beliefs–our reputations, our livelihoods, and, in some respects, the livelihoods of our team members. We’re so eager to be right that we can fall victim to confirmation bias–seeking to confirm what we believe, instead of reading evidence objectively. At times, we may even persevere with our beliefs despite clear and irrefutable evidence that we’re wrong.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Ghandi
5 Ways to Avoid Confirmation Bias & Belief Perseverance
- Be prepared to learn. Don’t be afraid to test or revise your beliefs. Lead a learning culture by example.
- Hire an outsider you trust to play devil’s advocate, so that you and your team’s assumptions are challenged.
- Don’t let a limited amount of past experience (particularly one negative experience) carry too much weight. Be sure to envision the future, not just replay the past.
- Remind yourself that your intuition is lazy (designed to make predictions quickly not always accurately) and does not want to be challenged. Be sure to seek and fully evaluate other alternatives before setting a direction.
- When you believe something strongly, but don’t have recent and compelling evidence, be suspicious. Investigate your investment in that particular belief. Ask questions.