For a diverse team working on a project, to practice effective decision-making, the existing cognitive biases need to be both acknowledged and addressed, before any important decisions are made. After all, impactful decision-making - whether the decision is small or big, is indispensable to high-performance teams.
Thus, it is imperative for high-performance teams to go through cognitive bias training and improve their individual decision-making skills. Meanwhile, let’s go through the three most detrimental cognitive biases in the business world -
This refers to the human tendency to surround ourselves with facts, people, and news stories that confirm our perspective on things. From our religious affinities to political loyalties, we always tend to stick to people and facts that reaffirm our worldview. This can, in turn, limit our exposure to the diverse and colorful reality of things. It also can turn us into extremists and loyalists to the point where we refuse to see the other person’s point of view.
When it comes to one’s professional life, confirmation bias can make it difficult to collaborate effectively within a team.
Loss Aversion Bias
This bias prevents people from giving up on a road leading to nowhere, simply because of the time spent traveling down the said path. Thus, loss aversion can lead managers into dragging a project that fails to prove profitable, despite time and efforts being put behind it.
This bias can also prevent leaders from evaluating a situation objectively, thereby stopping them from cutting their losses in time.
Status Quo Bias
To quote a commonly heard mantra within many organizations across industries -
’yahan humesha se aisa hi hota hai’ ( we have always done it this way )
The status quo bias is essentially an aversion to change - be it small or big. Companies and leaders who refuse to evolve with the times and insist on sticking to their outdated practices and policies display the said bias.
An aversion to change in leaders and organizations, alike, has the power to turn obsolete and run out of the game, itself.
How can leaders help teams discover their cognitive biases?
There are a host of team exercises that can help teams discover their cognitive biases. Cave Rescue is one such activity that can not only help your team discover their innate biases but also find a way to work past them.
An experiential team activity, it plays out as a case study-based challenge that revolves around six individuals trapped in a cave. The premise of the case study is that the entrance to a cave has fallen in, and now the team must decide in which order the six case study subjects must be rescued. The participants are provided with adequate information on each character to help them with their decision.
The key takeaways from this particular activity center around the importance of effective communication skills, negotiation skills, and how teams can manage to look past their own individual biases to come to a consensus.
Participants over the years have expressed immense surprise over the things discovered about their own innate biases. Furthermore, the discussions happening within each group can provide great insights into the leadership qualities of the different members, and their ability to sway the group towards their desired outcome. A highly engaging group activity, this challenge can help gauge and improve negotiation skills, boost interpersonal communication skills, and acknowledge individual biases.