Decision Taking, Bias and intuition. Or: we are not as rational as we believe

You are a smart and experienced leader. You are proud of your balanced thinking and you are open to opposing viewpoints. But are you really?

If you subscribe to New York Times, it is less likely, that you have many friends, who regularly watch Fox News. Google measured, that their engineer’s and their sales people’s networks don’t overlap much.

Confirmation bias, group think, and cognitive dissonance dominate our logic and the way we interpret the world around us.

In a business setting it is very common for group think to occur, People fear to alienate and desire to please, which creates conformity at the cost of independent critical thinking. 

There is plentiful research that proves not only that we are all biased, but as well the negative effects of bias, like loss of innovation, loss of engagement and simply flawed decision making.

We don’t have to submit to biased decision taking. Explore how to inject awareness into our subconscious.

Combatting bias starts with awareness, not just intellectually. Bias can be counteracted through the right structures (choice architecture) and through regular reminders (nudges). Measuring bias really helps both to demonstrate, that it exists and the benefits of counteractivities. And creating a culture of accountability, where we first hold ourselves accountable to pause and then start speaking up against the small micro aggressions, that are visible results of bias in action.

For a business to stamp out these traits the tone from the top really helps

We can help the leaders of an organisation to take an active role, both in raising awareness and in role-modelling the counter actions.

Target Group



1,5 to 3 hour workshop with interactive elements to experience and explore bias and to start thinking about personal and organisational solutions.

5 common types of Bias

Confirmation Bias

We love to agree with people who agree with us. And we look for information, that confirms, what we want to be true, while we often ignore or dismiss, what threatens our opinion.

What can you do?

Appoint a devil’s advocate

Normalcy Bias

The refusal to plan for, or react to, a disaster which has never happened before.

What can you do?

Create scenarios and simulations for extreme events and play them through

In-group Bias

This effect may have to do with oxytocin. This neurotransmitter makes us prefer to agree with the majority. And at the same time it makes us dismiss or be suspicious of others, not in the in-group. Ultimately it may cause us to overestimate the abilities and value of our immediate group at the expense of people’s opinions we don’t really know.

What can you do?

Bring in outsiders for their opinion

Anchoring Effect

We tend to fixate on a value or number that in turn gets compared to everything else. The classic example is an item at the store that’s on sale; we tend to see (and value) the difference in price, but not the overall price itself.

What can you do?

4 eye principle in pricing decisions. Waiting/changing context before making a snap decision

Post-Decision Rationalization

Often, we form opinions very quickly. To explain and justify, we often rationalize the decision to convince ourselves it was the right idea all along. It is a built-in mechanism that makes us feel better after we make sometimes wrong decisions.

What can you do?

Build in a structured lessons-learned process

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