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It is a scientific and psychological fact that our minds do indeed play tricks on us. In our personal lives, the consequences can be amusing. Everyone has had moments where they’ve forgotten where their cars are parked or put something important in the bin. It’s not so funny, though, when these mistakes of the mind take place in a business setting. What we’re talking about here is the so-called cognitive bias that can manifest itself in a range of different scenarios during our daily working lives.
One major reason is the brain tends to take shortcuts. In a business environment, this leads to people forming solutions and opinions that may be based on preconceived ideas or past events and experiences rather than real-life occurrences. It can be a useful shortcut when employees need to make snap decisions, but it can also lead to multiple mistakes when the mind glosses over key details and doesn’t sift through every possible solution.
During coaching and mentoring sessions, I have worked with a number of business leaders and senior managers who have all had periods when their internal dialogue was at war — when there was a maze of information distorting the image of reality, and the voice in the head drove them toward an illogical decision. Voices that lead to self-doubt are common, which in turn weakens decision making.