Avoid biases at all cost

Mayweather McGregor

Bias is prejudice, an assumption not backed up by information and most likely wrong. Bias results in bad decisions and bad decisions result in overall failure of the system. Basically, avoiding biases is the very definition of intelligence. A superhuman of the future will definitely have no biases, but today all of us must struggle with them and pay the price for letting them run our lives.

There are two ways biases should be avoided:

They must not be exploited in sales.
Content can easily exploit customer insecurities, confusion, and use biases to sell. We see this daily in advertising imagery and messages, especially with products that offer very little hard values. If sales start to rely on biases they are only tricking the customers into the purchase and customers are not actually accepting the real value. This kind of sales is always very risky and unstable, and also it is easy to copy. Very soon the exploitation of biases in sales becomes a category strategy and not a company unique method of growth. We can see examples of this in industries from sodas to insurance.

They must be avoided in management decisions.
Purpose of management is to decide how to reach the goals most efficiently. This requires raw data and objective decision making. The core of good management is the elimination of biases. If managers make decisions based on their biases most likely the company will fail. To avoid biases in management decision making it is important that the company culture supports this. Raw data must be available to all, guru status of anyone should be minimized, decisions should be based on multiple approvals, and teams should include people from various areas and cultures. No decision can be perfectly objective but companies should make an effort to be as objective as they can.

See the list of biases here.

In my experience, most common and damaging biases for customers and managers are zero-sum and attributive error.

And remember, our advice is 100 % correct in 34 % of the cases.

Written by: Nikola Tosic
Publishing date: 12 Sep 2018