04 March 2021

We often unknowingly let cognitive biases distort our ability to objectively evaluate something....

2:00 Min

We often unknowingly let cognitive biases distort our ability to objectively evaluate something (or someone) by introducing influences separate from the decision itself. According to Dr Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, “Unconscious biases are so strong that they lead us to act in ways that are inconsistent with reason, as well as our values and beliefs”. Here are three techniques to avoid them.

Knowledge is power

Cognitive biases are often invoked “to connect the dots”. For example, projection bias is when we assume others share our own feelings, attitudes, and values, which clouds our judgement. When we are aware of this danger, we pay careful attention to how they influence us and our decisions. Follow this expert advice to foster self-awareness in the workplace and overcome unconscious bias.

Use the SPADE framework

Former Google executive, Gokul Rajaram, developed the SPADE framework: Setting, People, Alternative, Decide, Explain, to help companies make tough decisions with clarity. The toolkit uses ownership consensus, inclusivity, and coordination among all stakeholders, producing an exhaustive list of alternatives and soliciting feedback without risking groupthink bias, or default conformity found in groups. Learn more about the SPADE method here.

Look for other perspectives

We often base decisions on information that we know, limiting ourselves to a specific subset of knowledge. A simple and effective form of removing bias is to ask for suggestions from others, preferably from those in our circle of trust. Honest feedback from multiple perspectives expands our peripheral vision and helps us steer clear of blind spots.