Perceive reality as it is
Reflect on how different forms of bias have affected your past decisions
In your journal, write down the areas where you went with your gut and ignored reality. How have these biases affected your business or career? Can you identify these biases in the decisions made within your organization? What harm have they caused? Reflect on these questions for a few minutes.
Look for evidence that contradicts the prevailing narrative
For example, if you hear rumors from colleagues that your company is planning mass layoffs, look for any evidence that disproves this narrative. Ask yourself: What does the economic situation of my company look like? Is the industry up or down? Does my boss look relaxed or worried? Focus on the facts instead of following your gut and panicking like everyone else.
Calculate the probability of your decision leading to success versus failure
For example, instead of rushing to merge with or acquire another company that looks good on paper, take time to study the chances of the deal becoming profitable. What is the statistical success or failure rate of mergers and acquisitions? Do the two organizational cultures align? Do their areas of expertise line up? Is it possible to engage in a partnership before sanctioning a full merger?
Explicitly reward those who bring you true but negative information
If you’re in a leadership position, commit to celebrating—in words and actions—employees who bring forth information that contradicts the prevailing narrative. Offer them bonuses as well as public recognition. This will help you avoid situations where subordinates agree with a bad decision simply because nobody wants to contradict the boss.
Use EGRIP to navigate precarious organizational politics
EGRIP stands for Emotions, Goals, Rapport, Information, and Positive Reinforcement. Let’s say a manager is refusing to recognize that an employee they recently hired is incompetent. Instead of bluntly presenting them with the facts, begin by identifying the emotions that are blocking them from seeing reality. Use subtle questions to identify your manager’s goals so that you can understand their foundational beliefs. Once you’ve done so, build a rapport by empathizing with their goals. After you’ve developed an emotional bond, share whatever uncomfortable information you have about their decision. If they accept the facts you’ve presented, praise them for their courage to face the reality of the situation. They can ask the employee to improve or else they’ll be let go.