Avoiding Bias in Decision Making

Darryl Bachmeier
Jun 10, 2020
Mind


Have you ever thought about the fact that you decide at every moment of your life? The outlook of your life is nothing but a merge of small and big decisions made by you or by others for you. Everything you do is based on an internal decision-making process that compels you to choose one over the other. From a small decision like picking up a meal for your lunch to every large decision like confirming a business deal worth millions, your now and then depends on your preferences while making a decision.

But it is not necessary that everything goes according to the plan and what you have decided is not the ultimate way out of the scenario.

Throughout your journey you come across many unfortunate situations, you may need to pick either this or that, you may be under pressure for doing what’s not the right thing to do, even in instances where time plays the devil’s role you have to decide a YES or NO within the count of a few seconds.

These are the situations where bias comes into action and takes over your judgemental self. To avoid a bias decision in haste, your reaction to the action of bias should be in a direction that suppresses the sublimity of self-centered preferences.

Worst case scenario

Let’s discuss some of the situations where bias originates and in what form it prevails upon your decision along with what should be your plan to counteract your subconscious bias.

So, if you have been shortlisted for doing a specific job but the requirements you can not fulfill in reality, however you assume yourself to be capable of doing the job but when you start, it ends up in a worst-case scenario for you because in actual you do not possess the skill to complete the task. Be aware, here you are encountered by overconfidence bias.

Another scenario could be you have a self-image of being superior to others and nothing can go wrong with you. With the mentality you plunge into a completion where you face the masters of the field hence failing, this happens in the case of optimism bias.

Or you can just be rigid in situations and have strong beliefs that you are unable to change in any case, so here if a body turns against your existing beliefs, you disregard others even though the other person’s decision was the only right thing possible. Confirmation bias is what made you miserable

Making decisions in a hurry? So you prefer finding the easy way out and what comes first to your mind is the right thing according to you? Stop right there because you have been deciding heuristically.

Bias could take any shape, you either judge the book from the cover, or overestimate others’ goodwill, and you can also inculcate your peers’ misfortune.

These were some of the examples but still, there are so many more types of bias and hundreds of cases where you could be a victim of a biased decision. The brutal reality is that these biases could lead you to have gloom-ridden predictions. To stay sound of the losses here are some solutions that can help you intervene against

Make your way out

The first and foremost trick to avoid a biased decision to not decide in a hurry, you may have heard of the idiom “haste makes waste”. This is very much right about decision making, so whenever you decide on a serious matter, think over it for a night and all the wise men say “sleep over it”.

The second way out is a basic rule of thumb, “no one is perfect”. This thought process that your existing knowledge is not enough to combat the situation compels you to take advice and acquire more information regarding the problem to find a valid and reliable solution.

On the third place is the idea to “review before apply”. Yes, once you decide with all your conscious mind, you need to review your decision by a person more experienced. This is just a precautionary step before you put your plans into action to gain surety.

One of the much-used pearls of wisdom in the business world is “history repeats itself”. That is an indication of researching and finding examples from the past stories that are similar to your scenario and then estimating what is going to happen next to prepare yourself for the future challenges by deciding a direction that holds on against the upcoming miseries.

Summary

Decision making is a complex process that incorporates social, financial, psychological factors to find a cost-effective solution to a problem that needs to be addressed. But bias arises when any of the three factors dominate the others and a decision is made taking either one of the financial, social, or psychological benefits into consideration without entertaining the other aspects.

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