S02Ep09 – Overcoming Cognitive Bias

Paul Smith

The latest instalment of Boardroom Hustle has co-hosts Paul Smith and Anna Byrne discussing something that affects every single one of us. Something that many of us aren’t even aware of……cognitive bias. Our episode is a sort of follow-on of the fifth episode of Boardroom Hustle, The Elephant in the (Board)room, where we talked about cultivating clearer decision-making, but focusing on how cognitive biases affect our decision-making, not just as directors in the boardroom, but as people in life!

But first, what is a cognitive bias? Simply put, it refers to the mental shortcuts our brains take when we make decisions. The brain is an enormously intelligent piece of machinery that has created a way to jump to conclusions rather than spend precious energy trying to sort through the never-ending stream of information that is constantly being downloaded. While cognitive biases often have a bad reputation, they’re actually quite useful – to a point. We live in such a rich, complex, stimulating environment that, in order to be more efficient, our brains collect a number of cognitive biases (or shortcuts) about a wide aspect of topics in order to help us make decisions faster.

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So, how can we make our cognitive biases work for us? Have a listen to the episode to find out. Anna and Paul also discuss things like:

  • The biggest thing that impacts cognitive bias
  • Are biases infectious?
  • How can a boardroom environment influence individual biases?
  • One particular bias that can be hugely detrimental to the boardroom
  • Following the peanuts; how our emotional elephants encourage us to jump to conclusions and how we can train them to make better, more effective decisions
  • The different types of biases we experience, such as social, information, confirmation and anchoring, and how we can make them work for us rather than against us
  • The best strategy you can implement in your boardroom/s, to unpack cognitive bias and create a more powerful method of decision-making
  • How integrative AI may eventually be able to assist us in recognising and deleting any bias from our decision-making
  • The five killer questions you can ask yourself and your board to discover any existing biases you might have and begin to overcome them

Top Action Item

To explore the potential biases within your boardroom, consider having someone sit in as an observer in order to review and comment on any perceived biases or issues that arise during decision-making. This is a great stepping stone to better awareness, which will enable you to work towards phasing out any unhelpful and/or damaging biases at an organisational level, and regulating any personal biases of your own.

If there are topics that you’re particularly interested in or any new buzzwords floating around, we’d love to hear from you so that we can talk about these ideas on the show. Email Paul at psmith@futuredirectors.com or Anna at anna.byrne@neuropowergroup.com.


Future Directors Website: https://futuredirectors.com/
NeuroPower Group Website: http://www.neuropowergroup.com/
Paul Smith LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/futurepaulsmith/

Anna Byrne LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-byrne-13901262/