Unconscious biases - an interesting hobby or is there more to it?
Highly paid management, top leadership programmes and increased automation - this quickly gives the impression that rational decisions are the norm in companies. It is precisely this image that is dangerous - the strong belief in one's own abilities and the widespread opinion that one is immune to biases (the so-called bias blind spot) pose a fundamental risk, especially for the core area of every company.
A lot is at stake in today's business world - biases in companies can have a massive impact. They work in many ways
Unconscious biases are directly linked to the way the human brain works (read more: background to biases). We are usually not aware of them, but they have an effect in companies as well as in private life.
In organisations, unconscious biases rarely show up directly, but rather their effects. Studies and surveys (e.g. by McKinsey and the Economist Intelligence Unit) have shown, for example, that:
Biases and the resulting wrong decisions can have a serious impact:
Why do the same mistakes happen to us again and again? The founder of Mind your Business asked himself this question many years ago in his corporate role - read more under Why de-biasing?
What the weak head with stronger bias rules, is pride, the never-failing vice of fools - Alexander Pope
Unconscious biases are deeply rooted both on a personal level and in corporate cultures and processes. They easily cause "blind spots" especially at the core of the business. Thinking errors and distorted perceptions thus pose a significant risk to the success, or in the worst case, the existence of the organisation.
Their impact is more tangible when we put them in context. Questions arise such as:
These questions are by far not sufficient; the interconnections of the five areas are also well demonstrated.
Decisive questions are:
It is advisable to focus on where the impact is greatest and the error rate highest.
Specific and individual measures are then needed, depending on the context, the business model and the relevant processes. The de-biasing concept is designed to start where it makes the most sense for you.
I had the opportunity to systematically improve processes during my time in the company. Decisions were often the focus. It often doesn't take big steps, but very specific and individual ones. Anchoring these successfully and creating new routines takes time, focus and regular repetition.
De-biasing is a process, not an event - it has a lasting effect on companies.
Why does it pay to invest in the quality of decision-making - what is the business case?
Often there are already structures for decision-making processes in companies - for example, it is defined who decides on which topics (governance):
Organisations can have all these elements implemented and still be far from excellence.
Your performance management system should give you a clear picture of where you stand (if not, Mind your your business will be happy to support you - see the Controlling & Finance section for more details).
Your business case is the step from average to good, from good to very good or from very good to excellent - these steps can have enormous financial benefits.
The management consultancy McKinsey, for example, has found that the quality of decision-making processes in companies has a significantly stronger leverage on company performance than mere analysis - by a factor of 6!
Do you know which management decisions have the greatest business case?
Decisively better is an offer to companies to achieve excellence in management decisions step by step, de-biasing included.