Put Your Assumptions to the Test
Happy Monday! For most of you today is the first day of your workweek! I hope it has been a great day so far. If it hasn’t been stellar, you still have time to choose to make it different.
Last week I touched on the first point in Chip and Dan Heath’s process for making decisions. They outline this process in their book, Decisive and have created a neat acronym for it:
W. R. A. P.
It is time to employ the “R” in the WRAP acronym…
Reality Test Your Assumptions
1. a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof
Those last two words frustrate me to no end. We are so quick to create assumptions around things without any proof to validate or back up why we made that decision. I know I struggle with creating solutions and making decisions out of bias so it is helpful to learn processes to get out of that way of thinking.
We must take our assumptions through tests so that we can gain a broader understanding of the options we have at hand. Recently I have learned that one of the best ways to combat whether you are going off of your assumptions or not is to battle your employment of the confirmation bias. The confirmation bias is the theory that we often times seek out information that confirms our belief about a decision. Basically, if you enjoy drinking soda and eating chips for dinner you will seek out the data that will make you feel good about your decision to drink soda and eat chips. You will quickly find that most people in America drink soda every day (and they seem okay) and chips are really just fried… vegetables. Plus, they are both gluten free so go for it!
While reading decisive I have learned that one of the ways to crush the confirmation bias is to spark constructive disagreement. Kathy Eisenhardt did a study of Silicon Valley firms and found that the CEOs who made the most strategic and effective decisions had a senior counselor who was not emotionally invested in the company. This counselor knew the industry but they were an outside opinion that would spark disagreement and stir things up enough for the CEOs to not feel trapped by their bias. Seek out those people in your life who can give you sound wisdom about your decision without being biased toward one way or the other.
Decisions are fun and interesting challenges that we are faced with every day. If we can make decisions from unbiased data for all of our options, I think we are guaranteed to experience great results. I am interested to see how my decision-making improves as I read this book. My blog posts about the processes this book outlines pale in comparison to the writing of Chip and Dan Heath; so I would recommend purchasing the book and reading along as I finish out my blog posts about this specific topic!