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  • Jerry Phillips

Another Article on Confirmation Bias-Will it Changes Yours?

I recently spoke with a friend of mine who has abandoned all social media. His reasoning was simple. The country is divided politically, and people shouting at each other across social media platforms were tiring. He shared, “When was the last time someone changed their thinking based on someone else telling them what to think?” I found it profound. I refuse to share political thoughts on social media, or at least I thought that was what I was doing. This made me think of confirmation bias. Was I doing the same thing?

As we go through various stages of isolation due to the pandemic or what ever other reasons we might be doing so, it’s easy to get caught up in our own thinking. We read headlines and stories that we already agree with and they confirm any bias we may have. We shape our beliefs based on what we read, and we only read articles that support what we already believe. Being aware doesn’t make us immune to the process.

I was on a video conference where I touched on confirmation bias. I shared that I read business articles in the Wall Street Journal and one of the participants had a visual, visceral reaction. Why? In my world, the WSJ is very neutral in the way they report, but they saw it differently. I called them out in a humorous way. Not to start an argument about who was wrong and who was right, but to address a disagreement that hopefully we could find middle ground. We could have a conversation.

I use this example to set up two points I’d like to address from a business perspective:

  1. Don’t get so caught up in your “work from home” world that you lose perspective. Just because a prospect or client doesn’t immediately respond to you contacting them, it doesn’t mean they don’t need your solution or want to talk to you. Paranoia will destroy you, as the song says.

  2. Don’t get so caught up in your own world that you forget that you have bias’s as well, and your customer has theirs. Find middle ground. By that I don’t mean meet in the middle. I mean find a solution that works for both of you. The only way to do that is to start a conversation by asking great questions to understand.

I was fortunate to have a friend send me a link to a YouTube video of President Bush throwing out the first pitch for game one of the World Series in Yankee Stadium after baseball had resumed following the terrorist attack of 9/11/2001. As I watched it, I had strong emotions. There was an author who made a statement that hit me hard. He said, “I didn’t vote for him, but he was my President that night.” It made me think of how focused the nation is on how different we all are today. That night it was a focus on how much we all are alike. Let’s find middle ground again. Let’s be part of the solution, for our customers, and our community.

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