August 15, 2018
Cognitive biases, like availability bias, are hard-wired into our brains. Unless we understand them, though, they will lead us astray. They can affect our evaluation of data, people, and major decisions. First up: The availability bias. It supposes that events easily recalled are more important. This was a handy event back in the cave days when you were trying to avoid getting your other arm chewed off by a dinosaur.
How leaders make availability bias worse.
Most leaders, you included, rely heavily on their cognitive biases. They’re a big part of your gut feeling. Perhaps you’re shepherding a new brand that was a big hit at a recent tradeshow. Now, under budgetary pressure, your gut is telling you to drop support for a mature brand in favor of supporting the newbie. So far all this decision-making is under the hood. But what if we consider facts. What is the profitability of the older product? Does the new product replace it? Why are people excited about the product? Was it even a working prototype, or did it just look cool?
Given a reasonable amount of time, you would come to your own conclusions. But many work cultures stress speed and decisiveness over reflection, and the availability bias kicks in just for survival.
But, if you ask questions, get numbers, and consumer research and you can avoid the dangers of availability bias.