Don’t Let This Hijack Your Decisions
Hey everybody, my name’s Dr. George Birnbach, and today I wanna talk about your decision-making process and what’s hijacking your best intentions when you’re trying to make the best decisions.
So, regardless if we feel comfortable making decisions or not, the biggest challenge that we have, that you and I have, when making decisions is a little survival program hiding in the background of your brains called confirmation bias. Now, confirmation bias is a cognitive shortcut that affects how we make our decisions, leaving them, typically, unreliable, especially in helping us get the results that we need. Now, historically, we had very little new information coming in everyday to filter through, and confirmation bias kept us safe and saved us time under pressure. But today, think about how much information, new, complex, unclear information you filter through that is just taking so much brain energy, okay? We’re making complex decisions multiple times a day, and to bypass that overwhelm, right, that we would normally achieve if we had to filter through each piece individually, we’d come up with cognitive shortcuts.
We stop looking for other data if it doesn’t support the position we think is going to be right, and so we can become closed off to new information and allow our brain to kinda jumpstart the process. Well, there are 20 different of confirmation bias, we obviously aren’t going to go into all of them today, but we are gonna take you through this information in a series, and the first one I wanna talk about is anchoring bias. The anchoring bias suggests that we tend to favor the first bit of information that we learn as a focal point, or a baseline, for other judgements that we’re gonna make and we aren’t too picky when that information comes in. It’s usually the first piece of information that we notice.
For example, does someone look like they can afford your services? When your staff looks at your office, are your fees too high? Is this person, or situation, going to except your opinion, or your judgment, or your leadership on the processes that you have at hand? Well, all the answers to these questions are anchored or influenced by the first bits of information that you receive. And many of these opinions are based on how you grew up, or what you’re going through in your own experiences, your staff too, you get the idea. This anchoring bias is why your website, your Google page, your front desk script, the projects you give your staff, your office fees and every detail of how you set up the visuals in your office must be handled with curios attention. So, how do we get over anchoring bias? Well, awareness is the first hurdle. Knowing the biases are there and we’re affected by them, and knowing that they’re actually hindering us from getting what we want, that’s gonna be the first step.
So whenever you catch yourself making a quick or an emotional judgment call, stop and get curious, why are you making that call? What actual information do you have? If your staff think something’s too expensive, stop and ask them, okay, great, why? Based on what? Why do you feel that way? What from your life brought to you to the place where this is expensive to you?
If you hesitate to share some news with a patient because of how they’ll feel, or you refuse to tell someone your real care plan recommendations because they may not accept them, why? What has you feeling like this? Are you giving enough consideration to all the information available or are you giving weight, unduly, to some prior reference point? Ask questions about what is influencing you and / or your staff opinions, okay?
The good news, you can use anchoring for your benefit if you’re aware of it, but if you understand this exists and this is gonna play a role in your decision-making, you can use it to help you navigate quick decisions in management and leadership and solve problems better. So be a better doctor, be a better leader, be a better manager and be a better friend by understanding how your decisions are affected by anchoring confirmation bias.
My name’s Dr. George Birnbach, I look forward to exploring the other 19 confirmation biases with you in this confirmation bias and decision-making series on better communication. All right, I’ll talk to you soon.