It has been proven over and over that we create our truths based on our perceptions and biases. We look at things and make judgements.
From these conclusions we adopt beliefs and then select appropriate strategies. The danger is however, the stronger we hold onto our beliefs the more we will select data and add meaning to that data in a way that reinforces our beliefs. This is unconscious bias and more specifically confirmation bias. We do this when we only listen to people with whom we agree and don’t ask questions in terms of validity.
This creates the Mental Models of what we expect to occur as described by Peter Senge in the Fifth Discipline., which affects the way we develop organizational structure, processes and policies; as well as how we develop staff and give feedback. Without surfacing these mental models we fail to understand how they influence the systems we are confronted with, or the decisions we make about every element of our business – including customers, markets, suppliers and employees.
Think about the car salesman who sees a woman walk into the showroom alone and a couple walk in. Who gets the attention of the salesperson; not the lone woman, she can’t be buying it. In truth the woman makes 80% of the car buying decisions whether with her partner or not. what is the perception? Is it that women can’t afford it? They don’t understand the car just have them pick a color? ( that was a comment said to me once) Saturn used to have more women selling; too bad the company is no more. If you watch the car repair shows or street racing do you assume the women are there for show or diversion? How do you feel when you learn how qualified they are?
This is classic unconscious bias, of mental models that keep being reinforced with confirmation bias, making the “facts” fit the mental model.
Is perception reality?
Our truths are based on perceptions, which are based on our experiences and personal filters.First impressions count!! We judge people and situations within the first 30 seconds – which means we jump to conclusions, which carry much emotional weight.Negativity rules!!! When 2 or more people get together they focus on the negative and when no negative exists they create negatives. think about the gossip TV shows and magazines as well as social media. Did you see what they did? Who they were with? What they wore?
Connections count too!! Making the unfamiliar familiar, we relate new experiences to previous ones – correctly or incorrectly!
Conflict is often due to our subjective perceptions, not objective reality!
A major source of conflict is our biases – relying on first impressions based on assumptions and stereotypes keeps us from getting to know the individual and resolving issues.
it is critical to distinguish between what people say they want (position) and what they truly need (interests).
What can you do to fix this? Obviously start with your thoughts. Stop assuming. Ask questions. Decide what is best for you after you have asked the questions
By asking questions and seeking new ideas or insights you will find new opportunities, new concepts and maybe learn skills and meet new people.
Remember when you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.
For more on biases check out previous blogs listed on the website.