Leaders, “Is there room in your group discussions for … “


As I was going through some notes recently from books I have previously read, I came across this gem.  The book is from Chip and Dan Heath called  “Decisive”.

Here are a few excerpts from chapter 2, which I find very thought-provoking.  The subject has to do with “confirmation bias” where we often tend to want to support our previously conceived ideas and fail to be open to receiving information that will question or challenge our thoughts. Interesting, huh?


-if we have a preference we can be trusted to train our spotlight on favorable data
– for 400 years, the Catholic Church had a person who acted as a contrarian to a person being a saint,  then John Paull II eliminated the position and saints were canonized 20X faster
-the downside of provoking disagreement is that people can be entrenched in their positions and politics can occur
-when there are disagreements, and different, entrenched positions, we could ask, “in analyzing the opposing positions, what would need to take place for a certain position to be true”
– get in the habit in group discussions of asking tough, dis-confirming questions
-probing questions signal confidence and experience in the asker
-doctors have to be careful about not asking enough questions and looking too quickly to confirm their own opinions and bias’–one study shows that it took 18 seconds on average for a doctor to interrupt a patient  (that’s not very long, is it—how confident is that making you?)
-when we want something to be true, we gather information that supports our desire,. But the confirmation bias doesn’t just affect what information people go looking for; it even affects what they notice in the first place.”


Anyway, the book was excellent and re-reading my notes made me appreciate those who question the status quo and “group-think”.  Its not that I side with contrarians, but after re-reading these notes, it makes me value even more the age old saying that  “with many counselors (many different opinions), there is great wisdom”.

In your group meetings, does your group just go along with what the main influencer comes up with?

Just for the heck of it, why not try to ask the next time you are involved in a group meeting after all the discussion is over, “are there any other perspectives that we would be wise to consider?”




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