Confirmation Bias

Posted: June 18, 2017 in Readiness & Strategy
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By Richard Martin

This is a well-known phenomenon in the study of critical thinking and rationality. Confirmation bias results when we look at a situation or conditions around us with a view to confirming existing views or beliefs instead of trying to determine what is actually the situation. We look for evidence confirming our pre-existing beliefs, rather than evidence that might undermine them.

To a certain extent, we can never come at a situation with a fully neutral attitude. There is always some predisposition or prior belief colouring our interpretation of evidence and context. We can even say that “facts” depend in large measure on the perspective and attitude we bring to our view of the world.

Understanding and accepting confirmation bias are critical to generating and maintaining an open mind in the face of change and uncertainty. This underlies the theory and practice of readiness. The great majority of crises and setbacks, opportunities and threats, breakthroughs and hindrances, are self-evident when viewed through the rearview mirror. The trick is not to predict, though, for that is impossible; it is to anticipate possibilities and question current assumptions.

There are assumptions and necessities that underlie the coming to fruition of any scenario or plan. We must identify the weaknesses and strengths of these and question our assumptions. By confronting the full range of possibilities, we can be better prepared–more ready–to achieve our goals and overcome setbacks, obstacles, and opposition.

The most effective questions in this respect are: “What would make this scenario/plan come true? What would make it not come true?” Skepticism does not stem from pessimism; but rather from a spirit of inquiry and realism.

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“Richard has been instrumental in getting me to draw on my hard-won experience and ideas to turn them into marketable intellectual property and products. His disciplined, systematic approach has already led to several significant accomplishments for me. Whether you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, or working to get to the next level, Richard can boost your productivity and organizational effectiveness. Be forewarned, though. There is no magic formula, just systematic thinking, disciplined execution, and… Richard Martin.”

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Richard Martin’s Business Readiness Process:

  1. Ensure vigilance through situational awareness.
  2. Do preliminary assessment of tasks and time.
  3. Activate organization or team.
  4. Conduct reconnaissance.
  5. Do detailed situational estimate.
  6. Conduct wargame and decide on optimal course(s) of action.
  7. Perform risk management and contingency planning.
  8. Communicate plan and issue direction.
  9. Build organizational robustness.
  10. Ensure operational continuity.
  11. Lead and control execution.
  12. Assess performance.

Contact me to apply the whole thing–or just a piece, as needed–to improve your strategy, your readiness… and your results!

Did you know that an infantry battalion only needs about 3 to 4 hours of prep and planning time to be battle ready? What are you waiting for to get the same benefits for your outfit?

Why Sunday and What Does “Stand To” Mean?

Sunday? I want you to get my insights and advice first and fast, so you can prepare and up your readiness and results before others even know what’s happening!

And Stand To? It’s the order used in the military to get forces to man the parapets and be in a heightened state of situational awareness and, yes, readiness, so they can face any threat or undertake any mission.

My name is Richard Martin and I’m an expert on applying readiness principles to position companies and leaders to grow and thrive by shaping and exploiting change and opportunity, instead of just passively succumbing to uncertainty and risk.

© 2017 Alcera Consulting Inc. This article may be used for non-commercial use with proper attribution.

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