It is natural to have a blind spot. We each have biases and agendas that inform how we approach decision-making, meaning that sometimes we miss the obvious or make a mistake. These blind spots often influence the decisions we make in our personal lives – they are often the result of our experiences. In business, they can impact our choices and possibly lead to outcomes that are not wholly beneficial, incur costs or seriously stunt strategic initiatives.
As a leader driving the direction and success of your company, you must recognise your blind spots to avoid their negative influence. When you know what to watch for, you can ensure that your blind spots do not impact your decisions.
You might have an optimistic outlook
Optimism, while an admiral trait in a person, has very little room in business. Too much optimism can cause you to miss potential risks and challenges or completely fail to prepare for them. If you make decisions without considering what might go wrong, you could see negative consequences for the organisation.
An optimistic leader may also underestimate the resources and time required to execute an initiative successfully. They have unrealistic expectations and can ultimately feel disappointed and frustrated when things do not go as planned. Finally, optimistic leaders may also overlook potential warning signs that could indicate a problem with a particular decision, leading to disaster if you do not address the issue quickly.
If you believe you analyse decisions with an optimistic lens, then I recommend that you work on balancing it with realism. Look at the facts. Do not be afraid to consider and account for what might go wrong.
You might have a confirmation bias
While using data in your decision-making process is essential, you must be mindful of how you use that data.
Confirmation bias occurs when someone uses facts to back up a decision they have already made. While it is ideal for making decisions supported by data, finding it to justify your viewpoint defeats the purpose. If you have a confirmation bias, you also likely ignore information contradicting your decision.
As a leader, it is crucial to be aware of confirmation bias and how it can impact your decision-making. If you only want to seek information that solidifies your own beliefs, you can become closed off to feedback or opinions from others, which also seriously harms your ability to make informed and measured decisions.
Instead, you must seek diverse perspectives and consider all the facts before settling on your next move. It is also helpful to reflect on your own biases and how they might impact your judgement. By being aware of confirmation bias, you can make more objective and well-informed decisions as a leader.
You might rely heavily on others’ opinions
While I strongly recommend gathering ideas from colleagues and mentors that you deeply trust, you need to be careful of relying too heavily on others’ opinions.
If you rely too much on the same people who consistently share the same views, it can lead to groupthink, which means that you are making decisions in an echo chamber of your ideas. If you are going to ask about what others think, you also need to engage those with opposing viewpoints.
In addition, if you rely too much on others’ decisions, you may struggle to innovate or develop creative solutions. You might also struggle with accountability; if you did not come up with 100% of the ideation behind the decision, are you really to blame?
Leaders who can think independently and make their own decisions are more likely to be successful than those who rely heavily on the opinions of others. So, build the confidence to make decisions on your own, and do not let the opinions of others influence your choices entirely.
You might be too cautious
In business and life, sometimes you will not have the hours or days to make a carefully considered and calculated decision. While I by no means encourage you to make rushed decisions, you need to balance caution with timeliness. Every decision you make will have a level of risk, some more than others.
Leaders that exercise too much caution may second-guess themselves and hesitate to make fast decisions to solve current problems. You might miss opportunities and fail to take advantage of opportunities available. Additionally, you could become paralysed by fear, preventing you from taking action.
Sometimes, the best action may be to take a calculated risk. By doing so, you can ensure that you are making the best possible decisions for the business.
You might feel attracted to bold ideas
You might feel attracted to bold ideas, innovation, market pivots, or new ways of running the company. While such innovation is welcome in business, leaders that chase the next bold idea rather than considering its viability can end up costing the company.
Chasing bold ideas can negatively impact a leader’s decisions in several ways. You may become overconfident and make poor decisions based on unrealistic expectations. You might become so focused on chasing these ideas that you neglect other important initiatives, strategies and other aspects of the job. Finally, constantly chasing bold ideas may cause you to become exhausted and burned out, which can negatively impact your decisions.
Resonate can guide your decision-making process
I help B2B business leaders define or refine their strategies. I provide strategic advice and consulting on various facets of strategy; business strategy, corporate strategy, product/service strategy, functional strategy, go-to-market, competitive strategy, pricing strategy, etc.
My aim is to work with business leaders to help them make sound business decisions. I find more often than not, that the issues businesses face are caused by strategic issues.
If you are starting a new role as a business leader, or you have been with the business for a while, and you are initiating new transformation projects, let’s connect, let’s talk. I have extensive experience in guiding business leaders on transformation and change projects. I look forward to hearing from you.