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Bias in support of our conclusions, and a mental exercise to test that bias

Leonard Mlodinow, The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives (Pantheon Books 2008) at 191, urges that ”We should learn to spend as much time looking for evidence that we are wrong as we spend searching for reasons we are correct” (See my post of July 10, 2007: the confirmation bias.). Most of us not only rush to judgment but fasten ourselves like pit-bulls to the judgment we quickly reached.
A simple corrective, though hard to push ourselves to do, is to try to disprove our conclusion. Deliberately look for data or opinions that challenge your conclusion and honestly assess them.
The same approach helps unfreeze our frozen ways of thinking about management. The McKinsey Quarterly, 2008 No. 1 at 31, offers good advice from Gary Hamel for general counsel. “To become inspired management innovators, today’s executives must learn how to think explicitly about the management orthodoxies that bound their thinking – the habits, dogmas, and conceits they’ve never taken the trouble to challenge.”

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