Everyone has varying degrees of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the practice of enhancing information that supports a preconception and rejecting information that opposes it. Consider what happens when you use confirmation bias to collect biased data points and then you connect those data points to form a conclusion which you defend vigorously.
What happens when the natural tendency of confirmation bias meets the game of connect the unrelated dots?
How many dots does it take to draw a giraffe?
Using confirmation bias, data points are enhanced to support the preconception. These data points are connected to form a patten or a conclusion despite the fact that these dots are flawed with no true picture of the rejected data surrounding the decision. In the extreme, one dot can be used to draw a substantial conclusion – akin to using one dot to draw a large giraffe!
Rarely talked about is that many preconceptions are formed based on personal bias – the like or dislike of individuals in an organization. This typically builds over many years with many technology battles waged and lost and a secret score of the campaigns now influence the personal bias of the winners and losers.
No Silver Bullets
Presumably, an organization would want to eliminate these biases but most don’t challenge strong personalities or politically connected leaders. Management gets defensive when their judgment is questioned and a defensive manager can be a vengeful manager!
Vendors also have their own built-in biases that support their self-preservation within their customer’s ecosystem. One technique to validate important decisions is to use peer reviews facilitated by vendors who can be objective.
These reviews rely on your staff presenting their data points or dots and the vendor facilitates the objective discovery of the resulting conclusions. Most internal staff detest these reviews. Incumbent vendors also fear these reviews because they shine light on their inefficiencies. Outsiders readily identify the confirmation and personal bias and ask uncomfortable questions that linger long after the initial engagement.
The game of connect the unrelated dots is in daily use as individuals advance their causes. Challenging the conclusions that were based on potentially biased data requires strong leaders and outsiders willing to ask uncomfortable questions.
E-Oasis conducts peer reviews to help organizations with technology projects, budget allocations of competing projects, acceleration of stalled projects, and termination of weak projects. Contact us to learn more. Learn about our data center relocation services here.