009 5 Brain-biases Sabotaging your Success

By Tom Birchall | Mindset

Aug 04


Episode Highlights: 

Brain-biases are sneaky saboteurs that will trip you up if you aren't aware. Let that not be the case for you! Sabotaging your success is not what you wake up in the morning thinking about... yet for many of us unsuspecting individuals it is an unfortunate reality.

Brain-biases are automatic and robotic thinking you don't even know you are doing. Yikes! And don't think, you don't think like this... because wait for it... that is also a bias!! See! You just did it!! Tune in now to get the brain-hacks against these 5 unwanted brain saboteurs.

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Episode Transcript:

Mental biases, brain biases. That’s what we’re talking about today. There’s things that go click in our brains and just start happening. It’s like what?!

Do you wish you made better decisions? Do you ever wonder why things take longer to do the you expected or planned?

Well, we’re going to unpack some of these things, and the reasons why that’s happening. It’s predictable. It’s going to continue to happen. Unless you’re listening here today. And we are talking about the tools systems and processes, as well as the knowledge, skills, and abilities that you need to become the six, seven and eight figure business owner, that you are, and are destined to become.

Mental biases. Brain biases. That’s what we’re talking about. They’re things that go click in our brains and just start happening. It’s like, what?! Where did that come from? And if you didn’t know they were happening. I’m here to tell you: They’re happening!! And I want to unpack the solutions and how to get out of that because it’s quite possibly sabotaging your success and killing your business. Let that not be so because you tuned in today to hear this good stuff.

1. The first one I want to talk about is called the planning fallacy.

Now the planning fallacy is that thing where you make a plan, and you estimate how long it’s going to take for that thing to happen. And sure enough, guess what, I mean you already know. It's taking longer than you expected. Than you planned. than you figured that it would!

So, the solution to that is: take more time to do more realistic planning. When you plan stuff just boom off the top of your head and go “Yeah, sure. We can do that!” It's like okay well let's dig into that a little bit more.

I was a project manager for a high tech company in my career for a number of years, and we had a rule. A heuristic. A planning rule that for every hour we spent planning upfront, we would save 10 hours in implementation down the road. This was like a huge global multinational firm. And that was just the rule we had as project managers.

They were like spend the time figuring it out. Engineer the tasks. Think of all the different angles that can be going on and where things can get messed up, and where you have efficiencies that you can take advantage of, and where things are going to be inefficient and you need to spend more time and mitigate those risks and trip ups, right.

Spend more time, engineering, the tasks that you plan. Why? Because in your brain and mine there's a bias going on. A bias is this unavoidable or slightly unavoidable propensity toward a conclusion that doesn't serve you. It's a bias, like it's a biased opinion. And that's what's happening when you're planning it's called planning fallacy. It's a thing! [Laughter]

So now that you know, we've increased your awareness. Giving you more knowledge, skills, and abilities, right, more knowledge. Let's apply that to your tools, systems, and your processes, right. Let's get these two things combined here. So take this planning fallacy bias that exists, it's a thing.

So much so, they did a study. And they found that people estimated days to completion for tasks. It averaged out at about 32 days for any given task. Guess how long it actually took? 55!

That's a 21 day Oops!

Like that significant. Crunch the numbers. That’s a 62% under estimation of time [23 day oops divided by the original total of 32 = 72% actually. Sorry, I had a typo of 62 in my notes instead of 72] So, I mean if you want another quick heuristic. Do your best at planning, then double it. You’ve probably heard some people say that. Based on these statistics and that research, it would be double it in a bit 1.12, right, if you planned it for five days, make it 10 and 12% [sb 22%] more, right. 62% [72%] underestimate in time. So let that not be so.

2. The second one. Number two: Outcome bias.

This one is judging your decision, good bad or indifferent. You base the decision that you made based on the outcome. It worked out well? Oh, well, I made a good decision! Worked out poorly? Well, I made a poor decision!

That’s not reality that’s not real. That’s not what’s happening what’s happening is you didn’t take the time to do the research. You’re winging it. Stop winging it!

This bias is called the outcome bias where you’re basing your judging, your decision, based on what the outcome was. And what you need to do is spend more time in that decision making process. Just like part of the solution to the previous one. That’s why I’ve put these two together. When you’re planning something out take more time to look at the data. Do research. Look at the different angles of approach that things are going to have an impact on whatever it is that you’re making a decision on.

And start focusing on that. Base your decision on the data on the front end, not the whimsical randomness of. Did it work out? Well oh well I made a great decision then! Really? It was just a whim. You just went with the moment and “sure, let’s do this!” Right. Versus basing it on data. Research.

So to overcome that bias and become a better decision maker. Here’s where it comes in. Become a better decision maker. Stop winging it and start looking at data. Start doing research. Start doing more planning and getting things dialled in and in place so that your decisions and the outcomes of them become more… here’s the fun word I love it: “predictable”. Get more predictable with your decisions. Start making better decisions. Why, and how? Because you’re going to base it on data and research.

3. Number three. Number three is: the IKEA effect. [Laughter]

Yes, It is named on the Swedish furniture distributor manufacturer, slash, wait a minute, you get everything in a flat box right.

What’s happening with this and the reason they’ve called it that is, we have a bias, a tendency toward, thinking that we are great. We put a disproportionate amount of high value on something we created or slash assembled.

Because you did it right. You’ve spent all this time on something. And it’s the IKEA shelf, or the IKEA desk, or the IKEA chair, that you have to assemble and spend hours, putting it together. And then taking it apart because you forgot to stick something in, right for all you guys out there that don’t read instructions and I meant guys as in males. [Laughter]

I’ve put together enough things to realize I’m going to read the instructions are having close by, be looking at them. And I’ve put together enough things that I’m pretty good at put together things. I worked in a wood-shop and was apprenticing to be a finishing Carpenter. So, manufacturing, putting things together assembling things are something that I’m comfortable with other people aren’t and nor do they have the skill set. Anyways.

It’s the time you put into something that ends up giving you a bias: a disproportionately high value on it. Of how amazing it is! Right. That’s my baby right. You have your baby here, because you spent so much time on it. Listen up, entrepreneurs business owners. Don’t do this!

How many times, how many episodes have you watched of Shark Tank or Dragons Den right? Or the profit? These shows that are, where they’re looking at investing in business owners that have their baby. They’re so close to the thing, and the investors are like palm to forehead smack in the head going, what are you kidding?! What are you talking about?! And the entrepreneurs is just, Oh Yeah!! Right. They’ve spent a lot of time on this thing. Assembling it. Creating it. Putting it together and yet it’s a pile of garbage. Yet they think it’s amazing! Don’t be one of those people that are looking at your baby’s thinking it’s so great and awesome.

A solution to this is gain more awareness.

Do a real basic thing: market research. Oh, who’da thought it! Market research. Get actual people in the marketplace to validate your idea. Validate your product or service. Validate what you think is your baby. And get out there. Get new information. Get real information. Get word on the street information and have people start to do this: vote with their dollars.

Heck do a prototype. Do a pilot. Do a test to say, hey I’m going to put it into the market for X amount of dollars. 500 bucks but I’m doing a test here and I want to put it out for 50 bucks. I’m gonna do a 90% off sale and sell it for just 10%, you’re doing some market research. You’re not going to do that forever. [This not a discounting or sales strategy it is market validation and introduction of a product/service to the market]. You’re just seeing if people are even going to vote with their dollars even at a discounted rate, or whatever it is, just do some market research and get some real data that’s outside your own what?… Bias in your own mind.

4. Well, those are the three things and I have a fourth. I’m going to do a bonus one number four. It’s called the Dunning Kruger effect. What this one is all about, and again entrepreneurs I want to poke you in the eyes and say Hey, wake up!! [Laughter]

This one is where unskilled people think they’re great. And brilliant people, great people, think they’re unskilled.

It’s kind of this crisscross. It’s almost like it’s opposite day. Where someone who’s not got the skills, and again in the shows we watch of Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank right, and you’ve got some unskilled folks that are thinking they’re just amazing. And again it’s palm to forehead going jeeze, guys, wow!

What’s the solution? Get some awareness. Get some awareness. Do you surround yourself with people whom just say yes to you and think you’re great? And what they’re doing is just simply trying to bolster your self esteem perhaps. Yeah, you’re great George, Sally, Sam, Susie. That’s not real. You need to ground that out.

And then the opposite right someone who’s brilliant who is really great. The end up having this bias that, Oh I’m not that good. Oh, I don’t know? I’m not that good?! They’re bashful and don’t have the awareness of what their skill set is. The solution to this is, again, data, data, data. Do some market research. Have some heart to hearts with people in your world. Have some heart to hearts with people that aren’t in your world right.

Like a completely unbiased person just evaluating you for who you are and you’re asking for just their straight, honest, straight up, direct opinion. Go gather that information and find out, if it’s a skill set you do or maybe it’s a product or service you’ve put together and maybe your baby.

Don’t let these biases start to impact and influence you unduly and sabotage your success! Because it’s happening, folks. It’s stuff I call it, click-whirrr. You know those little robotic toys that you may have gotten at a toy store. I believe McDonald’s gave them away at some time. They have different promotions. You just wind these little things up and you put them down on the table. And there’s usually an on off switch you wind up to get the power put in it. And then you flick the switch, and it starts to march.

Or it’s a little dog that inches forward and then does a flip in forward and does a flip. It’s a programmed thing that you just click, right you just click the button. And whirrr it goes off and does it’s thing.

Well, that click-whirrr thing is happening between your two ears. Gaining awareness of these biases I’m hoping is going to help ground that out and give you an advantage over your competition. Advantage over the struggle that you’ve got. Get out of that bog. Drive up out of that bog where you’re stuck and stop letting these biases “click-whirrr” take you out.

I’m going to do a quick recap of these:

1. Number one was a planning fallacy. And that is under estimating how long it’s going to take you to complete a task. The study that was done it was underestimated by 62% [65%]. So take what you’re doing and add more time in your planning process. In my tech days as a project manager, we did a 10 to one ratio. For every 1 hour of planning more that we did, we saved 10 hours in implementation. I’m telling you, this is what is real.

2. Number two was the outcome bias. That is judging your decision that it was good or bad, based on the outcome that occurred. Thinking you are heroic if it was great, and you’re sad if it was a bad outcome. Stop it! That’s just a bias going on. Dig down. Add more research, and more data.

3. Number three was the IKEA effect. Of putting a disproportionately high value in something that you created slash assembled.

Like you put that IKEA shelf together and “Oh, it’s amazing!! It’s fantastic!! Well, it’s a shelf!

We are entrepreneurs and we get caught up in that, oh this is my baby right. You spent so much time getting your business put together and time with it. You’re disproportionately, adding high value to something that quite possibly isn’t that valuable. Again, market research. Market validation. Get out there and get that stuff to happen.

4. Number four was the Dunning Kruger effect. This was a bonus one. And that’s where unskilled people are thinking they’re great, and great people are thinking they’re unskilled.

So gain some awareness. Get some good healthy, honest, direct feedback. Find out where you are, and then trust that move forward with it. If you are unskilled, get some skills in place. If you’re brilliant, get going. Right, get out there and get things happening.

5. I’m going to throw a last one out, this is a bonus number two. Guess what, if you’re thinking that these biases don’t apply to you. That’s called the bias blind spot. There’s actually a thing. It’s a thing! [Laughter]

So you’re still not off the hook. If you think the bias is applied to other people: That’s a bias. “Oh it certainly couldn’t apply to me! I don’t have any of those biases, of course! I’m not biased! I don’t have these click-whirrr things going on in my brain?!

Well, ya’do! It’s called the blind spot bias.

So those are a bunch of biases that have been sabotaging success for decades.

Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed the show please rate and recommend. Highly of course! On iTunes. On Overcast or wherever it is you subscribe to your podcasts. You can get more great information on this episode, it’s show notes, and our other episodes and shows, at TheProfitableMaverick.com, that’s The Profitable Maverick.com. Until next time, get out there, live more, love more, and be a more profitable Maverick!

No entrepreneurs have been harmed in the recording of this episode. 🙂

Practical Application:

What brain-biases have you seen show up in your world? In yourself or others?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

And we'd love your feedback, questions, tips and stories! Leave those in the comments section as well. 

See you soon with another episode!


About the Author

Tom Birchall is the founder of Mavericks Business Academy (MBA). When he is not conversing with an entrepreneur about life and more profitable business awesomeness he will be talking about his kids, playing ice hockey, the drums, or geeking out about digital marketing. Oh, and then there's root beer floats! ;) Clients tell him he is "smart with a heart!" He believes a smoothie a day keeps the doctor away and telling someone you love them is amazing!