An idea crystallized for me in a new way following a recent conversation with a business owner. A smart and successful owner of a wholesale business, she decided to open a retail store, only to have very disappointing results during the first 18 months.
She told me everything she had done to attract buyers and all the other things she thinks she should do to increase revenue. She prefaced every single tactic with some variation of “I know we have to…”
“I know we have to…”
“Why do you have to?” I asked. “Because that’s what everyone says,” she replied.
Her answer is the perfect, real life example of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, favor and recall support for an idea you have in your head. You hear something once, and it may reside lightly in your mind. Then someone else repeats it, and more people repeat it, and pretty soon, it’s a solid, immovable weight in your head. “If so many people are saying it, I must believe it too!”
I’m a practical person, so I want to take action quickly. This business had no time to waste trying to sort out and understand the “why?” behind all her beliefs. Nor do I want to rebut them. I just want to get to work, putting more money in her pocket.
Rid Yourself of Confirmation Bias
If you, too, want to address your confirmation bias, you can follow the same two steps I took with this owner:
Step 1) Make a list of the top 5-10 concepts you believe that impact your business results. Here are a few to get you started:
- Every business must post and advertise on Instagram and other social media sites.
- We must become thought leaders in our industry or market.
- Time management is the only way to improve productivity.
Step 2) Write down one alternative for each belief. Here are my alternatives for the above:
a) Ask whether your buyers actually make purchasing decisions based on pretty photos on Instagram. I’ve never heard one buyer of luxury products say they found their perfect firm on Instagram. The homeowner spending $750K to remodel their home, or the person wanting a $25,000 piece of jewelry will not being using social media to find their provider.
A business needing legal services for a consequential matter will not find their law firm on LinkedIn. Or from a Facebook ad, no matter how serious and tasteful.
Use your marketing efforts and money to reach your preferred buyers where they are, not where social media gurus tell you you should post.
b) What is a “thought leader”? There are as many definitions as there are experts touting that becoming a thought leader is the way to riches and immeasurable success. The more you hear this, the more you’re likely to invest in trying to become one. I have to tell you, I think this is a fool’s errand.
Instead, ask how can your company be the one your buyers (not all buyers) always look to, whether or not you (as the leader, owner, executive) are considered a thought leader. Be the company your buyers can rely on to fulfill their needs, can count on for excellence, and that provides service that they feel is great. The energy it takes to be a thought leader takes away from investing in your buyers and offerings.
Impress your buyers and they will never think about anyone else.
c) The dirty secret time management experts don’t tell you is that time manages itself! We have 24 hours in a day, every one of those hours has 60 minutes and there is no way to manage the availability or passage of time.
We can only manage our energy, our attention, our priorities. When we manage the uses of our time, we create more time and more energy. Busyness drops and productivity increases. Health and well-being also increase which leads to even more time and energy.
Many owners have told me that using my 3X3X3 approach to Singular Focus® has done wonders for them. They’ve committed to one important goal and made the time (3 hours, 3 times per week for 3 weeks) to work on achieving that goal. They’re ecstatic and euphoric at the end when they’ve done it, and realized that they could indeed manage their use of time.
Need the antidote to confirmation bias?
I provide the antidote to confirmation bias. If you suspect that you could create more focus, more confidence, more business and more profit by getting an antidote to reduce your own confirmation bias, I would love to hear from you. Start by booking a Listening Call. 703-790-1424.