Wherever there is human judgement, there is noise, this comes from the book “Noise” by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony & Cass R Sunstein.
There has been a lot of research and talk about bias but the book explains the impact of noise. If you go to a meeting and the first speaker offers an opinion the second speaker might disagree but upon hearing the first lacks the confidence to speak up. Quickly you have a rapid conversion due to the noise. Anyone in the room who feels slightly humbled or deferential can quickly be converted and squash their opinion due to the noise attached to a stronger speaker. Noise can determine direction of judgements and suppress counter arguments or different noise.
Noise is not just what you hear, we can have noise in our heads. We make decisions when often we are not in a good state of mind. We have low energy and we hear a voice or a noise that will create a bias and noise that will sway our judgement.
The first practical step to prevent noise and having an influence is identifying situations where noise may occur.
- Recruitment & Selection
- Team work allocation
- Team roles
The list is by no means complete, noise is everywhere…Even ordering your food at restaurant the first person who selects may influence you as it is the first noise you hear.
After identifying that noise will happen, work through the 7 steps below to try and prevent it having an impact:-
- Look at the bigger picture – What patterns have occurred before what else do you need to consider contextually? Holistically look at what has happened in the past and now, think about what it would look like in the future and look at it objectively.
- Multiple judgements – seek out people with different judgements, ask people from other teams to help with the decision who will not have the baggage of your own team members. Fresh eyes, people that are new to your organisation think of many different angles.
- Judge independently – Come to your own opinion, before you go to a meeting. Think about what you understand and your own feelings before sharing with others.
- Seek at least two opinions – Listen to other voices, and be open minded
- Don’t depend on intuition – It is not sensible to just listen to your gut, as this has been influenced by noise, how you have been feeling that day mentally and physically. This is not a good judgment tool.
- Adopt the principles of decision making hygiene – If a Doctor examines you, they wash their hands first and after the examination. Adopt a process of how you make decisions so that there is a system and it can eliminate the noise influencers.
- Remind decision makers of their purpose of deciding – The purpose is often lacking at meetings why am I here to decide/to inform/to present/to educate. This is the same around decisions, what are you actually deciding and focus on the decision not the noise around it.
Noise is an obstacle to fair judgement, use the 7 steps above to try and prevent its hold on you and others.
Please do get in touch for 90 minute workshops over Zoom or Coaching one to one for an hour.