Human beings are biased by nature. Each of us forms opinions about the world based on the experiences we’ve had and the backgrounds we come from.
While bias itself is not inherently bad, it’s important for entrepreneurs to understand their own unconscious biases and work to eliminate them from their business decisions to ensure the fairest outcomes for all involved.
Below, a group of entrepreneurs shares their best tips for recognizing your own biases and removing them from your decision-making process. Follow their advice to achieve greater objectivity within your company.
Attend unconscious bias training.
Unconscious bias training is important, says Jonathan Prichard, founder and CEO of MattressInsider.com, because it’s the biases we don’t realize we have that impact our decision-making the most.
“Once you understand your conscious and unconscious biases, work with your team to raise all concerns and identify all opportunities,” says Prichard. “A SWOT analysis helps, but getting input from others first is critical to analyze objectively.”
Implement 360-degree feedback systems.
Liam Leonard, founder and CEO of DML Capital, advises entrepreneurs to create feedback systems to eliminate confirmation bias formed by any other implicit biases they may have.
“360-degree feedback is a good system that allows others to anonymously provide their concerns,” explains Leonard. “Additionally, building in and supporting an open-door policy is beneficial. The key is to build in accountability and prove to the employees that their voices are heard.”
Focus on facts first.
Before making any decision, reflect on the facts surrounding that choice. Then, study your decision well and trust your gut and instincts, says Daisy Jing, founder of Banish.
“If you have peace with your decision, chances are, the decision is right,” Jing says. “If you are uneasy and you find yourself asking for help from others, you know it could be the wrong one. In the end, just know that you can trust yourself fully.”
Ask people you trust to point out your blind spots.
Tyler Bray, CEO of TK Trailer Parts, believes staying humble helps you see past your biases and ultimately improves your judgment. If you don’t know what biases you have, find people you trust and ask them about your blind spots.
“As entrepreneurs, we tend to think we are successful in a competitive field because we know everything, but nobody knows everything,” Bray adds. “You’ll see past your biases if you never stop learning.”
Seek to avoid confirmation bias.
Humans tend to fall prey to confirmation bias — the tendency to seek out information that gives a positive result, but ignore information that refutes one’s theories or desired outcomes, says Richard Fong, CEO and founder of ProcessingCard.com.
“Whatever the bias, it’s best to ask, ‘What if I’m wrong’ or ‘What if the opposite information were true?'” Fong explains. “This can help illuminate any important factors that are being overlooked.”
Consistently collect and analyze workplace data.
A great way to remove bias from decision-making is by consistently collecting data and suggestions in the workplace, notes Stephanie Wells, co-founder and CTO of Formidable Forms.
“People can submit their concerns anonymously if they feel more comfortable so you can get all the details and become aware of what’s happening in your business and make informed decisions based on what you know,” Wells adds.
Think about people who will be affected by the decision.
Cody Candee, CEO of Bounce, recommends thinking about specific people who will be directly impacted by a business decision before making one.
“Amazon famously has an empty chair in their board meetings, which represents the customer,” says Candee. “Thinking about other people and what they might say can really help remove your own biases from decision-making, leading to better decisions and better results.”
Create a diverse ‘inner circle’ to consult with.
According to Reuben Yonatan, founder of GetVoIP, ensuring there is diversity of thought in your inner circle can yield better business decisions.
“I think it’s important to have people around you who think differently from you on various issues,” says Yonatan. “This will keep you from going into an ‘echo chamber’ where the only opinions you hear are the ones you already have.”