As an entrepreneur, making correct and fair decisions is key to the success of your organization, both in terms of how it serves its customers and how it treats its employees. But decisions are often tarnished by an inherent bias, with potentially damaging consequences for your business if they are not controlled. In addition, letting personal preferences affect what an objective process should be, even unconsciously, can severely undermine the image and authority of an entrepreneur in your own organization.
1. Try to prove that you are wrong.
"When you encounter an important decision, try to prove that your initial conclusion is incorrect," recommends ServerMania co-owner and CMO Justin Blanchard. However, this sounds easier said than done because most people will really find this very challenging.
"Instinctively we seek evidence in our favor and arguments that support our position, but we cannot see hidden defects in our thinking unless we make a deliberate effort," Blanchard explains. "Take the time to look for evidence and arguments that prove you are wrong."
2. Talk to someone you trust to challenge him.
If finding arguments against you is too difficult, ask for the help of another person, preferably a person you trust and whose advice and recommendations you are likely to take into account.
"Talking to someone you trust to challenge your blind spots can help you make better decisions," says Northcutt CEO Corey Northcutt. "It is impossible to overestimate the value of having a mentor, advisor or co-founder who has the same goals as you, but a different approach, thinking style or life experiences."
3. Do not consult others before yourself.
On the other hand, going to other people for advice before consulting yourself can end up negatively affecting your decision or even make it more partial, the founder of Formidable Forms, Stephanie Wells, thinks: "To make less biased decisions, you must stop consulting others and ask for their opinions first. "
Asking others what they think can lead to a so-called "car effect," where the likelihood of a person adopting a belief depends on the number of people who have that belief. "Instead, first formulate your opinion and then consult with others to make a less partial decision."
4. Review and reference of mental models.
Chelsea Rivera, co-founder of Honest Paws, believes that learning and becoming familiar with different mental models can also play an important role in driving an entrepreneur to eliminate unconscious bias.
"When you are able to think about a decision using different mental models, you will overcome the bias and finally make better decisions," Rivera insists. Those interested in trying this method can start by reading more about mental models in the book Super thinking or the dedicated blog Farnam Street.
5. Put your emotions aside.
A good way to identify the facts and eliminate bias is to eliminate the excitement of the equation by creating a clear decision matrix that weighs the possible options based on your decision needs, believes United Capital Source CEO Jared Weitz.
"This works not only to make decisions about a design characteristic, but also to hire an employee. Doing it this way forces you to assign a numerical value to the needs and contributions that will drive a decision without allowing emotions to influence," Weitz said explains the process.
6. Distinguish between fact and assumption.
"Are your prejudices based on things you know or things that you feel or have mistakenly assumed?" This is, perhaps, one of the most important questions that entrepreneurs should ask themselves when faced with a potentially biased decision, thinks Sam Saxton, president of Paragon Stairs.
To address this puzzle, entrepreneurs must improve the distinction between facts and assumptions and learn to base their decisions on the former. "Take the time to reflect and find out exactly what you are afraid of and why. Often, you will realize that your prejudices are unfounded, and that things are not as terrible as you thought," adds Saxton.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.