Tag Archives: confirmation bias

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observable Behaviors

Observable Behaviors Are a Fact

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When you look around your workplace you may discover something new, or something different. Are observable behaviors factual?

The task force meets weekly to monitor progress. They are checking data collected against predetermined metrics and measurements.

These are the facts.

Yet, are they really? Is the data a real representation of the truth? Is the data valid and reliable?

Embellished Stories

Let’s assume for the same task force meeting, that Tom arrives late. He misses the beginning.

Before he arrives someone asks, “Where is Tom?”

Someone else replies, “Let’s just get started. Tom is always running late.”


Every day we are confronted with the challenge of scrutinizing the data set. We ultimately have to decide if the data is valid and reliable.

Stories repeated across time often become embellished. It is the big fish story. The walking to and from school, uphill, in a snow storm, both ways.

Was the fish really that big? Was that really what walking to school was like? Is Tom really late for every meeting?

False-perceptions and self-deception is often commonplace, especially as confidence and experience grows. What we observe, we know to be truth. Our experience justifies our assumptions.

Some may describe this as confirmation bias.

Often the biggest challenge for experienced leaders is to let go of their ego. This may be as much about internal awareness, as it is about a flashy, boastful narcissist.

Observable Behaviors

Are you asking more questions? Either through internal self-talk or through open discussion?

Our observable behaviors are always conditioned by our thoughts and our filters. They may also be conditioned by what we are looking for.

When we are watching for who arrives late in order to keep the score, we may miss the opening comments of the meeting. Not because we are not physically present but because we are emotionally absent.

Be careful of what you believe to be fact. It may be more subjective than you realize.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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finding support

Finding Support For What You Want and Believing It

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Information is available in abundance but what is the quality? Are you finding support for your ideas or behaviors? Do you believe what you find?

Confirmation bias may be the correct term. It is when we find data or information that confirms our initial beliefs. It’s data or feedback that validates and supports what we want.

In today’s World it is easy to do.

Pick Your Path

If you like aggressive, loud, and boisterous behavior you can find information to support it.

If you want to riot, cause trouble, and disagree about the sun coming up tomorrow, you can find support.

Do you want political or religious affirmation? You can find it.

How is all of this affecting your job, your livelihood, or career?

Be careful what you read. Be careful about what you see. Most of all, be careful about your actions and behaviors.

This is true for how you manage a job interview. It is true for how you communicate with your boss. Of course, it is true for your attitude and the perceptions and expectations that others have.

Belief and Denial

Ask someone if they give good customer service, then ask the customer.

It is not uncommon for a person or an entire organization to be convinced they are delivering awesome service and anyone who disagrees is just wrong. They’ll just discount the information they don’t like, it’s a form of denial.

It is much easier and comforting to believe what we want and find the backup for it.

Finding Support

Are you finding support for your values and beliefs? Support for the way you see the World? You probably don’t need to look far.

In an economy that flourishes on connections you may want to carefully consider your path.

Some paths lead to a crowd we weren’t expecting, or worse, to a dead end.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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negative bias

Negative Bias, Is It Limiting You?

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Positive versus negative, we hear about it all the time. People flock to social media for positive vibes, or spend time posting about their negative experiences. It is not just on social media. It is at your water cooler meeting, in your phone calls, and what you share with your friends and family. Is negative bias limiting you?

I have certainly done it. Proclaim that I am being positive but what I’m really sharing is negative. In fact, so much so, that I insist I’m not being negative. Often, from my point of view, I’m trying to be helpful, but what I speak is not necessarily so positive.

Negative Bias

Do you have a negative bias? Recently one of my brilliant good friends and I tossed this stuff around for discussion for nearly an hour. It seems simple, but you have to dig deep within yourself to have it hit home.

Here are a few short case studies.

  1. Someone proclaims they have been searching tirelessly for a new job. He or she states that they are being positive regarding their search. What do they talk about? All of the reasons why someone won’t hire them, how they are being discriminated against, and how it is just not fair.
  2. Another person proclaims they start their day on a high note, but quickly weather conditions, the work commute, or the people they work with ruin their good mood. Much of their morning talk is about how someone else is ruining their day. However, they also say, “but I’m staying positive.”
  3. Still another person claims that they are very focused on selling but they can’t achieve their goals. They repetitively state that the goal is lofty, the economy is off, and that the competition has a better marketing and advertising campaign. Yet they insist they are putting their head down and being positive.

In all three of these cases, the person is being effected by negative energy. They have a negative bias. Which also sets them up for confirmation bias, but that is another story.

Seeing Negative

Here is how this breaks down, it is simple, but sometimes hard to see at first.

  1. The new job seeker isn’t focused on finding the job, he or she is focused on why they won’t get one.
  2. The high note day starter is not looking for all the great things that surround them, he or she is looking for who is going to ruin their day. They believe it is coming, so they are watching for it, and find it.
  3. In the third case, the sales person is not focused on more sales, he or she is focused on why they aren’t getting enough.

Positivity is not something you say. It is something that you do and say. What you say is what you think and it will strongly condition your outcomes.

Positivity Test

Do you believe you are a positive person who is focused on the positive? Do you have a negative bias? There is a pretty simple test that you can give yourself.

Do you feel stressed or have high anxiety? Game over, you are likely living, at least at the moment, with a negative bias.

No matter how much you tell yourself you are positive, your mind is seeing (feeling) negative. You expect it to happen. It is all you see and it is what you find.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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