There's a number you're going to see me use time and time again. It's 97% - and that 97% always refers to what's predictable in an organization. You may not like it (or you may) - but you can count on it being 97% predictable that it will occur.
(I'll explain why in a separate post.)
Which brings us to leader and executive biases - and, most importantly, how they impact the enterprise...no matter the size, scope, industry, sector or geographic location.
And that includes the importance of knowing your own biases so that you can see how they play into the 97% for your organization that you create as a leader - but we'll get to that later.
Let me explain.
Throughout my advisory career, one of the things I've always been able to count on is that if I know the function or area of specialization that my CEO client comes from, I'll be better able to predict the kind of decisions he or she will make.
If the CEO comes out of Finance, the decisions are primarily based on financial thinking with other aspects coming second or third...or not at all. If the CEO came out of Operations, the thinking would be operations- and execution-based with the same decision-making priorities at play. Marketing the same. Technology, too
Know the background, know the bias.
Here's a very timely example: Facebook and the privacy issues it now faces.
Mark Zuckerberg is a technology genius. He's also a strategic genius seeing where the industry is and could be going and understanding how it could be commoditized more, faster and better than almost anyone else. (Remember, he's the one who said that his goal is for Facebook to be "a utility.")
What he's not good at is being a human - or at least not a human who understands the importance of others' needs. Like privacy.
Keep in mind, Facebook started on the Harvard campus as a platform specifically designed to allow men to 'rate' the attractiveness, et al, of women. It then spread to other campuses.
[TIP: Whenever possible, you want to find out originating stories - whether for a business or the people you're dealing with. Those stories always help explain what's within the 97%...which helps you make better, safer decisions and plans.]
What it didn't include was the ability for women being 'rated' to opt in nor to manage the 'profiles' that men doing the rating were creating for them.
Move forward to the larger platform and, initially, there were as good as no privacy settings - with those that did exist both difficult to find and convoluted in the extreme. And while that's improved (somewhat), for the most part, the privacy of the people who are on Facebook has been commoditized. That's the cost of being a user. The platform isn't free. You pay with your privacy.
In contrast, Zuckerberg, himself, is one of the most private people in the Silicon Valley. He carefully controls the information about him that gets out to the press - and even the CNBC commentators who fawn over his business acumen refer to his Facebook posts as "gratuitous."
His bias is and always has been toward his own privacy. Not others'.
As a result, the 'design flaws' in Facebook's algorithms are far exceeded by the policy flaws and information access options for their customers (the advertisers - not the users) that have led to what we now know is election-tampering by bad actors around the world.
It was going to happen. It was just a matter of when.
That's because the bias toward a lack of user privacy was always in play. Because that was always Zuckerberg's bias...and the organization followed suit. As they always do.
And that's why it's so important not only to know the biases of those with whom you're working but also (and in many ways more important) to know and understand your own biases.
The more you do, the more and better you'll understand your current decision-making process. As you gain that understanding, the more and better you'll be able to surround yourself with really smart people who have alternative views to yours that you'll be able and willing to hear and consider.
The more you do that, the more and faster you'll succeed.