Business

Expedience bias vs. Distance bias vs. Safety bias

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Expedience biases are mental shortcuts that help us to make quick and efficient decisions, based on whatever information is easily accessible and feels right. When we fail to take the time to deliberate, gather relevant information, and make more objective decisions, then we are likely to let irrelevant, incomplete, or outdated information guide our choices.

To break away from the status quo, it is essential to slow down, think methodically, and question your own assumptions when weighing the evidence.

Distance biases are a result of the brain’s recently discovered proximity network, which is sensitive to how far away something is in distance, time, or ownership. Things that are further away are unconsciously valued less, and assigned less importance. The tendency to value short-term outcomes over potentially greater long-term outcomes can lead to failures in both innovation and sustainability.

To avoid short-term thinking, and stay focused on the future, it is necessary to check your thinking for evidence of distance bias, and prioritize future outcomes over quick and easy fixes.

Safety biases are a consequence of the fact that the brain’s threat-detecting network, which is sensitive to danger and loss, is many times larger than the brain’s reward-detecting network. As a result, we assign greater weight or value to potential losses than we do potential gains.

To have the courage to take risks and innovate, focus deliberately on the positive outcomes that can result from your vision. To calm your brain’s threat network, consider the advice you would give to someone else embarking on the same long-term goal.