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Cognitive dissonance

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Building a tolerance for cognitive dissonance

As we navigate our lives, we allow ourselves to be guided by impressions and feelings, and the confidence we have in our intuitive beliefs is sometimes justified. But not always. We can feel confident even when we are wrong.

As a leader, how strongly to you rely on intuition? Note down your style.

Consider: How do we react to information that goes against our intuition?

Practice: testing personal intuition against team information sharing

Decide to: build a tolerance for cognitive dissonance in both personal and team decision making processes

A Dance with Dissonance

Daniel Kahneman describes how we actively avoid cognitive dissonance in his book Thinking, Fast And Slow. In it, he explores how we have two brains – one that is fast, instinctive, reactive, emotional and automatic, and another that is slow, deliberative, logical and lazy. 

Our routine activities are guided by the fast brain without conscious awareness. Our deliberative brain is invoked only when we don’t know what to do in a certain situation. Whichever system we use when encountering new ideas will shape how we dance with cognitive dissonance. Do we switch on our deliberative brain to encourage dissent or agreement?

If our behaviour reflects a confirmatory style as opposed to an exploratory style, perhaps we need to adjust our approach to move out of the comfort zone and into cognitive dissonance. 

Let's challenge ourselves to know better, and do better this week.

Love your Mondays