Monday, January 21, 2008

Reality or Perception

“Perception is reality”

The self serving bias. I have recently read in a book by John Ortberg “When The Game Is Over, It All Goes Back Into The Box” (great book by the way) about the self serving bias. This part of human nature had been identified many years ago. It basically says that people generally see themselves as smarter, more talented, and more positive than they actually are. The study of it is really not in my core competencies. However, what struck me were the implications for companies.

Here are some non business examples Ortberg gave.

- In a study, 800,000 high school students were asked if they had above or below average social skills. The responses should have been split 50/50 but not one said they were below average and 25% said they were in the top 1% of social skills.

- The majority of people in hospitals suffering from injuries in crashes that they themselves caused, rate themselves as above average drivers.

- 88% of college professors rate themselves as above average. The rest are being retired or already retired I guess.

Would you care to guess what percentage of CEOs rate themselves as above average?

What percentage of all C level executives rate themselves as above average?

Would you care to guess just how many executives readily admit that their business is in trouble in some way?

I think you know!

The business implication most often is that perception becomes reality and business people do not get the diagnosis or the advisors that they need to identify the issues, find the solutions and reach the goals they want. They dream the big dream we wrote about earlier this month but then through a self serving bias delude themselves. That may very well be because they have no way of determining if or where the trouble exists.

Where do you fit?

How is your company doing?

What are you going to do about it?

Contact me if I can help. I have a simple diagnostic tool that I developed and an introductory offer to get you started.

Call me or e-mail me.


John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management

View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn

1 comment:

Phil Darby said...

Been there, done it, got the goody bag with the T-shirt, button badge and pen. Dont you just love this stuff!?

I just had a beaut' The last remaining of three partners in a business (the other two were fired by the investor so there is some justice) trying to stop the investor cutting their losses and shutting up shop. The business model is fundamentally OK, but every analysis points to management incompetence and that last partner just doesn't get it!

Nothing I can do really, but its not an uncommon story. I have asked before - do mad people realise they are mad? Same thing, I guess.

But then again maybe us consultants aren't as hot as we think we are either? Now that's a really scary thought! Who would save the world?