Ask yourself these 5 questions if in doubt

Most of you may know these effects and biases. This is not about letting you know, but giving you a checklist, to run it every time and remind you of the obious. Enjoy!

Are you affected by Dunning–Kruger effect?

Basically it burns down to Dunnings cite:

„If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent. […] The skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.“

So get yourself or the affected person around a coaching / mentoring on the issue. An educated opinion from outside could maybe open the field for discussion. Don’t stick to your own opinion there. Or to the opinion, that the other person has to „get it“, because it’s so simple.

Are you falling for Confirmation bias?


Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias,[Note 1] is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses. […] People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs.

So let somebody play the devil’s advocate. Or support the one’s who are showing constructive disagreement. Because diversity matters and hinders you to just follow the lemmings.

Are you overconfident?

Highly related to the Confirmation bias, though.


[…]in a spelling task, subjects were correct about 80% of the time, whereas they claimed to be 100% certain.[3] Put another way, the error rate was 20% when subjects expected it to be 0%. In a series where subjects made true-or-false responses to general knowledge statements, they were overconfident at all levels. When they were 100% certain of their answer to a question, they were wrong 20% of the time.

See also: Pareto principle

So estimate your optimistic, realistic and pessimistic view and ALWAYS take the pessimistic. Because you most probably fall for this bias. Esp. in teams.

Did you looked for the real problem?

Are you working on the root or just on the or some causes of a problem? Do you love the problem or just your solution? Most times it’s much more simple to work on causes, but in-effictive.

So, what?

  • Five why’s

Did you start with why?

Watch my namesake at TED

I have a dream! instead of I have a plan!

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