I played in the annual July 4 scramble golf tournament yesterday.
For you non-golfers out there, this is a team competition in which each member of the team hits a shot, the team selects the best one, and everyone then hits the next shot from that position. Once on the green, hopefully with more than one ball, the team chooses from which ball position to putt and everyone gives it a go from there. If the team is playing pretty well, there are often a few decisions to make. Do we forsake some distance for a better lie? Do we putt the shorter putt or the straighter one? Do we chip a ball that’s off the green but close to the hole or putt a ball that’s way on the other side of the green?
Your thinking is influenced by your particular abilities. I’d always rather putt than chip, and while distance isn’t usually a problem for me, it might be for the other members of the team who’d rather hit out of the rough if they can be 25 yards closer to the green. And of course, this raises a business point too.
There’s a good piece today in Lifehacker about how as part of beating back confirmation bias (the tendency to listen only to the data or opinions that confirm our own) we need to take the other person’s perspective – walk a mile in their shoes – as we consider their opinions. It works for research too – who funded it, what might the researcher’s biases be, etc. Most importantly, when we’re asking for advice, taking the person’s perspective along with the advice helps overcome the blindness confirmation bias can instill. This is a good article on that phenomenon.
The ability to get past your own beliefs in considering outside information is a key to being successful. It goes with the ability the synthesize and communicate your thinking effectively. We won the tournament yesterday so I’m very happy with how we communicated and thought as a group, even when my opinion was overruled. Even when our shots weren’t perfect, our thinking was awfully good. How’s yours?