Sharks and the Concept of Change

What can Whale sharks and Great Whites teach us?

The start of the new third quarter and second half of the year is an ideal time to identify changes necessary for a monumental second half. What has gone well and what needs to be tweaked is worth time and reflection. Some people feel uneasy when facing the year-end deadlines… cue the shark music… because they subconsciously know this is the last chance for changes to influence 2017 performance. Taking a break to evaluate how you’ve met goals personally and professionally can be the difference-maker between sink and swim.

Even the big sharks have to pivot to stay relevant and achieving in current climates. Think about this:

  1. Amazon just announced hiring 50,000 new warehouse employees in the United States
  2. Apple’s main supplier Foxconn is making substantial change by committing to a large factory and 3,000 new hires in Wisconsin 
  3. A declining Sears franchise has finally struck a deal to sell appliances through Amazon

These are significant improvements, innovations and changes with an expectation of adding shareholder value, increased revenue profits, customer satisfaction and employee engagement. These positive business results sustain life in a company, just as the water that must be constantly pulled over a shark’s gills provides oxygen.

Simon Berg of Ceros wrote, “If you don’t change things (experiment), how can you ever make things better (find out the outcome of your test)? You don’t have to know what the results will be to make a change. In fact, you usually won’t know what outcome to expect. That’s the compelling thing about change–you often end up with a result you would have never guessed. …It’s about making change when something feels broken, could be better, or even just because you’re curious.”

Certain breeds of sharks die from lack of oxygen if they stop swimming. Implicitly, we know change is a good thing but does fear of change stop us from swimming? Simply pause, evaluate and adapt.

Don’t look back and don’t get comfortable with the status quo. We hesitate when faced with the unknown in front of us because of the comfort associated with our experiences and biases. Inherently, change is necessary and provides challenges and new circumstances. CI Squared’s book The Art of the Nudge tells us: “At the subconscious level, we are already programmed to do the thing we are doing, and it becomes automatic. We have a lot of connections, experiences, and repetitions that make it simple and easy to do. So we are afraid of new things. Our conscious brain puts up blockages; reasons about what could go wrong; and just plain feels uncomfortable.” (pg 43)

We know change is vital and possible, but don’t change for the sake of change. Change-your thinking, a process, a department-to make something better. “Although your automatic reaction comes first from the subconscious brain, you can bypass that wiring with a new story that empowers you to take a different action…We also believe that understanding the story we are telling ourselves to see whether it is empowering us to take the appropriate action, is important. And if it’s not, the story can be nudged. Although our brain connections (superhighways or dirt roads) are developed as we grow, they can be altered.” (The Art of the Nudge pg 47)

What kind of shark do you want and need to be? Do you know what stories you are telling yourself about the changes you need to make to impact your business results in the second half? How can you build a new story that will keep you swimming toward your goals without sinking to the bottom?

Nudge: Stop, slow down and evaluate what in your company or business could benefit from change in the second half of the year.

Are You More Like Twitter or Instagram?

A picture is worth a thousand words…

A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say, but the updated version of that phrase sounds more like… put together the pictures with the words and you’ll experience unprecedented engagement and communications. Undeniably we still live in a text based society, but visuals have elevated the game. Both Twitter and Instagram are storytelling techniques helping businesses succeed in content distribution, sales, and branding.

In a sea of social media apps, Instagram is trending (how ironic) and here’s why… Twitter started with 140 characters of text and evolved into allowing users to add pictures and/or follow links out to the web, white papers, videos, and more. Many times, the final landing spot is far removed from the original post, creating space and time in the “connection”. Industry analysts have called this part of the twitter-net “noisy,” with many external moving parts.

Instagram, on the other hand, has played it cool. The app aims to keep you within their community and asks you to observe one post at a time. The evolution here is that Instagram now strikes a perfect and equal balance between words and pictures with prolific captions, commenting abilities, and an array of picture editing possibilities. They cornered the market for influential storytelling including text, pictures and now interactive responses. Data shows that users agree. Instagram has 400 million users monthly as compared to Twitter’s 316 million. And when engagement is measured, Instagram wins hands-down boasting billions of “shares” within their app world.

We already know why storytelling works, and pictures elevate this tool. In the past, the more bullet points and  information stuffed into your PowerPoint was thought to heighten the effectiveness and professionalism. Not true. It turns out, “Cognitive scientists say it’s impossible for us to multitask as well as we think we can. The brain cannot do two things at once and do them equally well. When it comes to presentation design, we can’t read text on the screen and listen to the speaker while retaining all of the information.” (Gallo)

So how do we combat that, and make ourselves the most impactful presenters?

“University of Washington biologist John Medina has done extensive research into how the brain processes information. According to his book, Brain Rules, “We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10 percent of it.  Add a picture and you’ll remember 65 percent.”” (Gallo) Not only will the audience remember it, but the transfer of information happens much faster too. In their research on the subject, the company 3M reveals that visual aids “have been found to improve learning by up to 400 percent….and we can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.” Powerful data like that motivates changes in what and how we consume and present information.

Like Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and his new minimalist presentations, let’s begin to consider revamping your typical designs. Who are you more like when presenting? Twitter or Instagram? Comb through and identify which bullet points can be replaced with pictures that tell a story or create an emotional connection. Don’t assume the audience will know exactly what you mean when choosing a picture so do include a concise, relevant explanation. Engagement and understanding will soar. Visuals emerge through language too, so think of how you can set the stage or scenario of a situation in the stories you tell as well. It starts with “Imagine this…”

Nudge: Think in pictures. Look for ways to incorporate more visuals whether it’s verbally or by adding graphics and photography in your presentation.

5 Stories That Could Be Holding You Back

What's holding you back?

What am I doing wrong?

Have you ever asked yourself why things aren’t changing for you, whether personally or professionally? You’ve done everything you can think of to change direction, but you always end up back at square one. But maybe it’s just that: changing how you think. Whether we know it or not, our subconscious is perpetually at work, feeding us biases and stories. Stories inform emotions, emotions inform actions.

Our conscious brain, what we are actively thinking about, opposes the subconscious brain, what’s going on beneath the surface. The conscious brain methodically deals in facts and figures and can process only up to 9 things at a time while our subconscious brain is a messy composite of deeply influential experiences and emotions, processing millions of ideas simultaneously.  This is both fascinating and frightening as we realize that the subconscious could be a great enabler and deciding factor in our actions and thoughts. Story informs your actions 100% of the time, you’re simply not aware of it.

You’re always having a conversation with yourself which results in stories being formed. So stories surround us, but the five stories that are most likely to hold you back professionally or personally are:


  1. The self doubt story. People will know that I’m not good enough or smart enough. These negative stories pile on top of each other until we perceive it as the truth.
  2. The fear of failure story. A story of a past mistake repeats itself. You’re afraid to try something new because you can’t shake the notion that it will go wrong.
  3. The unknown story. Change is hard, so we fear the unknown and our possible inability to handle it. But you are more capable than you know.
  4. The assumptions story. We all assign meaning to people’s behaviors and interpret their actions. Our minds have a way of spiraling out on us. We can’t assume just because Bob didn’t wave to me at work today like he normally does that he is furiously angry at me.
  5. The overconfidence story. You say “I got this. I have it all figured out”. We tell ourselves what we want to happen and hear versus what is happening in reality. Our confidence and judgments sometimes cloud our ability to make the right decisions.


80% of what you said to yourself yesterday, you say to yourself today. You have to engage your conscious brain to first realize that these stories are being told before you can identify what stories are being told. Story creates bias, that bias instructs our behaviors. Start digging deep and figure out the stories you are telling yourself that are holding you back.

Nudge: Tell yourself a new story of positive change!

Other points of view:

Passion – An Asset You Cannot Afford to Waste

How can you ignite passion?

According to a Gallup research poll, only 30% of the U.S. workforce is engaged in its work. Shockingly, the vast majority of U.S. workers (70%) are not reaching their full potential. Analyzing how and why your employees are motivated is worth investing in to ensure success and productivity for your business.

While many exist depending on the company, there are 2 main reasons why your team is not committed:

  1. Employees focus on WHAT they are doing, not connecting with WHY or their passion.
  2. Leaders don’t have a compelling vision

In our fast paced world today, everyone is moving at light speed and leaders don’t take the time to inspire. Leaders finds themselves lost on what inspiration to tap into because they have not taken the time to ask employees about their passions.  So how can we understand peoples’ passion and motivation to help inspire them to bigger dreams and successes? We try to do it with simple words or phrases, but do these attempts truly harness the passions and desires of the team? Does it help them see how they make a difference and ignite their potential for action?

It all comes back to the fundamental basics of understanding people.  For true understanding and empathy, you must take the time to listen. Use this information to shift your conversation or Story to one of inspiration.

  • Gather the stories of your people and understand how to inspire them into action. How can their individual “WHY Story” be tied into the purpose of the company and real business outcomes?
  • Lead. Your team is looking to you for inspiration – be a beacon of hope and dreams. Make your employees passion the key to your company culture and you will tap into unprecedented excellence in all aspects of your business. Tell and celebrate internal Hero Stories of employees who overachieve and delight your customers.
  • Communicate your vision/strategy and their role in achieving this success. Explaining the “why” and the “what” to your employees makes empowering them to execute with their own “how” that ignites their 100% commitment, leading to innovation and success.

Have you asked your team “Is this really what you want to be doing with your life?” If you think, NO, then instead of fearing, be open to ask why, gather the challenges and redefine. You may not have all the answers, but be open to asking, telling and sharing. If it is  “YES I am,” then find ways to harness this passion on your key activities and projects allowing you to execute with passion. Your colleagues and leaders will take notice.

A passionate workforce is a productive workforce. Everyone benefits from listening and gathering to understand. When the struggles get tough and performance/ productivity starts to lag, you will be able to re-inspire your team if you tap into their WHY and passions. We all fundamentally want to win and succeed.


As quoted in The Art of the Nudge: “Unfortunately empathetic listening and playing back emotions is a rare skill…When you truly believe that someone really knows how you feel, you identify, you feel safe, and you let your guard down. This intent focus by someone else can make you feel like you can be more than you think you can, and accomplish almost anything.” Pg 98 and 99

Nudge: Go deeper than just small talk with your employees. Start a conversation about passion, commitment and purpose.

Other points of view:

Are You A Loser?

Are You A Loser?

“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” according to the losers and their parents

You win deals, you lose deals, and some deals are left hanging. You can’t win every one right? Or can you? You can get closer. First, get to know the standard at which to gauge your win rates. In our 3 years of significant research we found the 40/30/30 model, a metric used at end of sales pipelines which represents the average win rate for high performing companies. Most companies who claim to have higher win rates do not measure every deal a real sales person touches. If you have 10 deals in the pipeline you’ll win 40% of them, lose 30% and 30% will be left with no decision. Look at your company’s own win rates then analyze: 

1. What’s happening in the good deals? What’s happening in the bad deals? 

2. Why do you lose? 

3. How much time did sales reps spend on lost deals? 

4. Did you understand the customer? 

Conducting a lost sale analysis was just the tip of the iceberg for one of our customers realizing why and how they lost a significant deal. This customer, a large software company, brought in their sales team to sell to a customer, yet they did not understand what the customer wanted and when they wanted it. Consequently, their boss had 12 members of the team charge ahead for 12 months on a product for future integration only to bring it back to their customer and have it solidly rejected. The timeline for this product was way too long and the CFO, justifiably, chose a company who could provide correct software quicker. Our customer realized lack of understanding was the crux of the problem. They were proposing a perceived solution that they thought would fill their customer’s needs when in reality, for the customer the benefits were too far out on the timeline compared to the competition. 

Time wasted. People wasted. Customer good will squandered. How much do you really lose by competing for a piece of business for this long with no apparent customer solution?  They didn’t “lose fast” and move on. They didn’t know to walk away because they did not gather the customer’s story well, understanding them and their struggles. The best of the best know where to focus their time, energy and resources to increase probabilities of winning deals. Lose fast and convert the no decisions. 
Helping your customer uncover their real struggles is key. Then analyze the implications of those struggles to their business. Who’s affected and why? Is this tipping point enough for them to take action? What needs to shift? Can your company play a key role in solving their problem? 

Communication and gathering the whole story and struggles are at the heart of a successful interaction whether you win, lose or somewhere in between. Understanding the customer and their struggles leads to you knowing exactly what they want and what you can offer to solve it. You’ll now know where you can’t win and gain courage to lose fast. Value your time and move on to win the next deal. What would happen to your performance in you changed 40/30/30 into 50/25/ 25? 

Nudge: Be curious – Ask open ended questions and LISTEN to gain better insight of your customer’s real struggles. Want to become a better listener and get the whole story?  Contact CI Squared to learn more

The Challenger Sale…

The Challenger Sale

The Challenger Sale by CEB is based upon research that shows buying has fundamentally changed since 2008, and that Solution Selling is no longer effective in a complex buying world. Executive buyers and users look for different things in the buying cycle, and just diagnosing needs and pitching does not lead to purchases. Also, having great relationships without insight and customer value is not effective. Executives are most interested in buying from an organization, so they want multiple people on the supplier side to be responsive to a project.  Most importantly, they want collaborative buy-in from their own people before taking the risk on large projects, both to ensure the right decision and to get commitment from the beginning. However, users also want an individual relationship with someone from the supplier side—someone who is responsive and provides ideas and insight to help them and their companies succeed and perform.

The CEB’s research shows that there are 5 profiles of sales reps executing in complex sales. Two are high performing: The Challengers and The Lone Wolves. Lone Wolves cannot be replicated across an organization, and they often create conflict in a team-based sale. Thus, the characteristics of this type of rep cannot and should not be replicated.

Challengers, on the other hand, do three things differently than the other profiles. These three characteristics allow them to deliver insight and high performance. First, Challengers teach with unique insight into a business. Secondly, they tailor their messages to individuals based upon these insights, and, thirdly, they take control of the sale by focusing on next steps, money conversations, and how to complete the purchase and move to implementation. However, to make this Selling Framework a competitive advantage, it entails broad scale change and organizational adoption by all reps with aid from marketing/sales operations and good coaching sales managers.

The CEB has developed training programs and tools to both initially train and continue to build on these organizational capabilities of Challengers. One item mentioned frequently throughout their book is the use of STORY as a tool to influence buyers—having conversations with buyers by both telling and getting stories. The CEB also maintains that natural Challengers must challenge the prospect to give them new ideas and insights particularly when they disagree.  However, they do not teach or train how to do this, and it is perhaps the most critical skill in interacting with prospects. Challenging someone creates conflict, and this is a difficult task and skill to execute effectively—Nice to mention, very hard to do well.

At CI² we absolutely believe that the world is getting more complex and the risk of large purchases is huge. Some sellers have adapted to this and some have not. We believe that the ability/skill of telling compelling stories and gathering insightful stories from your customers is fundamental to detailed execution whenever you are leading, persuading, or trying to influence others.  Current brain science based upon tests done with FMRI technology demonstrates why this is so critical for people making decisions or moving to adopt changes. The training we implement at CI² is practical, skill-based learning that will compliment the Challenger Sale principles, as well as most other in-vogue frameworks. Story Gathering is one of the critical skills needed to interact with the new Buyer 2.0, helping him/her and you to get results. Business outcomes our prospects want are:  increased revenues, increased sales productivity, increased profitability, increased customer satisfaction, and increased employee satisfaction; all leading to greater shareholder value.  Learning gather impactful stories will give you the advantage you need to tell, inspire and motivate others to Action. This critical skill will turbocharge your sales results and lead to higher performance.

John Geraci, CI Squared Co-Founder and President

Millennials…Start ‘Em Early

Millennials...Start 'Em Early

Millennials…Start ‘Em Early

Remember back in the day when “1999” by Prince thumped on every boom box? The ominously funky jam was the perfect song to celebrate the new millennium. Yet as the reality of “Y2K” sunk in, people responded with panic, triggered by great fears of the unknown. So many questions, worries and tragedies were predicted. With some minor glitches and adjustments, we all survived. So why does a momentous generational shift already in motion alarm your company?

Millennials are the generation born then between 1982 and 2004, now 13 to 35 years old and quickly maturing into the work force. They’re most known for filling positions formerly held by baby boomers but “This group’s values, needs, wants and ways of working are different and will cause the same kind of disruptions and opportunities that the baby boomers who preceded them did” (The Art of the Nudge pg 17).

The Bersin by Deloitte report highlights, “…more than 3.6 million company chiefs are set to retire as younger professionals ascend to managerial slots. Companies are busy planning for this transition anticipating the massive loss of boomers” (Altman). Once again, the impact of the “millennium” creates its own sort of chaos as this unique workforce comes in requiring a cultural shift as well.  Communication-wise, Millennials appear to be the most connected digitally, but disconnected interpersonally.  This generational shift requires training and development programs to allow new employees, managers and leaders to adapt. Are you investing time to train Millennial employees to adapt? You should be.

Leadership expert and author of Liquid Leadership, Brad Szollose says, “You can’t put someone in a leadership role assuming they have the skills to lead, only to train them 10 years later. If you want Millennials to succeed, invest in their leadership development today.” Leadership qualities and soft skills are invaluable and critical to prioritize in training Millennials.

With 200-300 social/digital media posts coming at Millennials every day, the number of disruptive ideas accentuate the pace of change. It’s no surprise Millennials’ priorities shift rapidly; they are distracted and racing to keep up!

New leaders need to be able to communicate in a way that:

  1. Engages people by listening and respecting them;
  2. Creates a compelling vision that they want to and are able to “opt into”;
  3. Gains alignment so they take action with passion and persistence;
  4. Creates high performing execution;

Employers view these characteristics as critical a skill set for high performance as competent, technical skills. Gathering stories from others fosters unprecedented understanding of them so we walk away from conversations knowing how we can help one another in a mutually beneficial way. A human leader speeds up your real business performance. We find Millennials to be thirsty for learning to elevate their skills and inspired by the idea of slowing down to truly understand people, their needs, wants and desires through empathic conversations.

Nudge: Think about what are you doing to create these new Millennial Leaders.  How will you help unleash, embrace and empower their enormous potential?

True or False: Life Stories Have a Place in the Business World

True or False: Life Stories Have a Place in the Business World

Life Stories

A song in the new film La La Land (Chazelle, 2016) contains the lyrics: “Someone in the crowd could be the one you need to know”, describing the fortuitous serendipity which evolves into a meaningful meeting or interaction with someone. Do just a few people have magnificent stories or do only the tenacious find them? Actually, everyone has a story that is meaningful in its own way, including your boss, coworkers, family members and friends. For example, CI Squared’s President John Geraci and his colleague Bill, who have shared a 20 year friendship, discovered that Bill had no idea about a significant event shaping John’s life until Bill watched John’s “Why” video recently. The sharing of life stories have the ability to bond people in an unprecedented way.

We’ve heard it before: technology impedes human interaction and connection. When you’re not connecting or bonding with your colleagues, the work suffers greatly. People know this. What they don’t know is that life stories are a solution to the problem.

Life stories are a composition of noteworthy events like the best scenes of a movie edited together. People could argue the workplace is not a cozy camp fire, therefore compelling anecdotes have no place; but they do. As people start to open up, you understand them in a beneficial way, finally understanding why the person is the way they are and therefore able to Nudge them to a higher performance. A more empathetic culture develops from understanding. Businesses with a more empathetic culture and people who easily work, communicate and collaborate together can only thrive. Truly Understanding others’ stories is a way to construct this culture.

Events in life stories do not have to be particularly formidable, as the simple act of sharing and understanding is monumental. A vulnerable moment holds the potential to change relationships and even business outcomes. CI Squared’s Chief Architect Christine remembers the story of a workshop/Storytelling breakout session where best failure stories were being shared. Out of the 6 people, one man shared a story of his son’s extraordinarily rare learning disability and feelings of failure and remorse as he struggled to help his son. Suddenly, someone else in the group spoke up. They went on to explain that their son too had the exact same learning disability. Two people who had never spoken were now irrevocably bonded through shared life stories. They went on to deliver the largest revenue deal for their unit that year.

Ask yourself: What would it mean to you if someone knew your story? Empathized with you in a different way? Would you be inspired to help the team achieve and succeed and they, you? How do your stories influence people? What’s the most fascinating thing you know about your neighbor at work? If you’re not telling, asking and gathering, you’re missing people, both colleagues and customers. Making a conscious effort to tell your story and gather the stories of others has unparalleled business benefits. Ask, then listen and you won’t need fortuitous serendipity to meaningfully connect with your colleagues. Find in someone an opportunity to learn something new and connect with a life story.

Nudge: at your next team meeting tell your colleagues a story about yourself that will bond you with them and  to you in a unique way. The result is an extraordinary impact just waiting to be experienced in work process, relationships and Revenue, Profit/Cost, Customer Satisfaction, Employee Engagement and Shareholder Value.

“…stories…that make a point, cause us to feel something, and lead us to take action, a NUDGE.” (The Art of the Nudge Pg. 85)

Other Points of View:


The Platinum Rule


In terms of famous laws and rules, the Golden Rule is probably one of the most famous. We’re all familiar with this Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. But why, we are realizing, is it not always so golden? While well intended, in the fast-paced and diverse world of today, this rule doesn’t work like it was meant to. When following this rule, we assume people want to be treated the way we want to be treated therefore walking into an interaction without the necessary empathy. Let’s consider a different “rule” that takes that into account: the Platinum Rule.

The Platinum Rule takes the Golden Rule and inverts it, stating: “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them, not as you would have them do unto you.” While we, here at CI Squared, didn’t invent this rule, much of what we fundamentally believe in is based on this empathetic vantage point. It’s a paradigm shift because the Platinum Rule requires us to think of others’ first and adjust our behavior to treat them as they would want and need. And because of that, we meet people where they are and therefore get what we want too. But how, and why do we do that?

The world and outstretching environments are unquestionably more diverse than they used to be, teeming with an infinite number of different personalities. Personality profiles, however, are an analyzed way to whittle down personalities into 4 basic categories that help us understand others’ core behavioral motivations. Our book, The Art of the Nudge, explains that this isn’t necessarily new. From page 73:

“The history of personality profiles goes back to 444 BC. The two most widely known psychologists of this discipline in our western world are Carl Jung and William Marston. Their theories stem from the Greek physician Hippocrates’ sorting of earth, wind, fire and water as the basic elements that affect our personalities.”

They’re all espousing the same thing, just in different ways. Critics sometimes question the validity of these tests, and while they obviously don’t completely define us as individuals, they do give us a solid, simplistic overview of who we are and, something DiSC pointedly exposes, why we are that way. The motivations behind our main personality trait is the most important aspect to understand. After receiving answers to a series of questions, DiSC uses sophisticated algorithms to give the assessment-taker their own personality type in the form of 1 of 4 letters.

(D) Dominant’s motivation: “get it done”
(i) Influence’s motivation: “get connected”,
(S) Steady’s motivation: “get along”
(C) Conscientious’ motivation: “get it right.”

Once you recognize the motivations behind someone’s core personality with the tools of DiSC, you can logically apply the Platinum Rule by using empathy and ultimately meeting someone where they are existing. For example, if you’ve identified yourself as an S and you are meeting with a D personality, you may try to get along first. Instead, adjust by focusing on getting it done first and the interaction will be successful. You may choose to get to your point faster or focus quickly on an outcome.

Another example of an interaction: with a “C” personality, you should be prepared with all your plans and answers to possible questions. Or make an extra effort to talk to your boss who you’ve identified as having an “I” personality because you understand that connection is his/her main motivation. Knowing motivations is half the battle of communication with diverse personalities. And now you have the weapons/tools. What will you do with them in the new year?

Nudge: Thinking about the motivation behind personalities, approach communication with the Platinum Rule.

Casting your Vote on Election Tuesday and How You Vote Every day!

Understanding How Behavioral Economics Affects Our Decisions

During election season we are barraged with instructions and influences, it has been nonstop.  But how are these messages influencing us?  This is the perfect time to highlight how and why bias plays a role, not only in our election, but the everyday decisions we make too.

We vote or decide on thoughts efficiently and quickly via our subconscious mind. We decide who to vote for president, what to wear, whether to eat ice cream or carrots. Our brain goes through a whirlwind of voting, using a risk vs. reward assessment which we call “behavioral economics” every second. Defined in the article “The Marketplace of Perceptions” in Harvard Magazine Behavioral Economics is: …“the study of how real people actually make choices, which draws on insights from both psychology and economics.”

So much happens subconsciously before we select a candidate or the ice cream; the end result of this myriad of influences is an actual decision.  We already know that the world influences our decision-making by creating biases, through advertisements, data, experiences and stories. Our own biases are established via our personal stories. Biases may be fluid or more fixed depending on actual life experience.

What has influenced you? How can the story be changed to influence a decision and the bias that exists within your subconscious? Should it be changed? What story do we tell and why? 

Behavioral economists (and campaign managers!) know the world preys, or more gently, thrives on how people feel in the present because people are biased to what is current. This is a “confirmation” of our existing bias with some comfort coming from agreement with others.  The stories we hear are weighted or clouded by the seduction of instant gratification, costs and benefits. This can result in consequential decision making. In the moment, we’re not thinking about how carrots are good for us in the future, we’re thinking about how ice cream tastes good right now!

Our bias now stands at the front of our brains, especially during an election season. Political commercials make statements about which people to vote for or who not to vote for. This compels our confirmation bias. A seed is planted and a positive or negative commercial can impact our opinions. Once we opt-in, we’re weighing the risks and rewards of each candidate and deciding which one we think will be best for the country. Based on these commercials, past experiences, history, facts and emotions: is your bias in check?

The best decisions can be made when we purposefully “slow down to speed up”. Understanding the story, we tell ourselves, recognizing our own biases and the what or who are informing our bias, allows solid decision-making. Effective decision making comes from taking the time to consider these components in voting whether business and personal.

No matter who, please remember the most important decision on Tuesday, November 8th is to exercise your right to vote and cast a ballot!

November Nudge:  Think about, what stories you hear or tell yourself that inform your biases?

Other Points of View

Harvard Magazine: Why we procrastinate, buy, borrow, & grab chocolate

Psychology of Success: 5 Cognitive Biases That Affect Your Work Success

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