Debiasing for a more successful business

Being biased about something or the other is human nature. And there is no reason why this very human inclination would be absent in business. But the most successful businesses are those that negate the biases in their decision-making. For the simple truth is that biases- whether about persons or processes- cost organizations money.

While biases itself are nothing new, the idea of debiasing is a new business idea for many.

Debiasing is a powerful idea in behavioral economics- the branch of psychology concerned with how we make economic decisions. It’s also a powerful weapon to curb the economic loss biased decision-making incurs.

Here, we look at four types of common biases found in organizations and the way to tackle them.


Debiasing leads to greater success for all concerned in an organization

Optimism bias

The cognitive bias by which a person believes s/he is at lesser risk of having a negative experience compared with others is called optimism bias. This is evidently a self-fooling bias, as anyone with a modicum of experience living in this world could tell you. Unfortunately though, optimism bias is not uncommon in humans. In fact, this type of bias is so much a part of the natural world that even other species including certain birds and rats have it.

That being the case, you shouldn't be surprised to confront optimism bias in organizations, maybe even in yourself. The question then is how to prevent this bias?

One way to minimize optimism bias is to understand the challenges your peers have faced, and also how they overcame them. This not only makes you more aware that negative events are a part of life, but also empowers you to overcome them, taking a leaf out of your peers’ books.

This awareness is something that organically happens in Temenos Vision lab (TVL)- a unique session developed by Temenos+ Agility. A major objective of TVL is to help change agents realize their vision. As part of this, they also share a narrative of their life’s journey - including past travails and how they moved on. Being exposed to such life lessons brings down the chance of optimism bias in you.

Interest biases

Interest biases constitute a major part of biases seen in organizations.These biases occur when the objectives of a project or organization conflict with the interests of the team members. In such scenarios, the team members get emotionally attached to their own objectives to the detriment of the project goal.

Another related issue is the team members having different perceptions about the organization’s goals.

To avoid this conflict, leaders should ensure that the team has a compelling shared vision to follow, one which every team member is in favor of.

Temenos Vision Lab or TVL is a unique session developed by Temenos+Agility that helps you do this. Developed based on 25 years of business consultancy experience, TVL uses psychological insights to help a team realize their compelling shared vision.

The vision thus realized is drawn from the collective psyche of the team members, based on their individual skills and aspirations.

The vision’s rootedness in their own selves empowers the team members to work towards the goal, providing them the necessary clarity sans confusion.

Action-oriented biases

Action-oriented biases refer to those biases by which a change agent takes actions without investing enough thought. Sometimes, these decisions may be taken based on an excessive optimism about the outcome without pondering on the probability of a negative outcome.

This issue arises largely because the change agent remains unaware of all the influences at play which led to them taking the decision in the first place. The Influence Maps used in TVL offers a powerful tool to help you map all your influences.

Influence Maps

A proprietary tool developed by Temenos+Agility, Influence Maps helps you get an overview of all your influences- both internal and external. Not just that, the past influences which shaped your behavior also come to the fore in this mapping process.

The Influence Maps comprises the steps of Personal Mythology, Clean Slate, Personal Vision and Compelling Shared Vision. These steps variably leverage the power of storytelling, self-reflection and aspirations to help you identify the influences that address your decision-making. It also helps you to articulate the onward trajectory of the team or organization more consciously, keeping biases at bay.

Pattern-recognition biases

Seeing patterns that don’t exist in information is what pattern-recognition biases make you do. Confirmation bias is an example of this, by which a change agent over-values an evidence which supports something s/he already believes in over contrary evidence.

Another kind of bias called ‘management by example’ is also a pattern-recognition bias. This is the inclination to rely too much on your own experiences while taking decisions, without being objective about it.

As you can see, the underlying factor in pattern-recognition biases is a tendency to latch on to some viewpoint or belief vehemently, even when a situation calls for adopting another. This in turn indicates a reluctance to change.

More often than not, this reluctance results from misapprehensions about people and processes the change agents acquired from poor past experiences.

The good news is that these misapprehensions needn’t pull back a change agent from evolving for eternity. The Clean Slate session included in TVL is designed specifically to solve the issue.

By encouraging change agents to self-reflect, they identify the negativities that block their professional evolution. Further, they weed out these hampering thoughts and viewpoints, enabling them to move on with less mental baggage. Some of the best leadership coaches in business guide the individuals in this and all the other processes in TVL.

Change Agents

The more change agents there are, the greater the need for debiasing

Stability biases

When faced with an uncertain or novel situation with which a change agent has no previous experience, individuals may slide into inertia. This tendency constitutes stability biases. 

This mooring in inertia, more often than not is caused by the absence of a strong personal vision.

Your True Personal Vision gives you a direction to move in, even when faced with uncertainties. You could think of it as the destination in a journey. When faced with obstacles, even if you have to re-route your drive, you know the direction in which to proceed, because the destination is clear.

One of the key purposes of TVL is to help change agents discover their True Personal Vision. This vision is to be found in your own self, and TVL helps you clear the distractions and chaos in the mind which keep you from seeing it clearly. Then, when an uncertain situation arises, you could devise strategies based on your vision, to use the newfound scenario to your advantage.

Temenos Vision Lab

For change agents and leaders, not to benefit from meaningful events and gatherings is a missed opportunity! We invite you to indulge in some of the most transformational events from Temenos; designed with hard-earned understanding, organized just for you.

Temenos Vision Lab- Amsterdam, Netherlands( Nov 2, 2018)

TVLAnother venue to take an exquisite inner journey, to find your true Vision.

Temenos Vision Lab- Online ( December 21, 2018)

We invite you to this special gathering, which brings together a group of wonderful people who fill workplaces with joy and energy. By connecting with each other, you embark on a journey that leads to better clarity about the changes you seek, gain collaboration opportunities and leave with a concrete action plan.

Temenos Effect Gathering 2018- Bengaluru, India(Dec 8, 2018)

An event dedicated to the idea of personal mastery, for nurturing your beautiful self, for change agents and leaders to become their true selves.

For more details, visit our website:

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