First Impressions

Intuitively, we know that first impressions count. But not only do they count, they are very difficult to change.

The work of Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman demonstrates some startling biases that we humans exhibit.

One, that he calls Confirmation Bias, describes a tendency towards confirmatory evidence. Once we form an impression of someone / something (psychologists call them schemas) we will favour evidence that confirms our “theory” and disregard contradictory evidence. It has been shown that disconfirming evidence can in fact strengthen a pre-existing belief.

For further reading try Thinking…Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman or for an intersting and extreme example click here

Watch your biases and don’t forget to work hard to make your first impressions count.

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Hard Work

I’ve been thinking a little about hard work.

We all work hard right? The usual definition of long hours usually comes to mind. Fine…but you can’t build a competitive advantage by putting in more time. Anyone can decide to work longer hours and do it – low barriers to entry – no particular skill required (other than say, maintaining effectiveness as hours on the job build).

So how can you work harder in unusual ways to get a true advantage which is hard to copy?

Try working difficult.

It’s a subtle but important variation on working hard. Working difficult goes to the heart of what it means to create value. You choose to do the work that others avoid, you choose to do the work that requires thinking but you do not choose the path of least resistance.

Stories

I recently attended a function at my son’s school. The Head of Junior primary presented for an hour to a group of about 150 parents about curriculum and child developmental milestones. Pretty dry stuff – but she transformed it into a totally captivating presentation by telling stories throughout…sad, funny & endearing, all the stories were about kids and their experiences…each one a metaphorical “every-child”.

Got me thinking about the power of stories in the business environment and how a ppt pres can be changed by introducing a concept and then sharing a story about its practical application. Around the same time a colleague coincidentally sent me this link…

http://www.anecdote.com/

Facts

Opinion is often derided (”well that’s just your opinion”) as inferior to fact.

I happen to value opinions a great deal. Next time someone asks you for a fact or some data, think about how you can provide them with value by offering your opinion. This might require some thinking and a little extra time but I guarantee that you’ll enrich yourself, learn more and win points with the recipient.

I have a broken leg is a fact…my opinion is that having a broken leg has made me more sanguine and tolerant and has enabled me to see life through a different lens.

Give and ask for opinions. See what you get back – you might be delighted (that’s just my opinion)