Cognitive dissonance and how it affects business. In this episode, the psycho-babble is reduced to much of the root cause and why there is an easy fix, although most will not ever do it.
A definition is that cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time. It occurs when someone is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. Isn’t that something that quickly resembles making decisions too early. That is, a person arrives at a conclusion and then as new information or ideas come to be known, they are weighing the decision already made versus one new data point.
This all quickly sounds like much of the election this year in 2016. I’m not talking politics nor any side. What I am referring to is the large number of people that long ago made up their mind on either side. When new information arrives and asked about it, they don’t care. It may conflict with their preconceived ideas, which they will not re-evaluate. Rather, they will defend them to the end.
What concerns me, however, is not politics but your decisions in life an business. Someone who has an inconsistency, dissonance, is uncomfortable, but briefly, as they tend to avoid situations and information that will conflict with their decisions. Yes, even with new information, because it arrives one drop at a time, they push it away!
I point out here that decisions should not be made until it is necessary for exactly the reasons discussed. Why? Let’s say you have a list of 37 pros and 25 cons on some topic and assume they are all of equal weight to make it easy. So, right now, you make the decision or belief it should be done or is positive. Well, over time with new information arriving, but one drip at a time, the tally is really 49 pros to 57 cons. You are on the wrong side of the issue. The key is to make decisions when necessary, not to hold opinions for the sake of arriving at conclusions! This goes a long way to avoiding cognitive dissonance.