Awareness of cognitive biases (see measuring cognitive biases) is the first step. The next step is to have concrete tools to reduce the effects of these biases on our thinking.
Some research has concluded that it is difficult to remove cognitive biases – that they are highly persistent and will always remain. We would agree that the process is difficult and that cognitive biases always exist, but would strongly argue that awareness, coupled with specific techniques, particularly when individually tailored to deal with each category of biases, does have a marked impact on reducing the effects of cognitive biases on executives’ strategic thinking. We would also argue that unconscious biases are similarly difficult to eradicate and would firmly agree that there is still more work to be done in this area, but it remains a fact that huge strides have been made, over the last 40 years, in dealing with these apparently intractable biases.
Our cognitive bias mitigation techniques were pioneered over decades of helping counter terrorist bomb-disposal leaders overcome their effects on thinking. These have been modified over recent years and refined for use with senior executives in the corporate world.