Just Ask …. identifying failure points

ego, Marketing, Product Management, Questions

There’s a term called “confirmation bias” which was coined by cognitive psychologist Peter Cathcart Wason. He ran a series of experiments called the Wason’s rule discovery task. Through these experiments he demonstrated the people have a tendency to seek information that confirms their existing beliefs.

So why is this important for a marketing / product management leader. In the earlier posts that I have written about this topic I have been cajoling you to start asking questions because you don’t know what could be the reason that people like or dislike your product.

However if you only ask questions and search only for data points which confirm what you are wanting to hear then there’s a problem. And all human beings have this confirmation bias. Its because of our ego that our first instinct is to prove ourselves correct.

But failures happen because we didn’t ear what the market was trying to tell us. And we didn’t hear because of this confirmation bias which Wason had showcased all the way back in the 1960s.

However every negative (relative to your data point) that you hear has the potential to get you closer to the truth. If you have watched “CSI” the detective show (its available on Amazon Prime) , you will see a lot of times the evidence doesn’t prove the hypotheses that the detectives have and then they have to dig deeper until the evidence and the hypotheses are in sync otherwise it won’t stand the questioning of the jury.

As a product management person, you have to stand back and let the market give you the evidence and if the evidence doesn’t suit your opinion, you need to change your opinion, otherwise you are in for big failure. The point is not to prove yourself right or wrong, it is to let the evidence (inputs from the market that you get by asking relevant questions) confirm where are the blind spots in your strategy or tactics. Once you cover your blind spots you may actually come out with a strategy which could break all records.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

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