Availability bias and the remote work advantage

Removal of the easiest to observe input metric – face time – reduces the availability bias in remote work organisations, and helps them focus on the more productive outcome-based metrics.

This switch to emphasis on outcomes can be helpful for individual productivity, but is truly transformative when the whole organisation goes remote-first.

Behavioural biases confuse performance appraisal in office-based organisation culture

The time spent in office looking productive is a key factor in performance appraisals across teams and organisations. Even when time in office is not a formal factor, it unconsciously creeps in and affects rating scores on other factors.

This focus on input factors and ‘visible productivity’ (time spent, sales calls made, lines of code written1, bugs closed) is a result of the availability heuristic and substitution bias in action.

The outcomes of an individual/team’s work are delayed and often diffused – hard to credit exactly. However, the inputs are visible and trivially measurable. In pursuit of productivity metrics, the manager/organisation substitute the hard to measure outcomes with the easily available input factors (time spent in office, calls made, lines of code) etc.
Continue reading Availability bias and the remote work advantage

‘How’ is the only question that matters

You don’t need risk takers, you need solution seekers

There are two ways people apply their significant intelligence and energy:

1. In figuring out excuses about why it can’t 1 be done


2. In figuring out solutions for how to do it

I call them the excuse generation and the solution exploration behaviours.

I explicitly say – two kinds of ways people think. Not, two kinds of people. Because, more often than not, we see both these behaviours in the same people.

Some of the most intelligent, determined, driven people I know are also the ones I often see working smart to come up with unquestionable excuses for why-not-to, instead of solutions for how-to.

A big task for a successful leader 2, then, is to give people a reason to switch from excuse generation to solution exploration. To motivate the best thinkers and doers with incentives 3 – emotional, financial, egotistical, or other – that helps them realign their thought process towards the target the leader wants achieved.

Most specifically (the usual):

Nurture a culture of solution exploration, with

  • big, and highly visible, rewards for success
  • little or no punishment for failure 4

Continue reading ‘How’ is the only question that matters