System Justification Bias

When changes in the environment require you to evolve, humans unconsciously resist the need to change

  • Individuals who have been most successful in a certain system/ model, are the ones who consider it “most fair” and will be least likely to see the need to change
  • They believe the system is fair because it means they deserve their success
  • In an organization, these are, paradoxically, the senior leaders who must drive change
  • Additionally, there is fear to stray from what worked in the past. This is especially visible in athletes who reach a certain level based on talent, but then plateau because they need new skills to compete at the next level

Blinded by Success Syndrome

  • The ego mistakes “you’ve had some success” for “you’ve realized our maximum potential”. Optimal performance is a continuous endeavour, not a unique milestone
  • Here the value of REAL “coaching” (as in pro sports) is a game-changer. Having independent experts act as objective eyes and ears to help you identify improvement opportunities is the best strategy to break through plateaus
  • Experience and expertise in “fine details” are fundamental to identify and suggest improvements that the individual or team is blind to (they’ve normalized plateau level)

“Progressive Change” vs Big Bang

  • A clear vision of the outcome is important, but it is naive to think that is enough for any improvement in performance
  • No real change (physical skill, mindset, culture, etc.) is immediate
  • Believing you will lose (and maintain) 20 pounds of fat in a week is self-deception …
  • … likewise, thinking you can change your team’s culture in a week or a month shows a lack of understanding of what drives performance
  • Doing the hard, disciplined work IS the “performance hack”