We all have bias – the proof
You just landed from a long flight across countries. You are rushing to the immigration counter to try to get through as quick as possible.
As expected there are only 2 long queues and they are bloody slow. You have to pick 1 and try your luck.
You look at both counters trying to decide, you start inspecting the immigration agents, hoping for some divine cue.
You stare at your watch impatiently and you start thinking:
I shouldn’t pick the older one, he might be slower and clunkier on the machine but I don’t want too young and inexperienced either
I should pick the woman but she looks too aggressive, especially if she is an immigration agent
I definitely don’t want the big man with the tattoos. He looks angry and he is too intimidating.
I should pick the woman who looks my age; she looks like she has kids too and might be more friendly.
The queue dilemma
This happens to every single one of us every time we face the queue dilemma.
It happens at the bank, at the supermarket and pretty much everywhere everyday.
The first thing I will say, is that no matter what, you are ALWAYS going to pick the wrong queue. It’s a statistical proven fact: your queue is going to be slower. It’s a statistically proven fact: your queue is always going to be the slowest. ALWAYS.
We all have biases, most of them unconscious and it doesn’t make us a bad person. It just means we are human.
The danger is that we probably extrapolate this to other areas of our life.
Chances are, if you are applying this reasoning consciously or unconsciously to the queue, you probably are doing it for other things as well: when you hire, when you promote, when you evaluate…now that you know, just stop and reset.
Next time, when you are facing the queue dilemma, just pick the person who smiles.