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Unravelling hindsight Bias, AKA the “I knew it all along” phenom

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

“It is easy to be wise after the event” —Sherlock Holmes

Does happiness come from knowing the truth or from preserving illusions? From being with others, or from living in peaceful solitude? Social psychological assessments are often criticized for being trivial because they document things that seem obvious. Experiments, eventually reveal, however, that outcomes are more “obvious” after the facts are known.

This Hindsight bias often makes people overconfident about the validity of their judgments and predictions. This is why it is sometimes so challenging to come to understand how after a merger there is a sudden tilt of mission, with the influx of new leadership how the culture-speak of the company is changed, or there is a heated subject or behavior that has created a toxic, high-temper environment, seemingly disturbed by nothing and everything in what feels like the blink of an eye. By virtue of being enveloped in the environment, a leadership team's perception is skewed and along with it the "I knew it all along" bias gets in the way of healing and growth. Sometimes it's integral for an unbiased third party to step in to understand a shift in the constellation of the organization.

At Inspired Action at Work we unravel the fabric of cultural erosion, workplace toxicity and unhealthy foundations in otherwise solid companies that previously espoused sound value systems. It’s through this theory proposition and the organizing of observations into experiment-worthy hypothesis and practical predictions that we identify the behavioral origin and apply these findings towards improving corporate culture buy-in, altruism, personal meaning and a sense of community in employees lives.

Happiness and an altruistic commitment to one’s right work is something everyone deserves. Employees feel valued when their concerns are heard and addressed. Toxic workplaces erode everyone's sense of joy and commitment and addressing those through authentic engagement will insure, once again, that their work is meaningful making everyone more productive. Companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft know. Organizations investing in their stakeholder’s workplace happiness, experience stronger, more profitable outcomes. People are the lifeblood of an organization’s voice in the world. Set up a confidential consultation with us at Inspired Action at Work to discuss how we can support your company if you are challenged with internal divisiveness or an eroding culture-imprint.

Curious and curiouser? Another great article on Hindsight Bias can be found on Science Daily dot com.

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