To interrupt this cycle, some organizational leaders urge their employees to “assume positive intent,” that is, to imagine that the behavior or words of your colleagues are motivated by good intentions, even when their actions seem objectionable at first glance. This “filter” can be extremely powerful. Indra Nooyi, the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, cited it to Fortune as the best advice she ever received. (She learned it from her father.)
She said, “When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed.… You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.
This simple technique of considering the opposite has been shown, across multiple studies, to reduce many otherwise thorny cognitive biases.
That’s why we are advocating so strongly in this book for the use of a process, something that becomes habitual.
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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