I spend a lot of time on Facebook. Too much time. And like everyone else on Facebook I see the “Trending” feed about topics that people are posting updates about.
Since it’s now election season, an alarming number of the stories are political, and usually there’s some blockbuster headline about Clinton or Trump, with links to lots of stories on various “news” sites.
Of course, it doesn’t take long to figure out that those “news” sites are highly partisan. One set treats every sneeze of Hillary Clinton as the sign of a new liberal super virus engineered by the Chinese to take jobs away from Americans. The other set portrays every stray strand of Donald Trump’s hair as more proof that he’s going to rename American “Trumplandia” and then sell it to Putin.
Much has been written about the problems these sites create, giving people questionable information and very skewed perspectives designed to confirm and further polarize their beliefs. What’s not written about, is that your coworkers are probably experiencing the same thing at work.
When a compliance incident occurs, employees are likely to turn to people that they know they are in fundamental agreement with to confirm their interpretation of what happened, or is still happening.
Now, the rational thing to do would be for us all to ask people we know have different perspectives for their opinions and then draw our own conclusions. Unfortunately we don’t always do that. Humans tend to suffer from confirmation bias: the tendency to look for new evidence that confirms our beliefs and reject evidence that disproves them. .
So, what’s the cure? Getting the facts out there, telling people what happened, what the company did about it, and why.
Some probably will discount everything you say. But, as my old boss, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, famously observed, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
By letting people know what the facts are, you’re much more likely to be better to shape opinions, keep people from creating their own “facts” and finding confirmation for their own mistaken beliefs.
[clickToTweet tweet=”I Confirmed It With Someone Who I Knew Would Agree With Me @AdamTurteltaub” quote=”I Confirmed It With Someone Who I Knew Would Agree With Me” theme=”style3″]