Habit # 7


Our automatic System 1 and our controlled System 2 allow us to make good decisions and/or adopt the right behavior, generally in 90% of the situations. However, the remaining 10% sometimes has major consequences.

This week we encourage you to start practicing two good practices to improve the quality of all of your individual decisions.


The meta-cognition is cognition over cognition. This involves decoding one’s own mental mechanisms or think about your own thought. When we have a decision to make, it consists in identifying the mental patterns, reasoning, criteria etc… applied to make this decision. Once these elements have been identified, we are then in a better position to correct them if necessary.

How to identify decisions where to apply meta-cognition to reduce bias? Since biases are unconscious, they are inherently difficult to identify on one’s own. In a practical way, here are four levers that make it possible to identify the decisions where to apply this principle as a priority:

  • A decision where Cognitive Profilers have shown quantitatively that you have biases. For example, you have a gender and leadership bias and you need to make a decision where this bias may impact your judgment, such as in identifying high potentials.
  • When your environment changes or becomes uncertain, your mental shortcuts acquired with experience no longer apply as they are. This is often the case with HR decisions where employee profiles have changed over time (more women, more people of different origins, etc.) but also “business” decisions. For example, many bankers were relatively slow to adjust their judgment when interest rates turned negative on certain currencies.
  • An area where you are likely to have already made mistakes in the past. Analyze the quality of the decisions you’ve made recently, regardless of the topic. If you identify that you made mistakes, those mistakes may be due to bias.
  • When you are stressed or tired, “noise” can increase the risk of error. For example, stress or fatigue can cause inexplicable variances of the order of 20% or so on forecasts beyond any otherwise valid explanation.

It is therefore necessary to regularly identify the circumstances where your judgments could be affected by bias. As soon as these circumstances are verified, it is good practice to apply “meta-cognition”.

Practically speaking, here is a meta-cognition technique:

  1. Write the question corresponding to the decision made.
  2. Write down the different stages of reasoning that you applied. For each step, formalize the information you used and the mental patterns you applied.
  3. Then, analyze your reasoning. Here is a technique that improves their quality.


Write your decision criteria.
Make sure they are simple and descriptive.

Weight the decision criteria.

Give them a percentage out of 100. If you have more than 6 criteria, group them by blocks of 6 criteria of the same category. Within each category, weight the criteria out of 100 and then weight the categories. Process the criteria at most in groups of 6.

List the available facts and make sure they are exhaustive and descriptive for each criterion.

Make sure there is no bias in the collection of facts. See how to cross the sources. One of the best practices for being objective is to be descriptive, as if you were briefly explaining how to do a task, for example.


Give a rating homogeneously for each fact having previsouly masked the weight of each criterion.

For example, to assess the quantitative results of sales managers, hide the weight given to each criterion so as not to subconsciously influence your judgment. Hide the name of the person who obtained the result. Write the result obtained by each on each criterion.


Review all of the scores given to each fact and make sure the calibration is correct.



Multiply the score given in step 4 by the weight of the criterion obtained in step 2.



Decide by taking into account the calculation made.

Then you can further improve the quality of the decision:

  1. Leave it all aside. Come back then and see if your reasoning is logical and objective.

  2. Cross-reference your reasoning and judgment with that of other people especially in terms of sizing. If you collectively want to improve the quality of your decisions, you can calculate the average of the marks given by each. This average will be more objective than the score given by a single individual.
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