Consult: Pros and Cons

Daniel Kahneman has done some great work on biases that can distort rational decision-making. For example, the “confirmation bias” refers, in part, to our tendency to focus on information that confirms our existing prejudices. This is one reason why it is so important to Consult.

1. Other perspectives Can help us see valuable diverse perspectives more clearly At first, you think that by saying to a person of color “I don’t see color. We are all the same!” you are showing that you care most about personal characteristics. However, after consulting with a mentor you see that this statement ignores something very important about that person.
2. Avoid bias Can help us avoid our own harmful biases, including self-deception At first you think you can be an objective judge at a talent show where your best friend is competing. After consulting with another friend you realize that you are fooling yourself and that you would have been a biased judge.
1. Others’ biases Others have harmful biases as well. You consult with a friend/mentor about how to distribute funding for various organizations in a fair/just way. You do not realize this friend/mentor has negative feelings about certain groups of people (e.g. people with disabilities, transgender people, people from certain religious groups, etc)
2. Implementation Can be difficult to implement: How many perspectives should we consider and what happens when they conflict? You have time to consult with two trusted mentors about how to distribute funding for various organizations in a fair/just way. One says “split the funds equally across the 5 organizations”. The other says “give at least some funding to all 5 organizations, but more to organizations A and B since they have had less support in the past”.

In order to see part of the reason why it is so beneficial to Consult, we can look to the Johari  Window. The Johari Window provides a nice way to think about the relationship between self and others. What do you know about yourself? What do others know about you? Sometimes others know things about you that you are completely unaware of. That is one reason why it can be so helpful to Consult with others.

Johari Window- Grab Pic- JPEG