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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - Cognitive Biases, Winning the War in Your Mind

Craig Groeschel - Cognitive Biases, Winning the War in Your Mind


Craig Groeschel - Cognitive Biases, Winning the War in Your Mind
Craig Groeschel - Cognitive Biases, Winning the War in Your Mind
TOPICS: Leadership Podcast, Winning the War in Your Mind

Hey, welcome to another episode of the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast, where we're on a mission to help you become a leader that people love to follow. If you're new with us, we release a brand new teaching on the first Thursday of every month and we drop bonus episodes. I would encourage you to hit subscribe wherever you consume the content. And this is super important too, I'd like to encourage you to get the Leadership Guide. If you go to craiggroeschel.com and click on leadership, you can sign up for the Leader Guide. Especially in this episode, I think it's gonna be really helpful to you. Not only can you review the content, you can also teach it to the team. And in this episode, I'm gonna give you some statements that are gonna be really difficult to remember if you're driving your car or running on a treadmill.

So I encourage you to get the Leader Guide and all the statements will be there available to you. I want to give a sincere and big thanks to those of you who have rated or reviewed the content. If you haven't and this content adds value to your leadership, it would mean so much to me if you'd write a review or give it a rating wherever you consume the content. It also is really meaningful to me when you invite others to listen and join in to grow in their leadership. Thank you big time for posting on social media. If you do happen to tag me, we might actually see your post and repost it to invite others to be a part of our community. Now, I'm really excited to tell you that I've got a brand new book out. It's called "Winning the War in Your Mind: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life". It just released a couple of weeks ago. And honestly, we're pretty blown away. All the books that I've written, this one has by far the biggest launch, and I'm super thankful. We're hearing great reports about how the content is really helping change the way people think.

I do want to tell you that over the next few weeks we're gonna be dropping additional podcast all about the mind, how we think as leaders. So if you watch for it, there'll be short episodes about how the best leaders think over the next few weeks, complimenting the teaching of the book "Winning the War in Your Mind". So let's dive into new content. What I want to do is I want to talk to you about the importance of your mindset as a leader. I'm gonna give you some quotes from my book "Winning the War in Your Mind". I'm gonna give you some big thoughts that will apply to every area of your life. But then what we're gonna do is we're gonna tweak them to apply them to your leadership because when it comes to your leadership, your mindset matters more than you can imagine. What do we know? One of the driving quotes from the book is this, "The life you have is a reflection of the thoughts you think".

In so many different ways the life you have, what you experience, it's a reflection of the thoughts you think. For example, two people can be in the exact same situation. And one person might be miserable about what they don't have, the other person in the exact same situation is grateful for all the things that they do have. The same is true in leadership. You can look at two different leaders who face the same exact problem. One leader feels hopeless, afraid and timid. The other leader in the same situation feels hopeful and energized to find a solution. What do you have? The same situation but an entirely different mindset. What do we know? That life you have is a reflection of the thoughts you think, applied to your leadership. The organization you lead is a reflection of the thoughts that you think. Whatever you lead, your culture, the work ethic, the drive, the mood, the passion. It will always reflect your mindset. I'm gonna say it again. The organization you lead is a reflection of the thoughts you think.

So if you don't like what you have, it's time to change how you think. What I want to do is I want to talk about your thoughts. Think about what you think about. And the reality is that you have some dominant thoughts. You have some thoughts you tend to think over, and over, and over again. The good news is that some of those thoughts are very healthy. The bad news is that some are not. Some are productive, but some are more destructive. If we believe this truth, that your life is always moving in the directions of your strongest thoughts, it's really easy to take a leap to your leadership and say this, your leadership is always moving in the direction of your strongest thoughts. I'll give you some examples. If in your mind, deep down, you believe you really can't trust people. I promise you, over time, if you don't trust people, your team will eventually become guarded and untrusting of others.

If you think things are always bad and they're gonna get worse, if that's your mindset, if you think things are always bad, your mindset will create a timid and a risk adverse culture. If you find the good in people and problems and see opportunities, your team, they're gonna do the same thing. They're gonna look for possibilities instead of always dwelling on the problems. If you believe in your mind there are unlimited possibilities for impact and growth, your team will become more aggressive and innovative. Why? Because your leadership is always moving in the direction of your strongest thoughts. When you think about it, you are the leader that you are today because of your thoughts in the past. Now, let's project forward. The leader you become tomorrow will reflect the thoughts that you think today. I'm gonna say it one more time. Whatever you lead, your culture, your work ethic, your team's attitude, you will always reflect your mindset. So if you don't like what you have is time to change how you think.

Now, let me slow down and give you just a little bit of a warning and tell you that the rest of this content is going to require some work from you. Like seriously, to really apply what we're talking about, you're gonna have to reflect some, take some notes, and so you may listen to all the way through, you may want to actually watch this podcast, because we're gonna put some words up on the screen that will be helpful not just to hear but to see. And then I really want to encourage you to get that Leader Guide because it can help you to apply what we're gonna talk about. I'll just say sincerely that doing the work on this exercise it could be one of the most important things that you do that impacts the potential of your leadership. So if you're ready to get to work, I am. Let's dive in. What I want you to do is be honest for a moment and acknowledge that as a leader you have some crazy strong cognitive biases. You have a really well-developed mental filters or we might call them mental frameworks.

Now, you might say, "Okay, what is a cognitive bias"? We'll try to unpack it. Kendra Cherry published a really helpful article on this subject. And she defined a cognitive bias this way. She said a cognitive bias is "a systematic error in thinking that occurs when people are processing and interpreting information in the world around them and it affects their decisions and judgements that they make". I wanna try to say it again. This is important. A cognitive bias is an error in your thinking. It occurs whenever we look around and we interpret whatever we see in the world around us, and our wrong interpretation then impacts our decisions and judgements. What is it? It's a mistake in reasoning, based on our personal preferences or beliefs. We could say a cognitive bias is a default filter or a default frame of reference.

Now, why do different leaders respond differently to the same situation? I want you to think about this. Same problem or same opportunity, and two different leaders have two entirely different responses to the same situation. Why do they respond differently? Because it's not the facts that are different, it's the filter. It's not the facts that are different, it's how that leader sees or filters what's going on around them. What I want to do now, and again this is gonna take some work, some focused listening. I'm gonna give you some examples of cognitive biases. Now, when you have a cognitive bias, here's a little hint. You very likely don't know you have it because you're biased toward this way. I'm gonna cover seven of them with you. And the reason I'm covering these with you is I'm gonna get you thinking at the end of this exercise, I'm gonna try to help you drill down to one negative thought pattern that's negatively impacting your leadership. We're gonna cover seven big cognitive biases, and then we're gonna try to drill down to what is one negative consistent thought pattern that you have that's hurting your leadership, and then we're gonna try to adjust it.

So I'll give you the seven biases, and then we're gonna unpack them a little bit slower. There's the confirmation bias. There's the projection bias. There's the preference bias. There's an optimism bias. There's a negativity bias. There's an overestimation bias. And there's an expert bias. This is not in any means an exhaustive list of the cognitive biases, but this is a start. And these are very common in leaders, you'll probably see some of these in yourself. Confirmation bias. What is that? If you have the confirmation bias, you most likely listen to or interact with sources that support your prior conclusions. The confirmation bias favors what supports your opinions and dismisses what doesn't. You see this on social media a lot of time. People will only interact with people who think the same way as them. And it confirms their beliefs. You see it with people that believe conspiracy theories. They read the same thing, listen to the same people, and suddenly they start to believe something that's not true, actually is true. This can become really dangerous to a team when we're only around people who think like we think and we have a confirmation bias.

Let's talk about the projection bias. This is when you overestimate how others view you, and assume they agree with you. You've seen this at a meeting. Someone thinks everybody agrees, and that leader just plows through people because they have a projection bias. There's a preference bias, and this is something I'm vulnerable to. And that's when you obsess about some things while ignoring other important and critical factors. You like to hear from this person, but you don't listen for three other people that are giving you a different perspective. You might launch a new initiative on this date, and you're unaware that you're killing morale on the team because you're asking them to do something almost impossible. Or you find yourself doing whatever's urgent and ignoring what's important. That's the preference bias. There's the optimism bias. And that's when you overestimate what's possible, and you underestimate the potential risk and cost. It's really good for people to be optimistic, but when you don't realize things could go wrong, the economy could change, there could be a global pandemic or whatever, you can overestimate what's possible and underestimate the risk. There's the opposite, it's called a negativity bias.

That's when you remember and obsess about what went wrong and forget what went right. You might remember the sting of correction and forget the joy of praise. It's the negativity bias. And then there's the overestimation bias. That's when you blame external forces for your failures or setbacks, and you take disproportionate credit for your success. In other words, if something doesn't work, it's like, "It wasn't my fault". Or if something does work is "Because I'm amazing". It's the overestimation bias. Finally, there's what we'll call the expert bias. And that's when you overestimate the opinions of others, like I've got to hear from a consultant or someone else from the outside. You overestimate the opinions of others and you discredit your own leadership instincts and intuition. These biases, what do they do? They often create dominant, unhealthy and unproductive mindsets. We all have them. I gave you all of those different cognitive biases to help you drill down into your very first assignment, and we're gonna have two today, your first assignment is this.

What I want you to do is try to identify the number one mindset that's holding you back, just one. We're not gonna try to attack three or four, but I want you to try to identify the number one mindset that's holding back your leadership. The cognitive biases we talked about might get you thinking, and your wrong mindset might not fall squarely into one of those categories. So I'm gonna give you some more thoughts that I've seen in my own leadership or other leaders around me. And if I've said something that resonates with you, you might jot it down or type it into your phone. And what I want you to do is really try to drill down into the number one negative or unhealthy mindset that's limiting your leadership. You may relate to several, but we're gonna try to only find one, and we'll give you some. You might in your mind hear something like this over, and over, and over again, "I don't have what it takes to be a great leader". You're lacking confidence and that bias continues to hold you back.

You might think, "Hey, nobody can do this as well as I can". We see that a lot. It's leaders who have a problem delegating, or a problem with pride, or both. No one can do it like I can. You might think over and over again, "There's not enough time in the day". You're not good with time management, or energy management, or prioritizing, or delegating. And so you find yourself saying, "I just can't get it all done". And that thought, that driving thought holds you back. You might think this over and over again, "I'm terrified they're gonna find out I don't know what I'm doing". Or you might think, "My best days are behind me". Or, "I'm too young and too experienced for this role". Or, "I'm just not a confrontational person". I hear that all the time, "I just don't like to confront people". Or your driving mindset might be, "I simply can't change. I can never improve, I'm never gonna be a good leader". It could be something I've said, it could be something related. It could be something entirely different. But what I want you to do is try to drill down, what's the one mindset that you need to change? It may be something that we listed. It may be something different. But what I want you to do is I want you to name it. Because you cannot defeat what you don't define.

Now, why does this matter? The reason it matters is because cognitive biases run deep. And every thought that we have in our mind, it creates a neurochemical change in our body. You've possibly studied neural pathways, and we've got billions of pathways, or roads, in our brain. And what we know from science is that the more often you think a thought, the easier it is to think that thought again. If you think it enough, a thought becomes your default thought, you have a bias. So to change your leadership, and this is so important, you have to change your thinking. To think in a different way, what you want to do is you want to forge it a new path in your brain. Science would call it rewiring your brain. As a Christian, the Bible calls it renewing your mind. Both are absolutely accurate, consistent and true. What I want you to do is just name one, one wrong thought pattern you've thought again, and again, and again, that's limiting you and holding you back.

Now, once you have your target in sight, once you've named that mindset, now it's time, number two, to describe the new mindset that will be true about you. Assignment number one, what's the wrong thought pattern holding you back. Number two, describe the new mindset that will be true about you. I'm gonna ask you this question twice so you can let it sink into your soul. What specifically do you want to think to replace the old negative and unhelpful thought patterns? What specific thought do you want forged into your brain? What do you want to think to replace that old and negative and unhelpful thought patterns? I'm gonna give you some examples, and this is the part, these statements will be available for you in the Leader Guide, if you'd like to get that, we'll happily send it to you. But you might think, "I don't have what it takes to be a great leader".

What I want you to do is create your own statement. It may go something like this. If that was my driving problem, this is the statement I would create. God has given me the gift of leadership. Leadership is not just something I do, a leader is who I am. I cast a compelling vision, create a contagiously healthy culture and love and empower leaders to do more than they do thought possible. I would say that statement again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again in my mind until I forge a new path and believe it to be true. Let me give you more examples so you can apply this to your own leadership. You might have a pride or a delegation problem and think, "No one can do it as well as I can do it". Well, that's really, really stupid, I'd get in your face, So here's your statement. You're gonna say this, something like this. I'm surrounded by great leaders that are getting better every day. Because I believe in others, I will trust them, empower them and celebrate their wins. My value isn't based on what I do, but on what I empower others to do. So important.

I want you to drive that into your mindset. It's not about what you do, but what you empower others to do. Give you some more examples. You might say, "There's not enough time in the day". You're gonna create a statement that becomes a new driving force in your mind. I would say something like this. I have time to do everything that I choose to do. Because I'm an effective leader, I work efficiently, prioritize effectively and delegate strategically. I get stuff done. If you find yourself with a limiting thought, "My best days are behind me. I'm just not gonna make a difference". You're gonna come up with your own statement. I would say something like this, since I'm not dead, I'm not dying. My experience is my greatest asset. I'm full of energy and passion because I know my best days are ahead of me. You might think, "I'm just not a confrontational person". Forge a new path, tell yourself over and over again. I love my team enough to confront what's wrong and help them grow into what's right. Because I'm a strong leader, I offer helpful feedback and I'm grateful to receive it.

If you think over and over again, "I simply can't change," tell yourself something like this. Every day, I'm getting better and better. I'm disciplined in my mind, my body, my relationships and my leadership. I'm better today than I was yesterday, and I'll be better tomorrow than I am today. What I want to do, this is so important, and has helped change my leadership so much, is I want to encourage you to take the time to identify what's the one driving negative mindset holding you back, and then nail down a statement that moves you, motivates you and inspires you to have hope and change the way you think. And here's what you're gonna do. You're gonna train your mind toward a desired truth. In other words, if you want a healthy body, what do you do? You put healthy food into it, you go to the gym, you train it, you train your body. If you want a healthy mind, if you want a healthy leadership thought process, you're gonna fill your mind with healthy thoughts and you're going to train it. Very, very clearly. You're identifying one thought, one cognitive bias you want to change. And you're gonna describe the new mindset that you want to be true of you.

Then what you're going to do is this, really simply, is I encourage you to write it down, post it everywhere you can find it, write it, think it, confess it until you believe it. You're gonna write it, think it, confess it until you believe it. You'll write it down. You're gonna think about it. You're gonna focus on it. You're gonna meditate on it. You're gonna confess it until you believe it. It's gonna take some time because we've got some very unhealthy thought patterns. We've got some strong neural pathways, and we're going to create some new ones about what's going to be true about our leadership. And I want to say it again. You have to remember, when it comes to your leadership, your mindset, I promise you, it matters more than you can imagine. Why? Because the organization you lead is a reflection of the thoughts you think. So if you don't like what you have it's time to change how you think. And let me just get up in your business, you are not a victim of your thoughts. What are you? You're a leader. So you're gonna lead your thoughts to think on what's true and helpful for your leadership.

Identify the one negative mindset. Describe the new mindset that will be true about you. Write it, think it, confess it until you believe it. Why? Because the leader you become tomorrow, will reflect the thoughts you think today. I'm gonna tell you sincerely thank you for listening. And if this content about your mind is helpful, I'm guessing that my new book will be really, really helpful, going deep into the content to help us renew our mind, it's called "Winning the War in Your Mind: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life". It is available in every single format wherever books are sold. Also want to encourage you to be on the lookout for more podcasts dropping in the next few weeks about your mind, short bursts of leadership content to help you change the way you think. Also, thank you for sharing on social media and inviting others to be a part of our community. We say it all the time, and I really want to encourage you just to bring the real you. As leaders, we feel pressure, we want to get it right. We don't ever want to make mistakes. But I would just tell you be yourself. Why? Because people would rather follow a leader who's always real than the one who's always right.
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