Preventing Cognitive Shortcuts from Damaging Leadership Relationship Building

All of us develop cognitive shortcuts to efficiently comprehend the abundance of available information in a short amount of time, but concurrently we are also creating untrue assumptions about the world around us. Our information processing is not perfect and the created incorrect assumptions create an additional workload in the future. Working with incorrect data leads to more faulty information that damages processes and relationships.

Cognitive shortcuts stem from previous experiences.  A cognitive shortcut is a fast way to interpret information based on previous experience. The assumption is that the present situation will reflect a similar previous event and aids in faster information processing, increased reaction time, and decision-making.  Unfortunately, mistakes occur because situations and people are not always consistent across time and the unidentified variance creates confusion with the interpreted message.

Leadership is about relationships. Relationships take time to develop and cognitive shortcuts about others lead to false assumptions that damage important relationships and inhibit mutual growth.

Cognitive shortcuts are dangerous because they incorporate hidden stereotypes.  Stereotypes are created from cultural values so they have a small amount of truth, but stereotypes do not apply to everyone within a category and can be very offensive if recognized.

Leaders need to be mindful of their judgments and how their cognitive shortcuts play a role in their behavior. Additionally, leaders need to be careful of which cognitive shortcuts they use within relationships because false attributions can severe important business relationships. Leaders need to master the phenomenon of cognitive shortcuts in order to be effective in leading others and cultivating secure mutually benefitting relationships.

The Blame Game

The basis of blame is called the Fundamental Attribution Theory. This theory describes the error involved in attributing blame and is a valuable asset for a leader’s knowledge base. The basic concept involves blaming mistakes that others make on their personality or individual qualities and the mistakes that we make are blamed on the situation. We give ourselves the benefit of the doubt but not others. This automatic reaction is human nature and the most seasoned and educated of us make this error in judgment.

The best of us recognize our false attribution as it occurs and make proper adjustments in order to be fair to others and to the situation at hand. Understanding that we make this critical mistake is important for leaders because they are solely responsible for influencing the actions and behaviors of their followers.  If the leaders insist on the continuation of this mistake then their team will follow their lead and create a culture of blame.

People make mistakes – some more than others – sometimes mistakes are the fault of individual qualities and other times it’s the situation that creates the error. We need to treat people how we would like to be treated – the blame game creates mistrust and dysfunction within teams. Leaders need to be able to decipher the difference between mistakes that are caused by the situation or individual qualities in order to be effective leaders.

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Time: What is the Value?

Time: What is the Value?

  • Do we truly understand the concept of time or do we pretend to define it by using a clock and calendar?
  • What is time and how does it affect our perception of the world around us?
  • Are we rushing to meet deadlines – Are we in a rush to get our values and goals accomplished?
  • Do you find yourself rushing just for fun?
  • Are we rushing to accomplish more today than our ancestors were?
  • Do we accomplish more or less?
  • What is the value in time?

What if time was not an obstacle or a measuring point, but rather, an ally that provides us with an abundance of room for growth?
Would you opt out of your current condition for this option?
Sometimes having too much time is a burden and we look for opportunities to waste time.

Let me cut to the chase: 

Time is the one valuable assest that is in constant depreciation and the one assest that we can not create.
I argue here that time is the most valuable asset we have and wasting time is like throwing away life.
We need to learn how to become more effective at managing our time – We can not throw it away for a few dollars an hour.
We need to maximize our value – We are valuable!

Discretionary Time = Wealth

Use your time wisely, prune off the activities that are dragging you down and
wasting your time, focus on what makes you happy, and dedicate your time to those wonderful areas.

Keith Lawrence Miller | The Elite Coach | The Million Dollar Coaching Company | | (855) My-Pro-Coach

Adapt or Perish – Maybe!

Adapt or Perish – Maybe!

Adapt is a substitute word for Change or Evolve.

Why are we resistant to Change, if history tells us that if we don’t change – we will die?

Answer: Change produces uncertainty, and we take stock in knowing what is coming next because it brings a sense of security.

Our genes are ingrained with the fight or flight syndrome in which we inherited from our ancestors.

The fallacy of this conformity – Knowing what is coming next; is that as humans,

we are unable to predict the future and unable to understand the complete concept of time.

Great civilizations and great organizations have perished because they decided to stay the course and not adapt to the new situation.
History is a learning tool, but it is obvious that this ingrained human flaw prevents us from overcoming obvious preventable obstacles.

We always say: I wish I would have known, I would have done it this way instead if I knew, or how did they not see that coming?

We all preach prevention, but are too content with the current situation to prevent future problems.

When a leader takes command and aims their energy at change, it takes many long years for a slight change to occur because the group majority is resistant to changing.

We wait until after the fact to respond to situations because we are forced into action for fear of distinction.

The fear of discontinuing our current comfort has driven us to overcome (fight).

I argue here, that we have the ability to change or adapt before the breaking point.


We are on the top of the food chain for a reason.

We as humans have overcome thousands of years of conflict, catastrophe, plagues, and war.

We have persevered to rule Earth, developed massive amounts of food, developed mind-bending technologies, and have nurtured mankind to almost 7 Billion people.

Personally, I don’t believe in doomsday prophecies, because I believe the future is untold, and we can change the world, but we need to do a better job of reacting to problems before they happen as a species in order to thrive safely into the next generation.

If we weren’t so resistant to change, the economic woes, the political unrest, famine,

and other unfortunate scenarios would be non-existent.

Call to action: become a leader of change; embrace the strength in acting to prevent.

Will it happen – I doubt it, but we are the most resilient people this world has ever seen – Maybe!

Keith Lawrence Miller | The Elite Coach | The Million Dollar Coaching Company | | (855) My-Pro-Coach

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