Giving ourselves too much credit
At the end of the season, in reviewing what went right or wrong in our roles, it’s often easy to pinpoint a few crucial moments.
“I’m glad we renewed his contract then, it clearly gave him a boost for the rest of the season.”
“Without our crisis meeting in December, the campaign would have fallen apart.”
Invariably, these explanations will focus on what we did, and tinted with hindsight bias. It’s simply human nature. Take this recent poll by YouGov, who asked people in different countries who they felt contributed most to the defeat of Germany in World War Two.
Respondents in the United States overwhelming said that they were the biggest contributors. This was in stark contrast to Brits, who largely credited themselves with the achievement.
We naturally like to think about the positive impact we had on our team. However, in recognising that outcomes are often the result of processes too complex to be distilled to single decisions or moments, we can gain a better appreciation of why things happened. There is always a broader context.
The crisis meeting, for example, may have had some effect – but what about the early cup exit that refocused minds? Or the refereeing decision that went our way the next day? How about the freak injury or suspension that gave a home grown player a chance to prove himself? Or even the spell of great weather that helped the new player settle in?
Understanding the context behind our successes and failures crucial to long term planning. If we give ourselves too much credit, we can create a blind spots on the road ahead.