Take control of your climate response
30 January 2019
One of the problems producers face when reading weather forecasts and climate predictions is seeing past their own confirmation biases, according to change management consultant Dennis Hoiberg from Lessons Learnt Consulting.
“We all believe what we want to believe,” Dennis said.
“And we surround ourselves with people who agree with it.”
Holistic information gathering
Dennis said the confirmation bias limited the effectiveness of decision making – so we need to “get out of ourselves” and really challenge our sources of information and, just as importantly, our thinking styles.
“Expose yourself to a range of information sources,” he said.
“Of the information that you’re sourcing, keep challenging yourself with the question ‘Says who?’. I'm not saying this is easy, but it’s worth it due to the consequences of your actions.
“Be holistic in your information gathering. Access as much of the scientific and technical information around you as you can (even though some of it may be contradictory and confusing), while at the same time not ruling out the wisdom of the wise and experienced heads in your community.
“Don’t rule out the advice of those people who have ‘been there, done that’ as another source. There is plenty of wisdom in people within your communities. Ask them.”
What can you control?
Dennis said his last piece of advice about making decisions about forecasts and predictions was to back yourself – as long it’s based on as much evidence and advice that you can access.
“In making your decisions, focus on what you can control in your world – not what you can’t, like rain," he said.
"Focus on the process of running your business to achieve your immediate, short-term and long-term goals. After all, that’s all you can control.”
Dennis encourages producers to keep questioning whether what they’re doing today, all things being equal, will take them closer to or further away from their objectives.
When things look bleak, Dennis advises producers to answer their own ‘why’ question: “Why are you doing this to yourself?” he asked. “Many of the answers will be ‘because I love…’ – if that’s the answer, then remember that!”
Dennis says that if you can’t answer that question, you may need some assistance to flesh out the answer.
“I see a high degree of optimistic thinking among Australian producers," he said.
"Whether you read the forecast as being likely to rain or likely to not rain doesn’t matter as much as your business strategy. Be realistic, source good information and keep your focus on the things you can control.”