I was listening to a Barclays’ podcast (Word on the Street # 218 – 8.6.23) on the behaviour of investors. Maya Wheland argued that people make their minds up about a situation really quickly, then are reluctant to change. With regard to investors – they become entrenched in a mindset concerning a market or company, but refuse to change their view on things, even when the evidence suggests they should buy, sell or stay put. Barclays’ message was that their team of investment specialists monitor world markets 24/7 and will make the decisions for investors with cold hard analysis of the investment environment, taking the ‘emotion’ out of trying to figure out what’s going on.
Maya suggested that investors’ reluctance to listen to new information was due to confirmation bias. People have a habit, once they have made up their minds, to be open only to evidence that supports their initial view on things.
In mediation, people often begin conversations with a fixed view. Through conversations with others, and with the support of a mediator, they may begin very gradually to change their perspective. Nobody forces anyone to change their minds – but listening to how others see things, reflecting on assumptions made about others and hearing how people are feeling (often just as bad), often brings about a change in perspective.
When a change in a person’s position does happen, it can take the discussion down a completely different route, and fixed views can melt away to a common understanding of what’s happened, the damage that’s been done and how tomorrow can be different.
By Dave Warren