The Recency Illusion

The Recency Illusion is defined as “the belief that things you have noticed only recently are in fact recent.”

When we think something is new, we treat it as new, and therefore miss a tremendous amount of context, study and facts that might help us understand this “new” thing.

For instance we read a book with new ideas in it that we earnestly think can change things in our organization. While there is nothing wrong with that, the problem comes in how we present it – often as the “new” idea. The idea might be packaged effectively, the idea might be exactly what your organization needs to implement, but the way you share it, and the way you incorporate it into the work and culture of your organization can get in your way.

Consider the new, but look for the connections to the known and the tried and true. When people see those connections, they will support the “new” thing more, and it will be more successful too.

We owe it to our teams to understand the history of our company, our competitors, our industry and our professional discipline. If you don’t, you will miss the context and treat everything as “new.” Sometimes the “new” didn’t work five times before, or sometimes it did, for a while. Wouldn’t it be far better to know all of that so that you make more informed and educated decisions?

Summing-up: We must create a broader and higher perspective in order to lead successfully. Creating more historical context and connecting previous ideas to the changes you are proposing or leading today is critical to your success.

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