Anna Mar posted a useful blog on cognitive bias in decision making and its impact on Enterprise Architecture. Richard Veryard responded on Twitter asking if we wanted to fix cognitive biases in ourselves or in others.

I really like Anna’s list and it’s a useful cut-out-and-keep. Anna doesn’t have comments on her blog so this is a short response to her post.

I want to add that both the blog and Richard’s comment are a bit *technical*. The main thing, in my view, that EAs need from the psychological professions is therapy for themselves. I don’t mean by this that all EAs are sick, but simply that everyone can benefit from some kind of therapy.

There is a stigma attached to mental health, certainly in the UK. I don’t know many people who have had any kind of intervention, and I don’t really understand that. If you break a leg, you go to the hospital and they put it back together: if your mind doesn’t work optimally, surely you’d want to get it sorted out? Perhaps people are afraid of admitting weakness and think that it might cast doubt on their decision-making ability. I’m here to say this is utter rubbish. We don’t understand how the mind works as well as we would like, so how can we possibly know if it’s working as well as it can?

As enterprise architects our effectiveness depends more than anything on building good relationships. Like it or not, that begins with building a good relationship with yourself so you can effectively process your emotions and deal compassionately with those of the people you are dealing with. I used to be poor at it, but after some years of counselling I’ve improved. I would resume it again like a shot because it’s not the sort of thing you ever really master, I suppose.

As to what sort of therapy is best – I think people have to just try a few out and see what works for them. There’s a wide range of stuff available and what might work depends on a whole load of factors and may also change over time.

This is in no way specific to enterprise architects. Pretty well everyone I’ve ever met from any walk of life can potentially benefit from improving their internal processing and relationships. Some quite high-level people are surprisingly psychopathic.

I’m not touting therapy as a religion, a panacea, or a quick fix for anything. It’s just the sort of thing that, from time to time, delivers a return on the time (and financial) investment in terms of increased effectiveness and fulfilment for me and the people I live and work with.