S2.E12: Managing Plan Continuation Bias with Mike Adolph

Managing Plan Continuation Bias with Mike Adolph

Have you ever pushed forward with something even when it became closer that you should probably change your plan or abort? If so, you may have succumbed to plan continuation bias. When this happens, we can become predisposed to continue towards completing our original plan, even when conditions change, or new information becomes known that indicates that continuing on is not advisable.

Mike Adolph joins us to discuss some of the strategies that we can use to recognize and manage plan continuation bias. Mike Adolph is an ACMG / IFMGA Mountain Guide and is the current Technical Director of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides.

Mike dips into his extensive guiding and instructing experience to share some great examples and advice.

Key Takeaways

What is plan continuation bias: It is when a person ignores the fact that conditions or the situation has changed in a way that should cause them to rethink their initial plan, but the person decides to push on towards their objective anyway.

Reasons for plan continuation bias: There are often a number of human factors at play including pressure to keep going from others, a need or desire to make money if you are getting paid to keep going, and a belief that we are more likely to experience a positive outcome. We may also end up ignoring or downplaying information that indicates that we should change course.

Set key decisions points beforehand: For example, we will decide if we continue once we reach the ridge, or after lunch, or once we have worked on this skill.

Removing pressures beforehand: Examples of this can include communicating expectations, decision points and the overall plan beforehand.

Guest Bio

Mike Adolph is an ACMG / IFMGA Mountain Guide and the current technical director of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. In addition to guiding custom outdoor adventures for small groups, Mike also works as a guide trainer and examiner for the ACMG’s Training and Assessment Program.

Mike started in the outdoor industry in 1994 after his family, in a joint venture, opened the Sheiling Mountain Lodge and the Center for Outdoor Education in Nordegg, Alberta. He completed his final ACMG exam and received his IFMGA International Federation of Mountain Guides Association Mountain Guide designation in 2009. He always admired his instructors and examiners, even if they were a bit harsh at times, which lead to him getting involved with the instructor/examiner team in 2012. When the job posting for the interim ACMG technical director came up in 2018, he thought, why not? 

The mountains have taught him to be open to all possibilities, have several options and go with the flow. I feel lucky to have this as a career and am extremely grateful to my loving and understanding wife Jennifer and our two boys Lucas and Tyler.

Guest Links

ACMG Technical Manuals: https://www.acmg.ca/03public/resources/publications.aspx

Association of Mountain Guides: www.acmg.ca

David Thomson Via Ferratas: www.viaferratacanada.com

Mike Adolph Email: msadolph@gmail.com

Mike Adolph Instagram: @ mikeatcoe
Avalanche Hour with Mike Adolph: https://soundcloud.com/user-23585762/avalanche-hour-podcast-mike-adolph-acmg-10

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