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Diversity & Inclusion

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Beyond Bias. A version of this article appeared in the Autumn 2015 issue of strategy+business. Illustration by Lincoln Agnew Imagine that you are hiring an employee for a position in which a new perspective would be valuable. But while reviewing resumes, you find yourself drawn to a candidate who is similar in age and background to your current staff. You remind yourself that it’s important to build a cohesive team, and offer her the job. Or suppose that you’re planning to vote against a significant new investment. This is the second time it’s come up, and you voted no before. These are examples of common, everyday biases. On the whole, biases are helpful and adaptive.

People overestimate the degree to which they can control negative effects of a disaster, and underestimate the time and effort it would take to prepare. A number of biases occur so often, in so many contexts, that cognitive scientists have given them names. Common Biases Similarity Expedience Experience Distance Safety Similarity Biases. 7 Simple Methods To Fight Against Your Unconscious Biases. I believe in the power of women to build inspiring careers in all types of fields. At least, that’s what I thought I believed. It’s what my conscious mind thinks, at least.

My unconscious mind, however, favors traditional Western gender roles: men focusing on careers while women focus on family. I learned about this dichotomy from taking an implicit association test, a social psychology test designed to measure a person’s unconscious or automatic associations between types of people and specific concepts or ideas. And I’m not alone: The results of more than one million tests suggest that most people have these unconscious associations.

So I thought I would search for a few ways I could begin to correct my implicit biases and bring my unconscious mind on board with what the rest of me believes. The book Blindspot: The Hidden Biases of Good People (the authors are the inventors of the implicit association test) has a ton of fascinating science on this topic. 1. 2. 3. The study concluded: 4. 5. Why We Make Stupid Decisions | Victoria Pynchon. Barack & Michelle Obama Talk Racism, Ferguson In PEOPLE Magazine. Apparently, wearing the presidential cloak doesn’t protect you from racial microaggressions. In a revealing interview with People Magazine, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama detailed their own experiences with race, proving that respectability politics and a tuxedo aren’t going to save you from being threatening or overlooked. “I think people forget that we’ve lived in the White House for six years,” the first lady told PEOPLE, laughing wryly, along with her husband, at the assumption that the first family has been largely insulated from coming face-to-face with racism.

“Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs,” Mrs. Obama said. But it didn’t stop — even in the White House. The First Lady detailed a trip she took to Target, during which a woman asked her to get something off the shelf. Obama followed up: Check out their interview in the newest issue of People, on stands Friday. Carole Robin: Feedback is a Gift. Not all gifts arrive in neat packages. This is definitely true for feedback. Giving it is one of the more difficult tasks that business managers face, yet it is crucial for making workplace relationships more functional and people more productive, says Carole Robin, director of the Arbuckle Leadership Fellows Program at Stanford GSB. “Very few people arrive at our doorstep fully developed,” Robin explained in a lecture titled “The Power of Feedback.” Giving them feedback is one of the best ways to help them develop and “be even more efficient and better at what they do.”

The bottom line for getting better at providing feedback is to change “your mental model to ‘It’s a gift. It’s data. If you do it right, the other person also feels cared for, valued and closer to you, Robin adds. Here are some tips from Robin for doing it right: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Diversity Training Doesn't Work - Peter Bregman. “We’ve got another lawsuit,” my friend and client Lana* told me over the phone.

“Really?” I was honestly surprised. “What about all that diversity training everyone went through?” “Well, apparently we need to do it again.” Lana was the head of Human Resources for Bedia, a company in the media industry that felt, at times, like an old boy’s network. Diversity wasn’t just a professional issue for her; she cared about it personally. Over the years, there had been a number of incidents at Bedia in which individuals had felt misunderstood, mistreated, or disrespected. In the most recent situation, someone used a word in a letter that felt derogatory to a number of African Americans.

Bedia had tried to address the issue in a diversity training that carefully outlined what people were allowed to say, and what they weren’t. They also tried diversity training that brought groups of people into a room and asked them to separate into categories. Still, the problem persisted. He was right. Find Your Blind Spot: A Self-Reflection Activity for Managers. We humans tend to evaluate others through the lens of our own best traits. For example, if you perceive yourself as kind, you will likely notice the trait of kindness in others. And you’ll quickly observe where kindness is lacking. I saw this every year when our firm (Hewitt Associates) was selecting new partners. We would ask every current owner to evaluate all the potential candidates for the year.

The actuaries expressed enthusiasm for people who were detailed, accurate, timely in response, and thorough. They were often negative about people they perceived as showy, loose on details, or overly aggressive. Our business developers voted positively for people who could make a good presentation, work the room effectively at networking events, and close big deals. Both groups limited their own opportunities by chronically devaluing traits they did not have personally and by using negative words when describing people not like them. Two key observations Do you have such a blind spot? P.s. Harvard Business School Case Study - Gender Equity.