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Effective Executive Magazine:
The Unconscious Bias Trap: How Misconceptions About Unconscious Bias Can Trip Up Any Business
 
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Research has shown that we all have a number of biases, most of which we are not aware of. Most commonly these are in favor of one thing or group of people, or against something or a group of people. It is also true that these biases can be a great hindrance to any organization that wants to create a more diverse workplace. The prevailing idea has been that these biases are essentially assumptions that have been lodged in the brain through experience. Therefore, it has been thought, all that you needed to do to eliminate these assumptions is to show people that they do in fact have them and to “reframe” their thoughts so as to eliminate them. However, new research has shown that many of these biases are genetic in origin and cannot be changed in this way. In fact most of this “unconscious bias” training is counterproductive when dealing with genetically based assumptions and beliefs. I look at the latest scientific thought about unconscious bias and suggest new approaches which will make it easier to deal with.

 
 
Not long ago, I was working with the senior leadership of a major high- tech corporation, which I shall call AllTech (not it’s real name). I had been brought in to create a better leadership structure and as an executive coach for the CEO and a number of other top executives.

One of the problems that the organization had was that it was regarded as extremely “blocky” and the women in the business complained frequently to HR and others of really inappropriate behavior towards them. This included touching, snide remarks and insinuations that promotion would be helped through sexual favors.
 
 
The Unconscious Bias Trap, How Misconceptions About Unconscious, Bias Can Trip Up Any Business