How long till your next decision that impacts another human? How high-quality will that decision be?

In our latest blog, Convergent’s founder Heeral Gudka looks at why bias training shouldn’t be about changing the way people think.

By now we’ve learned that a training session which goes like this:

  • Take a test to see how ‘biased’ you are
  • Attend workshop on Unconscious Bias
  • Take test again in the hope you’re less biased

doesn’t actually work in reducing biases.

Rarely does a person change their opinion in the blink of an eye – biases are deeply ingrained from formative experiences, who we spend time with and the information we are exposed to. And that’s not to say all biases are bad, so to come at people from that standpoint is not helpful in creating understanding through connection and conversation.

None of us are all good or all bad. We are multi-dimensional and we all will have done things we’re not proud of and plenty of things we are very proud of.

So if we all hold biases, and not all biases are bad, what do we do about this in the workplace?

My own personal standpoint is this:

I am not interested in your biases.

Trying to police people’s thoughts, labelling them based on incomplete information or making the most uncharitable assumptions about them because of one thing I might read is not a good use of my time. Of anyone’s time!

I am interested in your actions.

I am interested in helping people build strong connections and to pay attention to the quality of their decision-making in the workplace.

Because at work your decisions will have a direct impact on whether someone feels welcome, whether they get offered a job, opportunity, pay-rise or promotion.

And this is where the work of experts who are acting in good faith comes in.

Because no-one can be ‘trained’ out of their biases. But we can help you get better at making decisions, better at asking for feedback on your decisions before they impact a person, better at receiving feedback that might call your decision into question.

We can learn to interrupt our biases – that is how we reduce their impact. This is how we build conscious inclusion.