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What Would You Do?

flickr-questionsHave you seen the hidden camera show on ABC “What Would You Do?” If not, they have actors play out a scenario in public to see how individuals react to situations. The actors are switched out to test responses to a situation with various people (testing for response differences based on gender, race, etc). Although many insist their reactions would have been the same regardless, their actions often speak otherwise.

When hiring, providing a review or receiving feedback, what would a hidden camera show in your workplace? Would your actions support your words?

Is your hiring predictable? Or do you acknowledge the value in having a diverse workforce and board, and have a process in place to ensure that happens?

Do you provide female employees with less challenging tasks? Or are you proactively filling your pipeline with high-quality talent and providing each of them with opportunities that lead them on the path to success?  

Do you support a culture of inclusion? One where all individuals are valued?

To help us follow through with actions that support our words, we need to begin with recognizing our unconscious, personal biases (we all have them). Biases shape our perceptions and in turn how we respond to situations we are presented with. Once we recognize our biases, we can work to break those that don’t align with our words and goals.

To start take Harvard’s Implicit Association Test. Through a series of questions, this test can provide you with insight on your attitudes and beliefs.

Next, look at what baggage you bring. Your past experiences and how you see yourself can (and often does) factor into how you perceive and/or react to a scenario.

Ask questions. Lots of them. Help put assumptions you have made, to rest and better base your decisions on facts.

Collectively recognizing biases and working to improve processes help all succeed.

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